Min menu


Top Article

When Do You Do Cardio? Let's Get Back to the Basics



Lifting weights is enjoyable for most people, so they get into bodybuilding and weight training. Adding more plates to the bar or creeping up to the higher end of the dumbbell rack is also motivating. When it comes to bodybuilding and physique growth, there is another aspect that isn't as much fun but is extremely important. We're talking about cardio, of course.

Muscle Growth

If your personal target is hypertrophy, or muscle growth, you'll want to get the most out of your weight training sessions, so doing cardio first may not be the best idea. However, you can also do so because you want to concentrate on losing weight so that you can show off your hard-earned muscle. Baye advises deferring cardio until after the weight training is over.

“The explanation for this is because you come to the gym, and we won't get too sciencey, you have glycogen storages, and we'll only talk carbs in your bloodstream for energy,” he explains. “You want to put all of that energy into getting the best out of the training session. When most people who want to develop muscle go to a cardio session after they've finished weight training, they're doing so with the intention of burning bodyfat. And you've not only saved your glycogen reserves for heavy lifting, but you've also burned through a lot of them by the time you get on the aerobic equipment and burn off the bodyfat.”

Endurance Cardiovascular

Other athletes, such as professional fitness-events runners who compete in long-distance runs, devote themselves to cardio for the purpose of increasing stamina. Their health targets are to raise their heart rate and expand their lung capacity. For those trying to gain muscle, Baye recommends taking the opposite approach.

“Then we'd recommend that they come in and do cardio first. If you were to do a light workout after your cardio, or even a more vigorous workout, you could still make improvements and gains as long as your rest and diet are in order.”

According to Baye, each cardio technique you use should be tailored to your particular objectives. What you want to commit to first should be the goal with the highest priority. Cardio is a must if you want to achieve one of those goals, which is a common denominator that can't be overlooked.