How to Incorporate Cardio to Support Your Fitness Goals

For years now the word cardio has become a household name; feared and equally hated by many within the training fraternity. That being said, we cannot deny nor argue the importance of its role in building a long term health and a physically menacing stature. In this article, I’ll explain when to do cardio so it supports your fitness goal.

Cardiovascular activity, i.e. cardio, is any form of exercise that raises your heart rate. This can be achieved through either longer more low intensity workouts, or shorter more high intensity workouts. The big question I get so often is, when is it best to incorporate cardio into my routine? Before or after my usual training?

Energy

The answer is simple. In order to raise your heart rate, the body requires energy. This energy is taken from the stored levels of glycogen within the body which we get from the foods we eat, .i.e the calories we consume.

When we do cardio first, those stored levels of glucose will be mainly used to help us perform that specific action. If you are looking to lose weight, then this approach is great. However, if your style of training and majority of your focus is on toning and building lean muscle mass, then this wont be the best approach for you. The reason for this is that by the time you start your resistance piece, your bodies energy levels will already be near exhaustion so that the output you exert will be minimal. The opposite for this is also true. If you start your routine with weight training and do cardio afterwards, the main source of your energy and output will be focused on the resistance aspect. The burning of extra calories will come secondary.

Key Takeaway

To conclude: Focus on your goals. If you are trying to lose weight, then focus on either low or high intensity cardio forms first. If your focus is on building lean quality muscle, then focusing on the resistance training first and cardio after is better. Use your energy wisely!

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