Cardio, Cardio, Cardio!

When it comes to losing weight, many folk’s first instinct is to do endless amounts of cardio, usually in the form of running. This is what you SHOULD NOT do! While on my journey to competing in my first “bodybuilding” show and meeting all the other competitors, everyone’s cardio was structured the same. It was then I realized that not one of them was doing any kind of jogging/light running during their prep. The reason for this is why you can burn fat this way, you will also burn muscle tissue and the end result will leave you with a skinny/fat type of look. Ever watched a track meet and noticed the difference between the body type of a sprinter and long distance runner? (Google it now, you’ll notice it immediately). The type of cardio that is most efficient for losing body fat and retaining muscle is low intensity (stairmaster and incline treadmill are very popular) and/or high intensity interval training (HIIT) such as sprinting. THESE ARE THE FORMS OF CARDIO FITNESS MODELS/BODY BODYBUILDERS UTILIZE!  Also, Cardio is always done after weight training, never before. The reason for this is because your body’s primary source of energy is carbohydrates or the glucose. After your body uses all of its stored energy i.e. carbs, it will then utilize your fat OR muscle stores as energy, depending on your activity. Now assuming you’re performing an activity such as steady state cardio or HIIT, your body will utilize more fat as it’s secondary energy source to burn as fuel. If you were to perform cardio first and and then weight training afterwards, you’re more likely to burn off precious muscle assuming your glycogen stores are near depleted. It gets a lot more scientific than that but hopefully I’ve convinced to always perform cardio after weight training. While prepping for my first show my cardio consisted of 95% stairmaster and 5% HIIT in the form of sprinting. For my second show my cardio was maybe 40% incline treadmill and 60% sprinting, both very effective.  The amount of cardio you do is also tapered up as you progress through your weight loss regiment. For instance, the first 3-4 weeks you may have 3 days starismaster for 20min. Weeks 5-8 you may increase it to lets say 4 days 30 min. Then week 8-12 you may have 5-6 days 40 min with 2 of those days adding 10 minutes of sprinting. This will all be based on your weekly progress. After hitting a sticking point on your weight loss progression, you can either decrease calories or increase cardio…Or both!

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