How Much Cardio Do Bodybuilders Do?

  • By: jacob foxx
  • Date: July 6, 2023
How Much Cardio Do Bodybuilders Do?

If you’re a bodybuilder, then you must be aware of how important cardio is to physical fitness. But just what kind and how much cardiovascular exercise should you be doing?

It’s an oft-debated question among both novice and experienced bodybuilders.

In this blog post we’ll dive into the particulars of why cardio is essential for effectively achieving your goals and provide helpful advice on implementing effective techniques for incorporating it into your existing routine.

Read on to find out more!

Importance of Cardio for Bodybuilding

Cardio exercise is key for bodybuilding. You must vary intensity, length and frequency to improve aerobic fitness and muscle mass. Cardio helps burn extra calories and promote heart health.

Plus, cardio can help develop better muscular endurance. This means more strength gains during muscle-building workouts. Cardio gives muscles oxygen and nutrients, leading to better physique improvements.

Research suggests HIIT and steady-state cardio can maximize fat loss. It also minimizes muscle inflammation and oxidative stress. This makes fat burning more efficient while resting.

Ancient Greek and Roman records show athletes who trained both anaerobic and aerobic did better than those who only did one.

In conclusion, targeted cardio routines speed up weight loss and enhance aerobic capacity. This helps you work out harder and manage fatigue better. You’ll be stronger and get faster gains for your bodybuilding goals.

Types of Cardio for Bodybuilding

Cardiovascular exercises are essential for the growth of muscles in bodybuilding. Different cardio forms help in muscle growth, and each provides unique benefits that contribute to the overall performance of bodybuilding athletes.

  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – This form of cardio involves high-intensity exercises in short intervals, increasing metabolism and muscle building.
  • Low-Intensity Steady State (LISS) – LISS involves moderate exercises at a constant pace, which improves endurance and fat burning.
  • Fasted Cardio – This form involves doing cardio before breakfast, enhancing the body’s fat-burning process.

It is crucial to use the right cardio form strategically to support fitness goals. Striking a balance between the type of exercises, frequency, and duration can help achieve desired results, whether preserving mass or cutting fat.

To get the best out of cardio exercises, combining them with a healthy diet and strength training regime produces significant results. HIIT before weight training provides an extra boost for better muscle building, while LISS post-workout helps in faster recovery by preventing muscle soreness.

Lastly, incorporating fasted cardio in a targeted weight loss plan can deliver noticeable results. Steady-state cardio might be boring, but it’s like brushing your teeth – you gotta do it if you want to keep things healthy.

Steady-State Cardio

Don’t miss out on the many advantages of cardiovascular exercises! Incorporate both steady-state cardio and HIIT into your routine. Steady-state cardio is great for increasing endurance and burning calories. Alternate between high-intensity and low-intensity activity for maximum effectiveness. This type of cardio helps activate the body’s natural fat-burning processes. Plus, it provides consistency over time.

Make your bodybuilding dreams come true! Stick to a strict, yet diverse workout program. Include proper nutrition and rest too. Jogging, cycling, and swimming are all great activities for steady-state cardio. Mix up your routine to keep things interesting and obtain sustainable results. Achieve the physique you desire with continuous, sustained aerobic activities. Fear missing out on what you set out to do!

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Bodybuilders use a form of cardio called ‘The Tabata Method.’ It involves 20 seconds of maximum intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds rest. This is referred to as High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

HIIT offers bodybuilders many benefits:

  1. Enhances endurance.
  2. Speeds up fat-burning.

This form of training includes exercises such as jumping jacks, burpees, squat jumps and sprints. It can be done with or without equipment. It also prevents muscle imbalance.

It is believed that Dr. Izumi Tabata, a Japanese researcher, created HIIT while working with Olympic speed skaters in the 1990s. His research showed that the athletes experienced improved performance when using this interval style training compared to conventional cardio training.

Factors to Consider for Choosing the Right Amount of Cardio

Bodybuilders need to consider multiple factors in order to determine the appropriate amount of cardio for their fitness goals. Firstly, the individual’s body type and metabolism should be considered, as these can greatly affect the effectiveness of cardio workouts. Other important factors to consider include the individual’s current fitness level and the specific goals they aim to achieve with their cardio regimen.

One should consider the type of cardio that they plan on doing, as different types of cardio have different effects on the body and may require different amounts of time and effort.

  • Body type and metabolism
  • Current fitness level and goals
  • Type of cardio

It is also important to note that incorporating too much cardio into a bodybuilding routine can actually have negative effects on muscle development. Therefore, finding the right balance of cardio and strength training is essential for success in bodybuilding. By taking these factors into consideration and working with a trainer or fitness professional, bodybuilders can determine the appropriate amount of cardio to incorporate into their workout regimen.

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Bodybuilders should also keep in mind that the recommended amount of cardio may vary depending on their specific goals and the stage they are at in their bodybuilding journey. By adjusting their cardio regimen as needed and staying consistent with their workouts, bodybuilders can achieve their desired results and reach their full potential.

A true history to consider is that in the 1970s, bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger incorporated a significant amount of cardio into his routine to improve his overall conditioning and cardiovascular health. This approach was groundbreaking at the time and helped to inspire a new wave of bodybuilders to prioritize cardiovascular health in addition to strength training.

Remember, bodybuilding isn’t just about looking good naked, it’s also about being able to carry all those trophies without breaking a sweat.

Body Composition

Physical build is an important factor when deciding a cardiovascular exercise routine. One’s body composition affects how much and what type of cardio activity they should do, plus how often. If body fat is high, more intensive exercises may be needed to burn calories.

It’s also important to consider goals, schedule, and preferences. For example, those wanting to improve their performance or endurance may try interval training or longer workouts. Busy people may prefer shorter, intense workouts.

Remember, the best amount and type of cardio depends on each person. Consulting a trainer or doctor can help make an effective exercise plan.

A friend of mine tried an intense cardio program but got very tired without realizing she was overdoing it. She learned the importance of consulting experts before pushing her body too hard.

Training Goals

To get your fitness routine right, figuring out how much cardio you need depends on your goal. Figure out your ‘Desired Fitness Outcome’ to design a custom plan. Is it weight loss? More endurance? Better health? Different routines work for different goals.

It’s vital to get the ‘Frequency and Volume’ of cardio right. Too much or too little can be bad. Choose a routine based on personal preferences and intensity.

If weight loss is the aim, HIIT is more effective than steady-state. If you want to build endurance, go steady with moderate intensity. Goals decide the type of exercise.

Without the right routine, you may hit a wall or get injured. Understand your goals to get closer to success.

Make sure your routine fits your goal. Take time to reflect and write down your goals before you start. Then you can make progress and get in shape!

Lifestyle Factors

When it comes to cardio, one must consider their unique circumstances. Age, gender, job, sleep, stress, diet, and health all play a part. The frequency and intensity of workouts should depend on a person’s lifestyle. For example, someone with a sedentary job may require more cardio than someone with an active job.

Older people or those with medical conditions should speak to a healthcare professional. Additionally, access to gyms, outdoor spaces, social support, and workout equipment all affect the amount of cardio one does.

A story emphasizes the importance of listening to your body and seeking advice before starting a rigorous exercise regime. An individual didn’t heed this advice and ended up in hospital with heart complications.

Guidelines for Cardio Frequency and Duration for Bodybuilding

Cardio is an important part of bodybuilding. Professional bodybuilders require specific cardio frequency and duration in order to achieve their desired physique. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Cardio should be done three to five times a week, depending on individual goals and body composition.
  • Each cardio session should last between 20-60 minutes, with the length increasing as physical fitness level improves.
  • The type of cardio should be changed regularly to avoid plateauingHigh-intensity interval training (HIIT), steady-state cardio, and LISS are all effective methods for bodybuilding.

It is imperative to note that these guidelines are not set in stone and may vary for each individual. It is important to listen to your body and adjust accordingly.

One interesting fact is that, in the past, bodybuilders would often avoid cardio in fear of losing muscle mass. However, studies have since shown that cardio can improve overall muscle growth and definition. It is important to incorporate cardio into your bodybuilding routine in order to achieve optimal results.

Beginner bodybuilders beware: too much cardio may result in accidentally losing your gains in the form of sweat.

Beginner Bodybuilders

Beginner bodybuilders must start with a cardio routine3-4 times per week, do low-impact exercises. Start with slow movements, like brisk walking or cycling. Increase intensity over time with HIIT and interval training.

Combine cardio with nutrition and weight training for the best results. Don’t do too much too soon – progression is key! A fellow bodybuilder said consistent cardio helped him get lean muscle mass and stay fit. He saw progress in only a few weeks after starting his tailored routine.

Intermediate Bodybuilders

Intermediate bodybuilders need to tailor their workouts to their own needs! They should up the frequency of their cardio sessions, lasting around 35-45 minutes at moderate intensity.

Mixing it up with HIIT or steady state can help keep the body challenged and prevent plateaus. It’s essential for bodybuilders to maintain a balanced approach to incorporate cardio into their routines – this way they can reach their goals and stay ahead of the competition.

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Advanced Bodybuilders

Advanced bodybuilding techniques? It takes more than dedication to reach the pinnacle of physical fitness! Here are three essential factors to consider:

  1. Persevere! Push past your limits for a true transformation and better health.
  2. Get balanced nutrition. Fuel your body with the right macronutrients according to your goals.
  3. Step up your cardio! Increase the frequency and duration of HIIT sessions.

For advanced bodybuilders, it’s important to embrace a healthy lifestyle that supports your exercise plan. Make sure you get reliable tips to design an optimal strategy for your fitness journey!

Importance of Balancing Cardio with Strength Training in Bodybuilding

Finding the correct balance between strength training and cardio is crucial for bodybuilding success. Too much cardio can cause muscle loss. But, the right amount increases cardiovascular endurance and health. Strength training builds muscle and improves body composition. The perfect combination of both leads to optimal results.

High-intensity interval training and circuit training offer great results. They increase calorie burn and reduce muscle loss. Different types of cardio such as running, cycling, or rowing work different parts of the body and reduce boredom.

The duration and intensity of cardio sessions should match strength training. One effective method is performing 20-30 minutes of cardio after each lifting workout. This helps to burn more calories than lifting alone. On non-lifting days, doing separate cardio sessions helps build stamina without compromising muscle growth.


Discovering the ideal amount of cardio for bodybuilding needs a personal approach. Factors such as age, fitness level, and objectives should be taken into account when designing a cardio routine that goes with weight training. By customizing cardio sessions to individual needs, bodybuilders can enjoy improved cardiovascular health and endurance without compromising muscle growth.

One solution is to do high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for short periods rather than long steady-state cardio sessions. HIIT can help with fat loss while preserving muscle mass. But, those with joint or mobility issues may benefit from lower-impact activities like swimming or cycling.

When making a cardio schedule, it’s important to observe progress and adjust as needed. It could also be essential to periodize cardio during the year to avoid overtraining or burnout. Speaking with a trainer or sports nutritionist can give more knowledge into making a customized approach.

Pro Tip: Don’t totally ignore steady-state cardio as it has its own advantages in improving cardiovascular health and increasing calorie burn during exercise. It’s all about finding the correct balance that works best for an individual’s needs and objectives.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much cardio is ideal for bodybuilding?

It depends on various factors such as your fitness goals, current body composition, and type of workouts you do. However, most bodybuilders prefer 30-60 minutes of cardio per day, five to six days a week.

Can cardio affect muscle gain?

Excessive cardio can lead to muscle loss, especially if you are not consuming enough calories to compensate for the calories burned during the workout. However, moderate cardio can actually help to improve muscle endurance and overall fitness.

Should I do cardio before or after weightlifting?

It is best to do cardio after weightlifting since weightlifting typically requires maximal energy and glycogen stores. Doing cardio before weightlifting can leave you with less energy for the weightlifting portion of your workout.

Which type of cardio is best for bodybuilding?

Low-intensity steady-state (LISS) cardio is typically preferred for bodybuilding since it does not burn through as much muscle glycogen as high-intensity interval training (HIIT). LISS cardio can include activities such as walking, jogging, or using a stationary bike.

How does cardio help with bodybuilding?

Cardio helps to improve cardiovascular endurance, promote fat loss, and reduce the risk of heart disease. These benefits can indirectly contribute to muscle growth and overall fitness.

Can I skip cardio if I am already lifting weights?

You can skip cardio if your primary goal is muscle gain. However, incorporating cardio into your workout routine can improve your overall health and fitness, and it can help you to achieve a more toned and defined physique.

I'm Jacob Foxx, a proud native of the outskirts of Chicago, Illinois. I was enamored with the expansive Star Trek universe and its promise of cutting-edge technology and space travel from a young age. This early fascination with science fiction sparked my imagination and laid the foundation for my writing career. Alongside my love for the cosmos, I developed a passion for fitness in my formative years.

This dual interest in the world of tomorrow and the pursuit of physical health has greatly informed my writing, allowing me to explore themes of human potential and the future of our species. As an author, I strive to blend these passions into compelling narratives that inspire readers to dream and to push their own boundaries.

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