Should You Do Cardio Or Not To Do Cardio
Cardio and high intensity training. Believe it or not a somewhat controversial subject in HIT circles through the years. Both Art Jones and Mike Mentzer have spoken for and against it at various times. Current experts on HIT have given radically different views on the subject as well. So what follows is both a middle of the road approach to cardio as well as my own opinion based on personal experience and the experience of the many people I’ve trained with great results.
Ideas on Cardio and HIT
* Pass on the Cardio if Already Lean. First things first. We are not endurance athletes we are body builders, for the most part, striving to put on quality lean muscle. What this means is that we need to focus on our primary goal of mass building and reject the ridiculous habits of mainstream body builders (most of whom only get truly big while on anabolics or if they possess seriously good genetic gifts!). One of these foolish habits is doing cardio while already lean and trying to bulk up. Not even professional body builders attempt to do this. I’ve found ten percent body fat a nice number to avoid any cardio atall while under, if getting bigger is a goal.
* Do the Minimum Amount of Cardio Possible. If we do need to add cardio to our high intensity training sessions we need to do so in a way that doesn’t drive us into over training. Six days of hour long step master cardio ala Muscle and Fitness programs will melt away our hard earned muscle. Rest days need to be free of high intensity cardio or else they aren’t rest days. Remember adequate recovery is a pillar of getting the most out of HIT.
* Do Your Cardio after your HIT. Higher intensity cardio, should you need or want it, before your HIT sessions is a bad idea that can make your training intensity suffer. Schedule your cardio after HIT or, better yet, follow the low impact “Dorian” / HIT cardio method in our next tip.
* Follow the Example of Dorian Yates. Famously, Dorian Yates packed on a level of muscle unseen in body building in the 1990’s following a full on HIT program. He also became lean enough to secure multiple Mr. Olympias. His cardio solution? Waking up a bit earlier in the morning and taking a brisk low impact walk four days a week before breakfast. When combined with HIT in the gym, a clean diet and fat burning supplementation this was more than enough to get Dorian ripped. Now we probably don’t possess Dorian’s one in a million genetics, but I’ve used the same plan and leaned out. So have the majority of my training clientele while following HIT. This is accomplished without losing any of our lean muscle, over training or shackling us to a treadmill at the gym. Try it and see what you think!
Your approach to cardio is an area where your genetics, your body weight and attitudes toward training will play a huge role in what direction you choose to take. None will disqualify you as a HIT enthusiast. Feel free to experiment until you find what works best for you!