Does Cardio Kill Gains? The Ultimate Guide

It takes a lot of time and effort to gain muscle mass. That’s why lifters are very concerned about it. Does cardio kill gains is their most considerable confusion, as they do not want to lose muscle bulk.

You don’t need to worry as I have already done the hard work to get the right answer for you and by the end of this post you will not have any queries about it.

Can cardio kill gains?

No, it is a myth; cardio does not reduce muscle mass. Instead, it helps you have strong muscles. Some people lose gains due to cardio because they make some mistakes.

I have discussed all of them in detail, and you must go through them.

1. Doing Cardio at the Wrong Time

If you schedule cardio at the wrong time, it will burn your muscles and there will be a decrease in the gains.

Most of the time, people do cardio before weight lifting in the gym. Never make this mistake because your body will tire and lose the capacity to lift the weights.

Always do weight lifting first, then cardio, as it will help you increase your gains. Regarding a study published in the journal of sports science, if you do a moderate-to-intense cardio session 2 hours after a biceps workout, you will have 2 times more muscle hypertrophy.

Keep a gap of 6 hours between the weight lifting and cardio sessions. This means you should do weight lifting in the morning, cardio in the evening, or vice versa.

2. Doing the Wrong Type of Cardio

People think running is the best form of cardio, but the situation is contrary to that as it is the worst form of cardio. It is never recommended for weight lifters.

If you are a weight lifter and do not want to lose your gains, do lower impact cardio. As it neither drains your energy nor disturbs weight lifting,

The following are the best low-impact cardio exercises you should add to your routine.

  1. Cycling
  2. Elliptical
  3. Incline walking

3. Doing too much cardio can burn muscles.

When someone wants to lose weight, they start doing cardio. The more you do cardio, the higher the number of calories burned. However, you will not lose any fat if you do not control your diet.

However, there are many cardio benefits, and you must add them to your routine. But make sure you have 3 sessions of 20–30 minutes per week. If you do it every day, you will suffer a loss in muscle gain. Are you still unsure whether cardio kills gains?

The Importance of Cardio for Weight Lifters

For a complete understanding of the importance of cardio, let us look at the fuel of the body. ATP is the main form of energy, and the body can’t do anything without it.

These three systems produce ATP.

  1. ATP-PCr system

It is the fastest source of producing energy, and it is active only for 6 seconds at a time. Furthermore, it requires more energy for recovery.

  1. Glycolytic

It’s not great, but it’s fixed, and you can’t use it for more than 120 seconds at a time when you’re actually working.

  1. Aerobic

This system takes time to run. However, it is the most efficient system that provides energy for a long time.

When we do intensive cardio, such as sprints and sled pushing, the ATP-PCr and glycolytic systems are active. All these drills are high-speed and dirty. You use a significant number of calories in a short time and need some time for recovery.

However, aerobic cardio is straightforward as you have the availability of ATP for hours.

Why should you prefer aerobics?

Every lifter feels gassed at a point, and it is not odd. However, you need to assess at that time if you can keep going and what you have done.

Here are the two main benefits of a healthy aerobic system:

  1. It can produce a large amount of ATP, thus providing the body with fuel efficiently.
  2. It is the best system for removing metabolites and wastes from the body.

1. Strong Heart

One significant benefit of cardio is that it increases the size of the left ventricle, which means there will be more blood flow from the left ventricle to the body. You will be able to transfer more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles.

2. Enhance recovery

Moreover, your heart will not work strenuously during an intensive heart rate, which means you will recover very early. Thus, light cardio can be very beneficial in recovery, but make sure that cardio is not stressful. There is no evidence to support the question, “Does cardio kill gains?”

3. Better Body Composition

There is no better alternative than resistance training and cardio, as it takes your body composition to the next level. Resistance is a big part of making muscles burn more calories, and cardio makes you feel less hungry.

Your body becomes more sensitive to leptin and insulin; similarly, there is increased testosterone; however, your oestrogen level decreases.

The author of “The Hybrid Athlete” and co-founder of “Complete Human Performance,” a firm that trains athletes with extreme strength and endurance, believes that the notion that “cardiovascular conditioning” primarily aids endurance activities is incorrect; regardless of the type of training, a stronger heart and better circulation result in more oxygen and nutrients being delivered to working muscles. A better-conditioned strength athlete will clear metabolites faster (including lactate after higher repetition sets), make better use of available glycogen to fuel their training (more mitochondria in their muscles), maintain better energy levels, and improve recovery times between sets, allowing for more productive, high-quality work in the same amount of time.

How to incorporate aerobic training into your training?

You can easily adjust it to your daily workout routines as it is easy-going and you can recover from it quickly. Moreover, aerobic adaptation is rapid. It will take a few days.

If you are going to add aerobic training to your mind, you must follow these instructions.

Do not go beyond your heart’s range. Make sure your rate does not go beyond 85% of your maximum rate, and it would be better to have it in the range of 60-85%.

In the case of aerobic training, less is more as you do not have to train for hours. It is easy to adjust your body, and 30–40 minute sessions per week are enough.

If you want to gain muscle mass, make sure there is a gap between your lifting and cardio sessions. For example, you can do cardio on non-lifting days.

How do you add cardio to your daily routine to maximise gains?

It has been a confusion in the minds of athletes and trainers for ages that cardio like cycling, running, and swimming burns the muscle mass and loses the gains.

No one wants to lose the muscle mass they’ve built up by working out hard for hours on end.

However, if you do the right type of cardio and have the correct timing, there will be no decrease in your muscle mass. Instead, you will gain more, and your body will become stronger.

What Are the Advantages of Combining Cardio, Stretching, and Strength Training?

Cardio has unique effects on your cardiovascular health, and when strength is mixed with cardio, you can see tremendous results. Here are the main benefits of mixing cardio, stretching, and strength.

1. Increased General Fitness

Barbell and weight machines are significant for strength training, and when we do all these drills, our muscles break down, and we need time for recovery.

During recovery, there is rebuilding and growth of muscles. In short, it is the recovery of muscles that increases the mass, not the strength training itself.

However, cardio like running, cycling, jumping, and swimming improves the heart’s health and lowers blood pressure levels. Thus, you remain protected from lethal diseases like heart attacks.

Moreover, cardio is beneficial in increasing muscle endurance and burning calories. Similarly, stretching includes yoga, which tones our body, increases flexibility, and prevents muscle injury.

2. More Powerful Muscles

We all know that cardio increases the endurance of the muscles. Thus, the muscles produced during strength have more endurance and strength.

After cardio, the heart works better and pumps more blood, so there will be more oxygen and nutrients for the muscles that are growingThus, muscles will be strong. Best of all, muscles do not take much time for recovery. In short, your muscles will build fast if you couple cardio with stretching. Similarly, there is an increase in peak power output and average power output.

3. Fat Reduction

Bareball strength training will not help you lose weight as muscles have more density than fat; thus, you will gain weight. However, there is the replacement of fat with muscles, due to which your body becomes more robust.

Cardio is best for losing weight as it utilises all the energy produced by the body after a meal before it deposits it in the body in the form of fat. Similarly, after burning all the power, it starts breaking down deposits of fat.

Does cardio kill gains and reduce muscle mass? When you pair strength with cardio, muscles are more efficient in burning calories. Thus, fast fat burning and increased muscle mass will increase due to strength training.

4. Improved Sleep

It is imperative to have off days during workouts so the body can rest well. However, cardio and stretching involve different muscles. Thus, on a strength rest day, you can do cardio and vice versa.

There will be an improvement in your sleep quality by doing exercise daily instead of spending time doing nothing. Once you do strength training, your body needs to rest. Thus, you sleep well.

After strength, people have been seen to sleep for more than 7 hours. Similarly, you will be tired and lethargic on a cardio day as you have burned all calories and stored fat; thus, you tend to sleep early.

5. Lower the Risk of Injury

While building muscles, your body needs rest. If you do overtraining to develop muscles quickly, you become injured. Alternating cardio with strength will give rest to the required muscle groups and exercise the active group. Thus, decreasing the risk of injuries to the lowest level.

3 Best Cardio Workouts for Bulking

There are three types of cardio based on their intensity. If you want to gain muscle mass, it does not mean you cannot do high-intensity bouts. It would help if you focused on the duration of each bout to add it to your workout.

1. Low-Intensity Cardiovascular Exercise

If you are a person who is struggling to gain weight, you should add minimal cardio to your routine. Cardio burns calories; however, calories are required for bulking.

Therefore, it is recommended to do light walks or bike rides to add cardio to your life. Furthermore, please do not regard it as a stress and duty that you must perform on a daily basis.Instead, treat it lightly and do it for fun and time passing.

2. Bouts of Low Intensity

If you want to have better cardiovascular health and build muscle, add 15-20 minute low-intensity bout sessions to your workout routine. The intensity should be low, and the recommended heart rate is 60–70%, as it works best to improve blood circulation and heart rate and control blood pressure.

You can do this 1-2 times per week and remember that it will demand an extra 100 calories per day, and it can be more.

3. Bouts of High Intensity

If you are trying to increase muscle mass, keep the duration of high-intensity bouts to a minimum. Because your body will demand more calories, you will suffer both gain and loss.

Similarly, the body becomes fatigued and loses the ability to lift the weight. Thus, do such intensive bouts 1-2 times for 10-15 minutes to increase aerobic and anaerobic fitness.

Best Cardio for Muscle Gains

It is a common concern of people who want to gain muscle mass to engage themselves in cardio that will not waste their energy and decrease muscle bulk.

Similarly, cardio should not be a stress on the body; it must positively impact cardiovascular health. Here is the list of cardio that helps you gain muscle bulk and lose all that unnecessary fat.

1. Quick Walk

Whether on the treadmill or around the garden, a brisk walk is enough to give you enough cardiovascular strength to gain muscle mass. Best of all, it will not cause injuries.

Per week, 2 sessions of 20-30 minute brisk walks will help you gain additional muscles. Cardio provides all the essential nutrients to damaged muscles and helps them recover quickly.

Furthermore, you can use a treadmill even if you are injured; however, make sure that you do not overload your body, as a few minutes of cardio provides many benefits and strength to your body and muscles.

2. Elliptical Machines

Like brisk walks, elliptical trainers are also a great way of doing the cardio you need while bulking. The main feature of these machines is that they offer lower impact than other methods, and you can use them in all weather conditions.

Elliptical trainers engage your muscle groups and tissues and remove unnecessary fat from all body parts without causing much stress. Your upper and lower body are involved; thus, you get many benefits.

The cherry on top, the resistance setting, makes the session more challenging and enjoyable for you.

3. Swimming

Swimming is a workout that can be added to all workout sessions as it engages all major body muscles. However, it is not a high-risk exercise that causes injury, exhaustion, or repetitive stress damage.

Water cushions protect all injury-prone regions and joints. Moreover, it increases blood pressure and heart rate. Thus, there is more transfer of nutrients and blood to the muscles.

Other high-impact cardio can cause injuries and disturb your strength training schedule. However, swimming is a low-impact exercise with no drawbacks.

On the contrary, it has many advantages for your health, and you must add it to your workout.

4. Bike ride

Tired of all the above cardio, you can try riding a bike as it will increase your blood pressure rate and heart rate to help you improve your heart health.

If the weather is pleasant enough, take your bike out and start riding it. If you are unable to exercise outside, you can do cardio on the bike.

Make sure you have set the resistance to the lowest level so you do not have to do intensive workouts. However, once you are ready to increase the resistance, you can increase it up to a specific limit.

To sum up,

I trust now you will not ask if cardio kills gains as you have complete information. You must not do the wrong type of cardio; instead, always do low-impact cardio after strength training.

The strength, stretching, and cardio mixture will prove beneficial for you. Swimming, brisk walking, riding, and elliptical training are the best cardio for bulking.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comment section below. Thank you for your visit!

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