A lot of our readers face the same question when they think of starting cardio or while they are at it. Let us begin by briefly understanding what is cardio and how it functions. Cardio can be defined as anybody’s workout or training that increases your heart rate and breathing rate thereby challenging your cardiovascular system to improve its functioning. Cardio exercises work on large muscle groups like legs and intestine since they occupy a maximum portion of the cardiovascular system and thus coins the name, cardio workout. Basic cardio training can be moderate-intensity workouts like swimming, jogging, or riding a bike and can also be done in intervals including high-intensity exercises, kickboxing. Any cardio training can be adapted depending on your capacity, but they all tend to boost your lung and heart function and improve the blood circulatory system.
The idea of cardio ruining your muscle gain has been there for a long time. However, the link has not been proven yet. Since cardio exercises work only on your cardiovascular system, it seems almost impossible that it would interfere with your muscle gain provided you tackle both the activities well enough. If you plan on doing cardio while simultaneously working on muscle gain, it is important to pay attention to your diet. Our body is programmed to adapt to a single activity by prioritizing it. In other words, if you first train yourself for muscle gain and then head out for a jog or run to do cardio, your body will deprioritize the muscle training to adapt to the cardio exercise. Thus, in this case, one might face muscle-loss. Cardio can only result in muscle loss if done without appropriate fueling of the body. Carbohydrates are proven to be best-friends with cardio training, thus, if your body is provided with enough carbs before or after a workout, your body will have a satisfactory amount of carbs and glycogen for a cardio session and it will not feed on your muscle gain for fuel. However, if not provided with enough carbs for burning, the body starts to break down the proteins in it which hinders muscle growth.
In conclusion, it becomes important to figure out how to inculcate cardio in your regular muscle-gain regime without it adversely affecting your muscles. The most basic thing one can adopt is to keep a check on his diet. Nutrients like protein and carbohydrates become essential when adopting cardio. To do so, one should rely on healthy sources of carbs, proteins, and fats like dairy products including Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and high- proteins like beans, eggs, soy. Carbohydrate is of prime importance during cardio as the body primarily relies on carbs to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a chemical that works on muscles. However, it is also important to keep an eye on your carbohydrate consumption depending on how much of it will you be able to decompose to ATP while working out.
Additionally, it is also essential to get enough rest after your training sessions to adapt to the body stimulus. Besides focusing on your daily nutrition, it is also important that your body is rested enough and has time to work on its recoveries so that it cures any muscle injuries to prevent muscle loss. Thus, it is possible to include cardio and simultaneously prevents the loss of your hard-earned muscle gain, if you pay equal attention to your diet and provide your body with enough adaptation time.