Don’t Kill Your Gains: Do Cardio Correctly

Cardiovascular workouts come with wide-ranging benefits that are appealing to those who want to be fit and healthy.

These workouts are especially for those who want to lose weight because cardio exercises help burn more calories as compared to other types of exercises.

Meanwhile, many people in the weight room believe that cardio can ruin hard-earned muscle gains.

For this reason, most bodybuilders and individuals who want to have a muscular body avoid doing cardio exercises.

Does cardio kill gains?

No, so long as you do it the right way. While doing particular cardiovascular exercises improperly could reduce muscle mass, cardio workouts like cycling, rowing, and swimming won’t affect your gains at all.

In fact, spending 30 minutes doing these cardiovascular exercises can benefit your body.

In this article, I will give you tips to prevent cardio from blocking your muscle gain.

Aside from that, I included some of the cardio exercises that are best for people who want to gain more muscle mass.

Tips to Prevent Cardio From Stopping Muscle Gain

The secret to achieving optimum overall health is cardiovascular fitness.

For those people who want to attain it, aerobic exercise or cardiovascular workout is the best option.

Given that some cardio may reduce the muscles that you have worked hard for, it is important to know how to carry out such exercises in a way that won’t compromise your gains.

Here are some of the things you need to know to prevent cardio from stopping your muscle gains:

Rest at Least 12 Hours Before Your Next Workout

One of the best ways to keep your muscle gain even when doing cardio workouts is to take a 12-hour break from cardio when building up your muscles and vice versa.

Doing this will allow you to strengthen your heart and body while gaining the muscle mass you desire.

Setting the two activities on separate days won’t drain much of your energy.

Aside from that, it will allow you to work out to the fullest because you won’t have to reserve some of your energy for the other.

Taking breaks will also help your body adapt to every activity before pursuing another.

Before every workout, your body can recharge, leading to better performance.

Fuel Your Body With the Right Food

Aside from resting between workouts, your body needs proper nutrition to meet the level of energy required for cardio and bodybuilding.

Make sure to consume more protein, fat, and carbohydrates from the healthiest sources possible.

Fat and carbs are the best sources of energy that the body needs to produce ATP or adenosine triphosphate.

It is a substance that nurtures the working muscles in the body.

Compared to how the body turns fats and carbohydrates into ATP, protein is harder to convert.

The body will always prioritize the easier ones as long as they are available. For this reason, make sure to do cardio for only 30 minutes.

Overdoing it may kill your gain, especially when your body does not have fat and carbohydrates to burn.

Carbohydrates Are Vital

The duration of your exercise determines how many carbohydrates you need.

During physical activity, carbohydrates are partially transformed into glycogen, which is deposited in the muscles to help out.

On the other hand, the ISSN, or International Society Of Sports Nutrition, recommends about 5 to 12 grams of carbohydrates per every kilogram of body weight per day.

If you do high-intensity exercise moderately for 12 hours weekly, choose to do the lower and middle part of the recommended amount.

Best Cardio Exercises to Improve Gain

Most people believe that cardio exercises do not encourage muscle building.

However, recent research disproves that idea. It is said that cardio helps with muscle growth and improves muscle function.

Aside from that, it aids in establishing a higher level of overall fitness that can lessen the risk of injury during workouts.

Here are some of the best cardiovascular exercises that can help you maintain a healthy body while improving muscle mass.

Moderate-Intensity Cardio

Among the cardio exercises that work for people who are into muscle building are moderate-intensity cardio workouts like swimming and jogging.

These activities require more performance and energy recovery, making them great options for those who want to achieve a leaner body.

Start by aiming for at least 150 minutes of jogging or swimming while working on gaining muscle mass.

You may also choose other intensities of cardio, which I will be introducing in a short while.

Vigorous-Intensity Cardio

As its name suggests, vigorous-intensity exercise requires a huge amount of effort.

When you are performing workouts classified under this type of cardio, you can experience a higher heart rate as well as faster breathing.

Some of the most popular examples of vigorous-intensity cardio include:

  • Tennis
  • Jumping rope
  • Hiking
  • Aerobic dancing
  • Swimming laps
  • Race walking
  • Running

As recommended by the CDC, or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, spending 75 minutes on vigorous-intensity cardio is also ideal for those people who want to maintain their muscle mass.

It is equal to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercises. If you want to achieve a healthier physique faster, vigorous-intensity cardio is best for you.

Moderate-intensity cardio is best for those who prefer easier workouts as well as those who have more time.

High-Intensity Cardio

Among the varying levels of exercise intensities, HIIT or High-Intensity Training is the best for building muscles.

This kind of cardio training triggers the growth of muscle and requires mostly power, unlike other exercises.

The body utilizes up to 80 percent of muscle fibers when performing high-intensity cardio.

Moderate-intensity workouts like jogging require only 20 to 40 percent.


Cardiovascular exercises do not kill gains. If done right, they are beneficial even for those who want to achieve a body with more muscles.

Also, do not stop your daily cardio routine even when you are working to achieve bigger muscles.

Instead of reducing gains, cardio workouts can support your muscles in growing and functioning better.

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