Many people believe that cardio and building muscle don’t mix. The truth is that doing cardio can actually help muscle growth. If you’re keen to build muscle mass, and you’ve been shying away from activities that set your heart racing, here are some reasons why you should consider adding cardio to your fitness regime.
Improved muscle recovery
Intense lifting sessions can take their toll on your body. You may think that rest is the key to bouncing back effectively, but cardio could actually be the answer to improved muscle recovery. Gentle aerobic exercise will elevate your heart rate, increasing blood flow to the muscles, which helps to alleviate muscle soreness. There’s also evidence to suggest that cardio can rebalance the nervous system, which triggers the recovery process, enabling you to achieve your goals in a shorter space of time by ensuring that you’re ready for your next session without taking long breaks.
Improving your metabolic response to food
When you work out, your body demands more energy, and it burns more calories to enable it to carry on working. The amount of exercise and the intensity of your training can impact metabolism. The more energy your body needs, the more calories it will burn. Both cardio and weight training can increase metabolism, which causes the body to use fuel more efficiently. If you’re used to cardio exercise, you should find that your metabolic response to food changes, and that you’re able to adapt to an eating plan that suits both your activity levels and your training aims. If you’re keen to build and increase muscle, you don’t want to be overtraining when it comes to cardio, but the right amount of exercise can contribute to cardio muscle growth.
Adjusting your routine to reap the full benefits of Cardio
One of the main reasons people fear cardio when trying to gain muscle mass is the belief that weight lifting builds muscle and cardio makes you lose weight. It is true that in some cases, cardio can contribute to weight loss, as it burns calories that are needed for muscle gains. However, if you monitor your diet carefully, and you tailor your calorie intake to suit your activity levels, you should be able to reap the rewards of cardio exercise at the same time as working towards lifting goals.
It’s often assumed that you either do cardio or weights, but more and more people are enjoying the benefits of combined training and cardio for muscle growth. If you’re looking to build muscle mass, and you’ve ruled out cardio in the past, you may wish to reconsider and think about adding some light cardio sessions to your regime.