The short answer
Not really! And judging by that look of amazement on your face, we get it that you are from the tribe of curious, folks who hate short answers. Now, we know that the popular narrative in the fitness community is that cardio kills any progress that you might have made in the gym. But we beg to differ! If done the right way, cardio can complement the gains that might have made in the gym. And we are saying all this while being aware of the paranoia that surrounds cardio. We have seen people wonder if cardio can shrink their weight by half of their total body mass. Ridiculous!
Please do not consider for a moment that we don’t believe in the challenges posed by aerobic training to body muscles. More aerobic training means more challenges in terms of muscle adaptation. But to term both training routines incompatible for each other is nothing but comical. Bet you ten bucks, you will see the joke in a bit yourself!
Cardio and growth? You can hope for both!
We are not going to rant, rather rely on research. And recent studies have shown that if you are doing the same amounts of cardio every day, it will support any gains you might have made. Notice the word sane here? That’s the trick here. You see, it will work in your favor only if you are not overdoing it. How much is ok? We will talk about that bit in a minute. But for now, we would like to reiterate the fact that a decent blend of cardio and strength training can help you achieve your objectives in a double-quick time. We know it has started to sound a little redundant already, but to bust a myth, facts must be shouted aloud a million times!
Cardio can support your gains!
What’s insane? Seven days of cardio a week. What’s sane? 2-3 days of cardio per week. That answers your “how much cardio” query in the previous section as well. Any more time spent to get all huffy and puffy will start damaging your gains. In that case, cardio DOES kill gains. Some of you must be wondering, what is the logic behind allocating only two days for cardio? Mate, your body is not made of steel. Between all the stress that it endures during weight lifting and running wildly, it needs a reprieve. Hence, splitting your workout across the days, under different categories makes all the sense in the world. If one doesn’t respect the limitations of the human body, then some consequences must be faced. It is all about finding the sweet spot, the optimal balance between two routines! And that varies from person to person, which is why we will not deliberate on this point any further.
Factors that you cannot ignore!
Key influencing factors cannot be ignored, when it comes down to incorporating cardio in your strength training schedule. One of the prime factors is the type of cardio you are doing. Running is the most obvious choice for many even reading these lines. But is it the best idea? We beg to differ from those of you who are nodding their heads in the affirmative. You see, when you run, the percentage of muscular contractions your body is making is quite high. This is not in the context of muscle gain, if anything, it causes a lot of damage to your muscles. On the other hand, we love cycling. Our love for this form of cardio stems from the fact that cycling is more focused on concentric muscular action. This is an event that is not as damaging to your muscle cause, as say running. So, the type of cardio you do is one of the key factors that you cannot ignore at any cost.
Then, your mood on the training day matters a lot as well. If you are hitting the gym in a very bad mood, and then run in an even sulkier mood, you will not enjoy the experience at all. And one of the greatest bits about exercise and muscle gain routines, in particular, is that you must feel the pleasant passion burning in your chest like a flame!
Cardio and cardiac hypertrophy: The difference
A lot of confusion about these terms in the public, we got to tell you that! And yet, apart from a phonetic resemblance, there is nothing common between these two terms. If anything, one of them isn’t even real! Yeap, when we say not real, we are talking about the fictional term cardiac hypertrophy, which is nowhere to be found in the standard books of physiology. However, what you will find is the term cardiac hypertrophy, which refers to the enlargement of heart muscles. Speaking briefly about this condition, it arises when cardio input is just too much. This condition can eventually affect your heart’s ability to make it through a tough lifting session. That’s a little out of the scope of this discussion, so we will refrain from discussing it any further! But we hope that the little confusion between the two terms is velar now.
Respect the limits!
Recall them? Good if you do, write them on a piece of paper and stick them on your gym board. Also, we forgot to mention this earlier, but air bikes offer another type of cardio that will not kill your gains. Try them if you are bored with the regular cycling exercises. We know that some of you have been wondering about the actual time limit which must be dedicated to a particular cardio session. Well, it varies from person to person, but we feel that a 40 minutes session should do the trick for most of you. Anything more than that, and you are just putting all of your upper body gains in jeopardy. With that word of advice, we bid you farewell from this discussion. Hope you learned something new in these five minutes!