Cardio training is a must in all strength training, regardless of its level. You can burn fat by following a low-calorie or low-carb diet, but cardio speeds up the process. From a health point of view, cardiovascular training strengthens the heart and activates the enzymes responsible for burning fat, the body having to supply more substrates to the muscle cells so that they can simply provide the effort. The body thus learns to make better use of calories from food and stored body fat. A recommendation however: it is advisable to dose the right amount of cardio to preserve and develop muscle mass while burning fat.
Weight builders generally avoid cardio
- The fear of losing muscle volume
You can only lose muscle size if you do too much cardio and the caloric intake is too low. During a phase of mass gain, it is necessary to realize that a good part of the volume that you take is in fact made up of water and fat. The indicator is the waist circumference. Gaining centimeters in this area is inevitably correlated with fat gain. So monitor your waistline regularly to know where you are in terms of actual muscle mass gain.
IT’S BORING AND IT TAKES TIME
Doing your four or five weekly weight training sessions already takes time when you are a regular athlete. Adding cardio will make most feel like they’re spending their lives at the gym. However, 20 minutes of cardio after a weight training session is enough to burn fat and strengthen the cardiovascular system.
CARDIO FOR DRY ATHLETES
The idea is indeed to burn fat “reserves” while maintaining the muscle-building process. Excessive energy expenditure and calorie restriction literally burns muscle. This is a situation that must absolutely be avoided. But how do you do your cardio without cannibalizing yourself?
THE RIGHT TIMING TO KEEP YOUR MUSCLE MASS and burn fat
The most practical solution is to place 15 to 20 minutes of cardio after each weight training session, as mentioned earlier in this article. But the most effective solution is to place 3 sessions of 30 to 45 min of “gentle” cardio on rest days (without weight training). Cycling, brisk walking outdoors or in the weight room are two activities that are both easy and practical. For those more experienced in cardio, 15 to 20 min of HIIT (always on rest days) will effectively burn fat and keep the metabolism active. Workouts like Tabata are extremely effective for weight loss.
The indicators that tell you that you are doing the right amount of cardio are your appearance and your strength. If you notice that you are leaner and have still maintained your strength in bodybuilding, you have found the winning formula. If, on the contrary, you do not see results or your physique and your level of performance deteriorate, it is because it is necessary to readjust the form and the amount of cardio.