To Cardio or to not Cardio, that is the question. Maybe you’ve noticed this too. In the fitness industry, there is a discussion going on about the necessity of cardio for optimal health and fitness. One camp is all about doing cardio, the other camp, says that you don’t need cardio to be fit and healthy. Maybe this makes you wonder ‘who is right’. We, of course want to help you out with this. That’s why in this blog, we’ll dive deeper in ‘the cardio’ discussion and answer the question ‘Cardio: Should you do it or not’.
First, let’s define what we mean when we say ‘cardio’. Generally speaking, cardio exercises are those that increase your heart rate and breathing rate for an extended period of time. This includes activities like running, cycling, swimming, rowing, and jumping rope. The goal of cardio is to challenge your cardiovascular system and improve your endurance, so you can perform physical activity for longer periods of time.
As mentioned. There are two camps in the fitness industry when it comes to cardio. Well, 3 actually. Camp 1 is pro cardio, camp 2 is against and camp 3 choses the middle ground.
Let’s explore their opinion:
The people who are all for cardio argue that it’s essential for overall health and fitness, as it helps to improve cardiovascular health, increase endurance and stamina, and help in weight loss. They believe that doing regular cardio exercises, such as running, cycling, or swimming, can improve overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
The camp that advises against cardio, argues that cardio is not necessary for optimal health and fitness, and that it may even be detrimental to muscle growth and strength.
They believe that strength training and resistance exercises are sufficient to improve overall health and fitness, and that too much cardio may lead to overtraining, fatigue, and a reduction in muscle mass.
To make it easy, there are also some experts who say that a balanced approach that incorporates both cardio and strength training is the most effective way to reach optimal results. They recommend doing a combination of cardio and strength training exercises, as well as incorporating other lifestyle factors such as healthy eating and stress management techniques.
We’re sure you’re curious who’s right in this discussion. What out for the spoiler alert: it depends, as it is with most things in the fitness industry.
So, let’s look at the arguments for and against doing cardio first:
Here are some of the key reasons why you should cardio:
Now, let’s look at the reasons why some are against cardio:
So, both camps have pretty solid reasons why they are for or against cardio. This is not going to help us decide.
Let’s take a closer look at of goals one might have and what kind of training will suit that best:
Do we hear… dirty bulk?! A so-called ‘dirty bulk’ is a process of going into a caloric surplus by eating mostly high-calorie foods. The focus is putting on as much muscle weight as you can, a.k.a. eat, train, eat, repeat. Yes, you’ll gain fat along the way, but once that disappears during the cut, all your toned, new muscles will come to show! Patience is key here.
It might surprise you, but performing cardio exercises during a dirty bulk is more than recommended. Not only will it improve or keep up with your endurance level, but you’ll also be more likely to stay somewhat leaner, while your muscles grow at the same high rate. Ultimately, your nutrition, apart from your protein intake, is about calories in vs. calories out, and the 200-300 kcals burned during your cardio sesh shouldn’t be in the way of growing those hard-earned muscles. The chances of consuming too little calories to properly grow are little during the dirty bulk phase. Keeping up with your health and fitness is very much encouraged. And it’ll be easier to transfer into your cutting training plan as well. No downsides here!
Experts recommend about 2 to 3, 20-30 minute sessions a week. Ready to grow stronger, bigger, AND healthier?
While opinions may differ, gaining muscle and burning fat at the same time is surely possible. But it takes dedication, precision, patience, and the right training and nutrition plan! While diet and your weight training plan both play the main part in this journey, don’t underestimate what some cardio exercise can do for your progress.
Yes, yes, yes! While excessive cardio can stand in the way of building muscle, adding a moderate amount of cardio exercise after your regular lifting sessions can help to maintain your cardiovascular health and keep you fit. Cardio improves the heart’s ability to pump blood and increases oxygen uptake into cells; meaning you’ll build a stronger heart! Therefore, having a stronger heart and an improved endurance level, means you will be able to train even better with the real heavy weights. In addition, a fit person burns more fat at rest than an unfit person, so doing cardio while bulking can help to effortlessly keep you lean. Plus, those few hundred calories burned during your cardio sesh can be a helping hand to stay lean. Just make sure to hit that protein intake!
Aim for 3, 30-minute sessions a week, and get into your best physique yet!
You might think cardio is the main thing to put your mind to right now, but it might not be your best bet when on a fat loss journey. While diet and exercise both play a significant role in losing fat, you might want to explore your fitness options. Did you know that the more muscle mass you carry, the more calories you burn at rest? And don’t worry, weight training is not going to make you look bulky!
Cardio is great for improving endurance and burning calories, but have you looked into strength training? While both forms of exercise bring their own unique benefits, strength training is super beneficial on your weight loss journey, even when you’re not looking to gain muscle. In the bigger picture, strength training allows you to burn a greater amount of calories, meaning it’ll take less effort to lose fat over time. So yes, including cardio in your training plan is a great idea, but broaden your horizon and hit some weights along the way.
Experts estimate about 5 cardio sessions a week, combined with 3 sessions of strength training. Of course, this is an estimation, and over time, you’ll figure out what works best for you and your schedule. Show us you’ve got this!
Moving your body and putting in the effort to challenge your physical limits provides massive benefits for your mental and physical health. Any effort is better than none; cooking up a healthier dinner, switching to a standing desk, or going on a walk during lunchtime. All of these minor changes can add up to be huge improvements to your overall health.
Most definitely! The number one benefit regular cardio offers is improving your internal health. Both mentally and physically, incorporating cardio into your daily life is a great way to contribute to your overall health. And the best part? There are limitless options to choose from. Whether you’re a competitive bodybuilder, a busy parent trying to juggle your time, or anyone else with good intentions towards your health, there’s always an option that should work for you and your schedule.
Ideally, perform 30 minutes of cardio, 5 times a week.
As with most things in the fitness world, the answer to whether or not you should do cardio depends on your goals, preferences, and individual circumstances.
If you’re trying to improve your cardiovascular health, burn calories and lose weight, or build endurance and stamina for a sport or event, cardio can be an effective and worthwhile addition to your exercise routine.
On the other hand, if you’re primarily interested in building muscle and strength, or if you find cardio to be boring and tedious, you may be better off focusing on resistance training and other forms of exercise that align with your goals and preferences.
Ultimately, the best approach is to find a balance that works for you. Incorporating a mix of cardio and strength could bring the best of both worlds. Who knows!
Feeling inspired to hit the gym after reading this blog? We get that. Whether you’re team ‘Cardio’ or not, at the gyms of TrainMore you can exercise how ever you like. Test out or treadmills or check out our weights section. We’re sure that at our gyms you can find everything you need for your fitness journey. Want to try it yourself? You can! At TrainMore you can get a free day pass to train at our gym. So, sign up right now!