Many people do cardio before lifting weights, to warm up and get their body ready.
Some people just get straight into lifting.
But it’s important to really know an answer backed by science; how much cardio should you do before lifting?
Does Too Much Cardio Kill Muscle Gains?
Some people believe that cardio before lifting can affect your muscle gains.
Which is not exactly true.
There are many misconceptions when it comes to lifting weights and gains.
We are going to discuss these and give you all the information you need.
So all you have to worry about is going to the gym…
We’ve heard it a number of times so we wanted to give you a clear answer.
Warming up before lifting weights is recommended to get your body ready and your heart pumping faster.
A good 5-10 minute warm-up is ideal to get the blood pumping and your body ready for lifting.
Anything more than a warm-up in terms of cardio will not kill your muscle gains.
You may risk becoming pre-exhausted which could affect lifting weights, reps and time spent.
Obviously, if this is the case you will affect muscle gains if you shorten your workout.
Being too exhausted from cardio may affect your form and performance.
Lifting with the correct form is essential to avoid the risk of injury.
So what is the right way to incorporate cardio when lifting?
There are many ways to tackle this, but we suggest having separate days for cardio and weightlifting.
Split your workout days, PPL (push, pull, legs) is a good way to start. Just ensure you have the days devoted to cardio.
If you struggle with the number of days you have for the gym, then we suggest either doing HIIT sessions on some days.
Or, incorporate cardio after your lifting.
Do your light warm up, nothing too strenuous, lift and then do some extra cardio at the end of your session.
Remember, to cool down, this can help the body recover.
One thing to consider is if you are doing a lot of cardio, you don’t want to work yourself into a calorific deficit lower than you have planned.
This could reduce your muscle mass.
If you are eating at a deficit, make sure you stick to the planned deficit. If it works out you’re ending the day on a higher deficit than it may be practical to eat those additional calories burned so that you are still meeting your planned deficit and your body is full of nutritious food, especially protein.
What’s the Best Form of Cardio?
If you’re stuck for time and you need to make to the most out of your cardio session then we have some tips that could help.
Choose HIIT over a longer cardio session.
Not only will you burn way more calories in a shorter time but it is believed that after a HIIT session your body burns calories whilst resting.
A normal cardio session doesn’t always do this.
Which machine is the best for cardio?
With most gyms having a variety of cardio machines available to use, there has to be one that is more efficient than the others.
Cycling and walking on the treadmill are probably the least efficient machines to use if you want to burn a high amount of calories in a short time-frame.
The elliptical machine is great for a HIIT workout and burns a noticeable amount of calories.
The rowing machine is also a good choice, a full body workout and effective in burning calories and building endurance.
Another great machine that can help with building calves is the stair master.
Not only will you burn a decent amount of calories on this machine but you will also be building strength and muscle.
All exercise is good if you do prefer to walk then just get enough steps in for the day and try and walk uphill.
It all helps in achieving your goals.
Ways to Get More Active
Surprisingly, you don’t need a gym to keep you on track of your cardio.
Even if you do have gym membership, sometimes it is difficult to go to the gym when the sun is beaming outside, the heat makes it unbearable.
So go for a stroll, go on a bike ride, just move more.
Jogging outside when we have good weather is ideal, the slight breeze will keep you cool and you get to see the more scenic views.
If you are going shopping, park further away from the shopping centre to get those extra steps in.
Aim to reach around 10,000 steps per day, even on rest days.
Remember to keep lifting and stay active, you are bound to make progress.
Keep pushing to reach personal bests and consider your form.
Consider your food consumption and drink plenty of water.
And, most importantly, enjoy the process.
Keep things different to avoid slipping into a boring routine.