Friday, July 12, 2024


Ever wonder why so many bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts spend so many hours doing cardio and what is the cardio benefits for bodybuilding,

I know some of you are not a believer in cardio but let us start by definition:

What is Cardio:

Any Exercise that will increase your heart rate and breathing rate and also strengthen your heart and your lungs

Cardio Machines:

Treadmill, Elliptical, stair master, rowing, indoor cycling

here are some interesting facts that cardio do:

  1. Improve cardiovascular (heart) health
  2. Improve metabolism
  3. Reduce blood sugar
  4. Increase endurance
  5. Increase fat loss
  6. Build lean muscle
  7. Increase appetite
  8. Improve mood and reduce stress
  9. Help sleep better
  10. Improve brain functions
  11. Improve immune system
  12. Improve cardiovascular (heart) health

Your healthy heart is the best gift from God and you have to maintain that and cardio is the best exercise for your heart,

by pumping blood for a certain period of time your heart is getting stronger,

lower your blood pressure and reduce the chances of blocked arteries by having a high flow of blood throughout the body and also reduces cholesterol (LDL)

1. Improve metabolism

By doing cardio and as you burn fat and increase calorie burning your whole metabolism fasten and improves

So you will feel your food intake is being absorbed better by the muscle weather protein, carbs or vitamins on the other hand you will burn more calories even while resting

2. Reduce blood sugar

As you are on a treadmill or a cross trainer your body is burning more glucose than usual so it reduces your blood sugar and improves insulin sensitivity

3. Increase endurance

When you do cardio, it improves the cardiorespiratory endurance, ever took a stair and felt our of breath that is because you do not have a cardiorespiratory endurance

So, if you continuously doing cardio after some time you can climb the stairs without running out of breath

4. Increase fat loss

As cardio burn more calories it will reduce your fats but there is a trick, if you started cardio you will burn sugar in the first 20 minutes so if you did stop after the 20 minutes you have burnt not fat at all,

so from 20 minutes and later you will start losing actual fat, please continue the blog as below we will discuss that in details

5. Build lean muscle

When your metabolism increases then the fat loss increases and also the lean muscle building increases, as you eat more your muscles fed more and hence it will recover faster

6. Increase appetite

The more you do cardio the more you eat as you get a higher metabolism your body will needs more nutrients that can be a very beneficial with a balanced diet

7. Improve mood and reduce stress

Some doctors and therapist add cardio as part of their treatments of depression as when you do cardio it increases your serotonin and slow the breakdown of brain cells which helps the brain to regulate mood

8. Help sleep better

Exercises that get your heart rate up as cardio improve sleep significantly

9. Improve brain functions

Cardio also increases blood flow to the brain and also it stimulates the growth of new cells connections.

Recent research from UCLA demonstrated that Cardio does increase the growth factors of the brain which improves overall brain functions

10. Improve immune system

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University examined active girls and therefore the impact of exercise on their immune systems.

a group exercised on a treadmill for half-hour and therefore the other did a burst intense activity over thirty seconds

the last cluster didn’t exercise

they have taken biopsy for all 3 teams and therefore the results showed that regular and moderate aerobics will increase bound antibodies within the blood referred to as immunoglobulins

That ultimately strengthens the system.

The inactive cluster of ladies saw no improvement in system perform and their adrenal cortical steroid levels were a lot of more than those within the active teams.

Cardio Confusion | T Nation


If you wonder how can you maximize fat loss whether you are a bodybuilder or not;

a guy or a girl young or old ;

fat loss is always a struggle which makes you change your doctor

or Also your trainer and even get fed-up from not losing enough

In order to maximize fat loss, you have to adjust three things in cardio (timing, duration and intensity)


In order to understand timing you have to know that when your body is in a fasting state your blood sugar is at minimum which means if you did any activity your body will just start burning fat,

But if you have already a meal then the muscles will have glycogen which means if you did cardio

the body will start burning sugar for the first 20 minutes so if you did 30 minutes you have just burnt 10 minutes of fat

So the best timing for fat loss is

  1. Morning fasting
  2. Post weights workout


As we explained in the timing if you need to maximize burning fat it has to be done on an empty stomach otherwise

post workout but if you started cardio in the middle of the day you have to count only after 20 minutes so we recommend to start small duration and gradually increase it to 1 hour per session

So if you did 40 minutes on an empty stomach you will burn the same fat as if you did 60 minutes on mid day


For fat loss you will need to have moderate intensity with a heart beat of 120 to 140,

As if you increased the heart rate you will be sacrificing some muscles to burn fat so we have given the optimal level for fat burning and have a look at below chart

If your target does not include any muscle building then for maximizing fat burning you can increase the intensity

Bodybuilders Competition prep:

As we all know one of the most crucial things before competition is to be super shredded and that does not come over night

It needs an arrangement it is like landing with an airplane nice and slow so in order to reach that condition you will have to do the following:

  1. Fasting cardio (1 hour) daily
  2. Second session cardio post workout (20 to 45 min)

That will maximize your fat burning and also will raise your metabolism to max which what you need in order to burn fat 247

Normally before competition your trainer will be monitoring your condition and will advise whether to stop cardio 3 days or sometimes 3 weeks

Before the show and that will make your body rest while you are on a super shredded condition however you have to know that everyone is different,

And every show is different and even the same person can respond differently every time so in order to monitor all the parameters you will have someone to follow up with

Skinny beginners:

You will be surprised if I told you that Cardio is the best option for someone skinny that want to pack on muscles,

As we mentioned cardio increases metabolism and appetite if you made a transformation program including 5 to 7 meals per day with loads of carb and protein and doing cardio you will be shocked with the results

e.g., I have trained a skinny guy in 2010 in Dubai he started when he weighs 121 lbs with a belly and 20% fat after we put him on the transformation program including cardio 5 days a week 45 minutes each ended up 165 lbs one year later naturally without any enhancements

The main problem with skinny guys that they do not have the appetite to eat and that is the ultimate solution


How does cardio help with bodybuilding?

Cardio helps with bodybuilding by improving cardiovascular health and endurance, aiding in fat loss for better muscle definition, enhancing recovery between weight training sessions, and potentially increasing muscle capillarization for improved nutrient delivery to muscles.

How important is cardio for muscle building?

Cardio is moderately important for muscle building; it enhances overall cardiovascular health and endurance, aids in fat loss for muscle definition, and improves recovery, but should be balanced with strength training to avoid muscle loss.

Mohammed Riad
Mohammed Riad
Mohammed Riad is not just any pro bodybuilder; he's a testament to discipline, dedication, and drive. His chiseled physique speaks volumes of his commitment to the sport, but there's more to Mohammed than meets the eye. Beyond the weights and the stage, he's an avid writer, seamlessly weaving his extensive knowledge of bodybuilding into compelling narratives. Mohammed's articles at The Body Builder, formerly know as Body Guider, bridge the gap between hardcore training techniques and the philosophy of bodybuilding, making them invaluable resources for both seasoned athletes and newcomers to the sport. His unique blend of physical prowess and intellectual depth has earned him respect both inside and outside the gym. Through his words and his physique, Mohammed Riad continues to inspire and enlighten the fitness community, proving that muscles and mind can, indeed, coexist powerfully.

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