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How Crucial is Cardio for a BB'er?


how important is cardio really?

does it really interfere with strength gains?

does it make more sense to just cut the extra calories out of your diet?

HIIT sounds superior but wouldn't that interfere with recovery?

Just a few basic questions i have. I'm trying to cut down a bit, so i figure cardio is pretty important. My uncle is a good bodybuilder and he always tells me that cardio is over rated. It takes too long, saps strength. He has told me the best ting to do is train hard in the gym and spend the rest of my time in the kitchen preparing meals (and maybe some stretching on off days for recovery)

any opinions would be appreciated. Thanks.


You wanna get bigger? It's not really that necessary. Occasional HIIT is nice for conditioning but you can avoid excessive BF gains by doing it right in the kitchen.

If you're trying to cut it can aid in increasing your caloric deficit.


Well in an ideal world when you want to maintain/gain muscle mass while also doing cardio/aerobic work then it comes down to calories in versus calories out... Also extended cardio increases cortisol and glucagon release, similarly in decreases the release of anabolic hormones so technically as a bodybuilder you wouldnt wanna do that.

However you have to look at objectively... If you want to cut fat there is a time when you need to do cardio, hence why pro's do it because its the best method for that specific goal. You just need to make sure your going to be timing your nutrition/supplementation right in order to minimise the effects of extended cardio time.

Keep the cardio sessions short and frequent, HIIT can work well as it's anaerobic nature will increase the release of adrenaline, which helps fat burn too. The old recommendations of 60%HRmax = optimal fat utilisation isnt necessarily considered to be the best anymore.

Your uncle is right in a way, that you need to be spending good time in working out what nutrition is going to allow you to maintain as much lean muscle mass as possible, but if you want to do a genuine cut of body fat then your going to need some sort of cardio in there just to tick over those extra few calories burnt to reach a deficit.


I have been asking my self this question for a long time, and I have come to the answer that cardio is actually vitally important. As a bodybuilder, you still want to keep a balance. Yes...you want a lot of muscle mass but you should also look into maintaining your health.

I have been bodybuilding for over 4 years now, and have not done much cardio at all. I can now see the disadvantage of this. I sweat quickly, I run out of breathe from a short run and my endurance overall is not very good. So yes, cardio in that respect is useful and should not be forgotten.

I have tweaked things around now, and introduced small but frequent cardio sessions for over 3 months now, and my endurance overall is alot better than it used to be.

A very good friend of mine told me that if you forget about cardio and just focus on maximal mass gain, your essentially a cadilac escalade but with a really tiny engine.

Final conclusion: DO YOUR CARDIO!!!


Depends on the individual.

Someone with a long history of endurance activity is going to be able to get away with doing a lot more cardio because their muscles have adapated to it compared to someone from a strength/power background.

I've increased strength and mass and do about 30 minutes either cycling or running a day 4-6 days a week. BUT, that is nowhere near the 60-120 minutes of cardio I did as a competitive distance runner.

Like I said, depends on the individual. Do cardio. If you feel your strength or mass negatively effected then stop doing so much cardio.


Do cardio. Stay active boyyyy. Cardiovascular exercisse is more important from a health aspect than lifting is. Your heart will thank you in the long run. Eat right, weight train, do a moderate amount of cardio. If it feels like you are doing too little then do more, and if it feels like you are doing too much do less.

For me, this averages out to be about 2 hours of cardio weekly. To each his own though.


It depends on the person.

Kind of like, how crucial is direct arm work. If you're one of those lucky bastards who can get away with just compound movements and still have fully developed 18+ arms, then it isnt a big deal for you, same thing with cardio, if you can eat enough to gain, but stay at a comfortable level of bf, then good for you.

This game is all about finding out what works for you.


WTF, when did sweating become a disadvantage??!? u a metro?



So because he doesn't enjoy sweating and revel in the sticky manliness pouring out of his sweat glands to cover his body, he is therefore "metro" AND there is something wrong with that.


Reading comprehension FTW!


I think I comprehended it just fine. If you feel I didn't, which, considering I'm on pain meds, is a distinct possibility, please let me know and EXPLAIN why.


A healthy cardiovascular system helps deliver nutrients throughout the body better. That being said, I hate cardio and haven't done it in a while


You did. I was simply commenting on the redundancy due to said fine comprehending; as in, you repeated what he said less concisely even though you apparently grasped exactly what he was trying to communicate.

You know, like a joke.


I guess in the end my comprehension failed anyways.


For general health 10/10, for bodybuilding 5/10


Yes. Doing high volume and intensity cardio (5 days per week with high relative intensity, over 60% VO2max) has been shown to interfere with strength gains owing to impairment of one of the particular protein synthesis pathways important for your muscle fibers.


Doing low intensity cardio for reasonable durations can improve "aerobic" protein levels, help flexibility and range of motion issues, improve cardiovascular function, hypertrophy type I muscle fibers (to help a good aesthetic look) etc etc etc.

So no, it doesn't make more sense to just cut calories.


It has the potential to, and owing to the things your uncle said are generally the reasons why I don't do it, and why I don't recommend anyone I help with training to do it. With athletes, people wanting to get fit, absolutely do high intensity interval training. But for what we're trying to accomplish in a bodybuilding context? Nah, not worth the risks and potential for physiological interference with muscle size gains.


Years ago I posed a similar question on this forum. I spelled out my routine, which was nothing short of savage and (overly?)long, in the range of ~30 sets per workout. I mentioned that I was positively winded at the end of my workouts and had elevated pulse pretty much throughout my routine. In particular during squats (conventional and breathing) my heart and lungs could really feel it.

Cutting to the chase, several members told me that a weight training session with only short breaks and squats did indeed impart benefits to the cardiorespiratory system. My pulse rate and breathing pretty much told me the same thing.

Anyone care to chime in to agree/disagree?


So, what name did you use when you asked the question originally ?

And for your questions, I would say it depends on your goals, and where you are currently.