Q: Hey, guys, I’m really confused about whether or not I should be doing cardio to strip off fat. Some guys at the gym say cardio is for skinny guys only and will eat into my mass gains. Other say you gotta do cardio to get lean. What gives?
A: The belief that cardio will rob a bodybuilder of some of his hard won muscle mass is hugely exaggerated. Only extreme amounts of high endurance type cardio exercise will deplete muscle mass (we’re talking Iron-man endurance type events). Muscle loss is more likely to occur as a result of not eating enough clean protein foods than doing too much cardio. Having said that, all aerobic exercise does have an effect on muscle. That’s because muscle proteins are broken down and used for energy during aerobic activity. But this process, called protein turnover, is happening all the time in the body regardless of our activity. To keep on the anabolic side of the equation, make sure you are maintaining your proper caloric intake and protein levels and continue to go hard with the weights. You can, and should, safely perform as much as 30-45 minutes of cardio per day in order to get ripped. Make no mistake: cardiovascular exercise is the key to getting rid of body-fat. As well as burning up calories, it boosts your metabolism. Moderate to high intensity cardio is best for fat loss because it burns more calories and raises your post workout metabolism to a far greater degree than does low intensity cardio. Performing your cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach will make it even more effective.
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