Cardio has a very specific role to play in a bodybuilding development plan that will result in a muscular and well sculpted body. Before you accelerate a program of bulking up, it is important to trim down your body fat to under 10% so your muscle building program will begin with a lean base of muscle.
For a bodybuilder, weight loss is a goal and there is a lot of science behind us that we will bring to bear in developing a program for getting the body fat ratio down. Part of that regime of diet and exercise is an expanded role of cardio training to help eliminate fat quickly but in a healthy way.
There are a variety of ways to go about getting your cardio workout. It isn’t required that all cardio exercise happens on a treadmill. In fact, some experts have observed that while a treadmill workout will get your heart up, it may not be as intensive as other ways to achieve the same results. Plus treadmills can become tedious and boring which wears down your resolve to hit your cardio workout several times a week to get that workout.
The goal of any cardio is to get your heart rate up. To know what a good goal heart rate is, you need to know your resting heart rate. That is not the heart rate you sustain while you are asleep. It is your heart rate when going about the affairs of your day without working up a sweat. A good way to get a feel for your resting heart rate is to take a measurement several times a day for a few days in a row and then averaging the results. While you can take your own heart rate by simply counting your pulse and doing the math, it is much easier and more accurate to use a monitor both for taking your resting heart rate and to wear during exercise so you know if what you are doing is hitting your cardio goals.
The level of intensity you achieve during your cardio may vary and you may wish to diversify your exercises to keep things interesting and to keep your body guessing about what to expect. A slow cardio workout is one where you may use the same pace and then slowly increase it over a workout that may go for 20 minutes to an hour. Walking and jogging are good slow pace cardio exercises. These are also good options if you do other kinds of workouts that stress your legs and you need an exercise plan to go to on a “rest” day but still keeps your heart rate up.
The interval approach to cardio training is a different type of program but it is an excellent way to reach your cardio goals quickly. With interval training, you would exercise vigorously for shorter spurt and then do a reduced stress “resting” exercise to recover. A typical interval approach might mean you will sprint at peak demand for no more than two minutes and then power walk for ten minutes. This is an outstanding heart healthy style of training because it escalates your heart rate quickly and then brings it down only to repeat the cycle numerous times in one workout.
Also, keep in mind that running is not the only way you can get a good cardio workout. Sports such as racquetball, basketball or volleyball can give you and outstanding cardio exercise session while you have fun at the same time. If you like to use the weight room, you can develop an excellent circuit training routine in which high intensity weight training exercises provide that side benefit of a fine cardio exercise as well.
By learning what a large variety of cardio exercises there are, you can design different cardio plans each week to keep the variety fresh and to keep you interested in your long range cardio goals. Then when the weight begins to fall off, you will be inspired to keep hitting the gym and using your cardio programs to keep pushing yourself until you are at the weight and the shape that you want to be.