Facts About Bodybuilding And Cardio
Bodybuilding and cardio at first glance seem to be two activities that would tend to work against one another. Bodybuilding is dedicated to building (and sculpting) muscle mass, while an effective cardio (short for cardiovascular) program will burn muscle mass, especially once any excess fat has been burned away. A bodybuilder when confronted with the idea of taking on a cardio regimen, may rightly feel that he is working against the very objectives he is trying to reach.
On closer examination, bodybuilding and cardio actually coexist quite nicely. For one thing, the bodybuilder is not going to be doing the same type of aerobic exercise that a marathon runner would be doing. Long distance running would indeed be counterproductive to the person attempting to build muscle mass. In addition, those who have built significant muscle mass would very likely encounter leg or ankle problems when running long distances due to the stress put on the legs and ankles by the combined weight of the person's muscles.
A bodybuilder does not need to jump into a program of intense cardio exercise, and probably should not. This is a case of more not necessarily being better. Moderate cardio exercising will yield many benefits, too much may not.
A Lean (But Muscular) Machine - One reason cardio exercises can be of benefit is the bodybuilder wants to develop muscle mass and at the same time be lean, two characteristics that seem to be, but are not, incompatible. A body builder can have the muscles but can at the same time be significantly overweight, a factor that is not desirable in competition. Thus a careful balance must be reached in getting the desired muscle mass and at the same time achieving the desired amount of leanness.
Stronger Heart Muscles - If nothing else, cardiovascular exercise strengthens the heart muscles, and it can be argued that lifting heavy weights does not. A bodybuilder should want to have a healthy heart just as much as anyone else, but one who is dedicated solely to working in the weight room may not even be thinking much about the health of the heart muscle, which could be a mistake. Aerobic exercises, that is to say cardiovascular exercises, function to make the heart work faster. The heart is like any other muscle. When it is exercised it becomes stronger. Since a bodybuilder is focusing on building larger and stronger muscles, why leave the heart out of the program? After all, it's the most important muscle of all.
Metabolic Rate Increase -Cardiovascular workouts also have an effect on the body's metabolism by increasing the metabolic rate. This can have a number of positive effects, but one of the more significant ones is when we have a higher metabolic rate we simply feel a lot better, and feeling good can make bodybuilding workouts both more enjoyable and more productive.
Faster Recovery Time - Yet another benefit of cardio workouts is a decrease in recovery time, the time it takes to recover from the fatigue, aches, or pains often encountered after a heavy workout. Bodybuilders rarely exercise the same major muscle groups for two sessions or for two days in a row, and doing cardio exercises is not intended to change that very good rule, but nevertheless recovery time can be lessened significantly.
Like Birds Of A Feather - Bodybuilding and cardio do go together quite nicely, although one needs to find just the right balance, which may take a little time, but really shouldn't be all that difficult. A moderate cardiovascular routine is far better than none at all, and also far better than an excessively difficult one. Put another way, cardio adds a nice new dimension to the bodybuilding workout.