When you’re trying to trim down your body fat percentage, it’s important to throw in a few sessions of cardio to really boost your calorie burning and help your deficit. If your main purpose and goal when you’re strength training is to increase your muscle mass and build your body, do you really still need the cardio or should you use all your energy lifting the weights?
Cardio while building muscle is good for many reasons. A few of them being:
• Aids repair
If you take it casually and easy, mainly sticking to low intensity steady state cardio, then you’re encouraging a healthy blood flow back to your muscles which will help them repair faster than not doing the cardio.
Bulking up is great, but when you’re not pushing your body to its limits, you’re not really working it out. You might look great and strong, but you’ll find a hike tiring quickly and won’t comfortably be able to run up and down the stairs. You’ll also be able to last that little bit longer on the high reps!
• Calorie conditioning
The body stores fat for fuel. With frequent training, the body will learn what is needed from it and be able to store nutrients separately in the muscle tissue, which is much more preferred than having them stored with the fat and losing them.
Will it Interfere with Gains?
As long as you’re not overdoing the cardio, it won’t affect your muscle gain. You need to make sure that the cardio is moderated and you’re not pushing your body too hard and doing too much in one go.
How Much Should I Do?
As every individual body is different, this depends on many factors. If you’re the type of person that gains fat incredibly easily, you would need to do more cardio than someone who doesn’t gain fat easily.
You should do more cardio if:
• Aren’t very active during the day (you work behind a desk!)
• You’re not running a full weight training schedule (i.e. doing 2-4 sessions a week).
• You’re not building up enough of an appetite to hit your calorie need with just weights.
A few sessions per week of mixed LISS and HIIT should be more than enough when you’re weight training to bulk.
It’s a good idea to include a few sessions of cardio regardless, if only so you can build your stamina and help your muscles repair themselves faster. It’s also really important that you’re constantly paying attention to your body and making sure that you’re not over working yourself. It’s better to be in a situation where you’re aware you need to up your cardio sessions because results aren’t coming quick enough than to realize you’ve overdone it.