Cardio. Discomfort is mandatory.Jan Filip
Cardio is one of the most important things that you can do for your body. To be a champion in contemporary bodybuilding, one MUST do cardio.
As a competitive athlete, here is my opinion on some common cardio conundrums.
When do I do cardio?
Personally I believe cardio to be most effective when it is done first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Your body has not had any type of carbohydrate fuel for hours, since you were sleeping, so you will burn bodyfat more efficiently as fuel.
Avoid doing it before you lift. Weight training after cardio is not an optimal state, because the cardio will deplete your body of glycogen leaving you with less energy to lift weights. You need to save your energy for the important task at hand, which is to lift hard and heavy. Cardio after your workout is better.
What kind of cardio?
There are many types of cardio ranging from low to high intensity using a variety of methods. If you are overweight, cardio such as running and jogging can place too much stress on your hips, knees, and ankle joints. A good alternative for jogging is the stationary bike, which is practically universal in every gym in the world.
Personally, my chosen method of cardio is a solid powerwalk on an incline treadmill for 45 minutes. Alternatively on some days I will instead choose to perform in high intensity intervals, where I will take a gentle stroll to my local playing field and continue to sprint lengths of the field followed by intermittent walking- eg: one length sprinted and one length walked.
How much cardio?
I generally find that I achieve good results training 30-40 mins of cardio about 4 times a week when I am cutting bodyfat.
How much cardio you can do without losing muscle mass in something you will need to experiment with and determine on your own.
The intensity of the cardio is also subjective based on your heart rate and performance ability. However, discomfort is mandatory.
How do I motivate myself?
- Find your reason:
Everybody has one. What’s yours? Do you want to feel attractive or healthy Do you want to live a longer and healthier life? Do you want to fit into a new pair of jeans? Are preparing for a bodybuilding competition? What is it? Isolate it and focus on it. keep this reason on the forefront of your conscious and do not ignore the logic behind working out.
- Encourage yourself:
Do not threaten yourself with punishment (the image of being unfit and unattractive). Avoid flooding your mind with negativity. Instead of thinking about how you’ll look if you don’t exercise think about how good you’d look if you did. Think “I’d feel better if I exercised — so tomorrow I will.
- Don’t be hard on yourself:
This shit is hard!
When you stumble and fall, you have to understand that’s normal. It’s unimportant that you have a setback — it’s only important that you get back up. These little setbacks will happen, so when they do, relax and get back at it.
- Strength in numbers:
Surround yourself with motivating people. The world is full of people that want you to fail. Avoid them. Find a cardio partner and motivate each other.
- Use your favorite music:
Make a playlist of uptempo songs that make you want to move! It’s hard to sit still when listening to a fast-paced song. This will help you take your mind off the pain and push to new limits.
What Supplements do I take?
- Caffeine – Caffeine has been studied for its ability to improve aerobic performance, reduce fatigue, stimulate mental activity, induce lipolysis (the release of fat from a fat cell), and help prioritize fat as an energy source during exercise.
- L-Carnitine- is a naturally occurring amino acid that plays a vital role in the metabolism of fat.
- Taurine – plays a role in several metabolic processes like heart contraction and antioxidant activity. It is necessary for both cardiovascular function and skeletal muscle function.
- Electrolytes – are needed to maintain proper fluid balance and to optimize energy levels so you can function at your best. Electrolytes are important because they are what your cells (especially nerve, heart, and muscle cells) use to maintain voltages across their membranes and to carry electrical impulses to other cells.
What do I eat after cardio?
If you are in pure fat loss mode, it would be beneficial to have a low carb meal after cardio. Something along the lines of a protein shake with some essential fatty acids, such as Whey Protein isolate mixed with Omega 3 oil, or a chicken salad with vegetables will keep the fat burning process going whilst providing protein and essential fats to start rebuilding muscle.
So, that’s it. Don’t give up, keep on going, stay motivated.