Combining Bodybuilding and Cardio: Answering the Most pressing Questions of the Bodybuilders

Combining Bodybuilding and Cardio: Answering the Most pressing Questions of the Bodybuilders

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You will probably not be at odds with the word cardio and with you many other bodybuilders. The bump on a treadmill or long pieces of bicycles are not really considered fine training. In other words, combining bodybuilding and cardio remains a difficult marriage.

Despite the fact that many bodybuilders are afraid of reducing their progression when they add cardio to them training schedule, the combination between the two training plans certainly has its advantages.

In this article we will answer a number of questions about the combination of bodybuilding and cardio. We show that a combination is possible, but that there are conditions attached to it.

Curious about how cardio can help you? Then read on and discover the wonderful world in which bodybuilding and cardio combining become possible.

What is cardio?


Before we dive into the various questions about combining bodybuilding with cardio, it might be good to know what cardio really is.

Cardio is an abbreviation for cardiovascular. It Systema cardiovascular includes the heart (cardio) and vascular system (vascular) of our body. This is a closed system consisting of different blood vessels (the vascular system).

The purpose of cardio training is to increase the heart rate for a longer period of time. This is in contrast to shorter efforts in which your heart rate is increased for a short period.

This ultimately ensures that your heart can pump more blood through your body and thus you improve fitness and endurance.

Combining bodybuilding and cardio: 7 questions answered

As we mentioned in the introduction, the combination of bodybuilding and cardio is one that is difficult to place. In most cases you will want to keep cardio out of your training schedules for as long as possible. Cardio is actually only added when we want and the fat percentage must be reduced.

By answering frequently asked questions, we show you that cardio can be added to your schedule, provided you adhere to a number of conditions. The answers given are based on scientific research into the combination of bodybuilding and cardio.

Question 1: Why should I add a cardio session to my training schedule?

squat bodybuilder

For most, this question is probably the first question they will ask when cardio and bodybuilding are mentioned in one sentence.

Because why would you add cardio if this training method is known to break down muscle mass?

With bodybuilding you train your muscle mass, but not your overall fitness and endurance. It is never wrong to keep your condition on track and to improve your endurance. This also ensures that you can keep the exercises full longer during your training. Just think of all squats en deadlifts. With such exercises you demand more from your body than just muscle strength.

Question 2: What should my cardio session consist of?

cycling cardio man

As always, it depends on the type of training that works best for each person. This also applies to cardio training.

Combining bodybuilding and cardio works out slightly differently for everyone, but there are a number of forms that have been investigated.

It appears that it is for strength athletes and bodybuilders is less stressful to cycle add as cardio training then running. It is suspected that this has to do with the impact of running on your muscles compared to cycling. This way it costs your leg muscles more energy to run than when you go cycling. This has to do with the blows that your leg muscles have to cope with while running.

This can ensure that during the strength training you can train your legs less in combination with running than with cycling. Yet adding running is not a sin. For some, this is a nice change or they simply prefer it more than cycling.

Tip: If you would rather run than cycle, we have in this article a number of handy beginners tips for you.

Question 3: Are cycling and running the only cardio exercises I can do?

skipping rope man-woman-gym

No. There are countless forms of cardio. What do you think of boxing or other martial arts? These sports will not only be good for cardio training, but also ensure that you can train and improve your flexibility and coordination.

Swimming, jogging, skipping rope, climbing stairs and rowing are also great variants for your cardio training. Since it will probably not be your favorite part, we recommend that you choose what you enjoy doing.

Question 4: How do I use cardio if I want to reduce my fat percentage?

fat percentage male abdominal muscles

When you want to lower your fat percentage, it is often recommended to add cardio to your training schedule.

Uit research It has been found that when it comes to reducing your fat percentage, it works well when you do cardio exercises after your strength training. If you pause for 20 minutes after your strength training and then do cardio exercises, you will burn more fat than if you do the cardio on another day or before the strength training.

Caution! Only add cardio after strength training if your goal is to reduce the percentage of fat (in the cut period). This method is not beneficial for your muscle building.

Question 5: How do I use cardio if I don't want to get in the way of my muscle building?

bicep muscle man

It is possible to use cardio in the period in which you are still working on your muscle building. Various studies have revealed handles that you can use while compiling your training schedule.

From one literature study It turned out that cardio training only had a negative effect on strength training when you performed it more than three times a week and longer than 25 minutes at a time. So make sure you stay below this when you add cardio to your training schedule. In addition, it is therefore not advisable to apply cardio during this period immediately after your strength training, as the answer to question four shows.

From one other research it appears that doing a cardio training immediately before your strength training is detrimental to the strength training. You have less energy left for strength training and you will not be able to perform this optimally anymore.

It will therefore not surprise you researchers recommend not to do your cardio training on the same day as your strength training. For example, use rest days in your training schedule to add slightly cardio.

Question 6: Does cardio not hamper my muscle recovery?

muscle recovery biceps bodybuilder

Some wonder whether bodybuilding and cardio combining is not detrimental to muscle recovery. With bodybuilders, muscle recovery is a very important element, but we don't have to explain that to you.

Uit research It has been found that when you do cardio training at a low level immediately after your strength training, cardio has a positive effect on your muscle recovery. During the study, the participants performed strength training with the legs, after which they cycled in moderate and light intensity for 20 minutes.

Then it turned out that the participants who had cycled briefly after the training recovered faster from the training than the participants who had not done this. Cardio after training therefore has a positive effect on muscle recovery, even when you do this in a degree of light intensity.

In this way, the cardio does not influence the breakdown of muscle mass, but it helps you to recover faster. The researchers suspect that this has to do with the stimulation of the blood circulation. Because the blood continues to flow well through the cardio after strength training, the waste is transported faster from the muscles.

Caution! This claim seems to contradict the answers to questions four and five, but remember that we are talking about cardio in a moderate and light intensity. So do not do a full cardio workout, but cycle for 20 minutes at a leisurely pace.

Question 7: Do I have to change my diet when I add cardio sessions?

egg whites

Combining bodybuilding and cardio requires more from your body than if you would let cardio out of the picture.

In terms of nutrition, adding cardio influences your protein intake, among other things. Your body uses for your muscle building and repair egg whites. However, during cardio training your body also uses proteins to release energy.

Adding cardio training means that you will have to take more protein to minimize the negative effects of cardio on muscle building.

Summary: combining bodybuilding and cardio in no time


When we summarize the answers to the questions, you get a good idea of ​​how bodybuilding and cardio can be combined.

To start with, it is of course never wrong to have a good condition and a good endurance. In the long term, this will also help you to maintain your training.

In addition, adding cardio to your training schedule does depend on the goal you have with it.

When you go for fat burning, you add the cardio after your strength training for the best result. If you simply want to keep your fitness level you will have to do the cardio on a different day than the strength training. In addition, you should not perform your cardio training more than three times a week and 25 minutes each time.

Your training can consist of cycling rather than running, although running isn't that bad. Try to find the cardio training that you like to do. For example, combining bodybuilding and cardio is not a real punishment to do.

Have you already added cardio to your training schedule?

If so, which influences of cardio do you observe in your progression?

Share your experiences with us in the comments below!

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