How Many Days A Week Should I Do Weight Training The Truth About Cardio & Muscle Building – Part 1

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The Truth About Cardio & Muscle Building – Part 1

There is a lot of debate and controversy on the topic of cardio for muscle building. I will set the record straight once and for all. So without further adieu, here’s the real deal on how to do cardio while trying to gain size and strength…

If you’re a beginner who also happens to be a ripped ectomorph who has to fight for every ounce he gets (eg a classic hard gainer), I suggest cutting out cardio almost entirely for at least 8-12 weeks. Cut back on your training and diet and pack on some size. In that time, you should be able to gain at least 15 pounds of muscle, if not 20+. After you do that, you can add some cardio. I would start with three weekly sessions of twenty minutes of moderate intensity cardio; no intervals. Use a bike to limit the amount of eccentric stress or pounding on the joints. And remember, there are actually things known as real bikes that go outside, not just stationary bikes that people park on to watch Oprah. Although, if you go that route, get one with a well-padded seat that won’t kill your sex life.

If you’re above beginner level, you should always do some type of cardio regularly, whether it’s intervals, moderate-intensity steady-state, or low-intensity, long-term steady-state. Again, don’t limit yourself to the machines inside; go outside and pull a sled, run sprints, jump rope or play a sport. That’s way more fun anyway. I think everyone should do something like this at least three days a week for at least 30 minutes. It is healthy and prevents a number of health problems, not to mention keeping you fit and looking good.

Contrary to what many people believe, cardio can actually be of great benefit to those who want to get bigger and stronger. Not only does it improve your cardiovascular system and thereby improve the quality of your strength training, it allows you to eat more calories to build muscle while staying lean. To gain 20-30 pounds of muscle, you have to eat an inordinate amount of food. Doing cardio will help ensure you don’t gain weight from all the overeating.

The bottom line is that everyone, except complete beginners, should be doing some form of cardio at least three times a week for thirty minutes. This will do nothing to hinder the increase in size or strength, but may actually increase it. You should vary your activities and intensity as much as possible. You can do cardio immediately after a workout, although I prefer to do it on non-weight training days or later in the day after a workout because I’m usually too exhausted after lifting to give it my all. Doing it on your off days is usually a better option as it serves as an active recovery activity and also burns some calories on those days.

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