For so long, weightlifters or bulkers were weary of doing cardiovascular exercises alongside resistance training because it was often said, cardio floors their gains. In short, if you swim, cycle or jog, your time with dead lifts and the like will go to waste. As such, it was always known that the two workouts could never be combined.
However, Josiah Bugeza, a fitness trainer and ardent bulker shares how the two can be done concurrently and the benefits thereof:
How does one bulk up or gain muscle mass?
Bugeza says most people who want to bulk up want to see a bigger version of them.
“That does not mean that you eat a lot of food but watch how many calories you take in per day and thereafter be able to know whether you are on a maintenance or deficit calorie level. Your metabolism rate will also determine how many calories or calorie surplus you may need,” he says.
“For example, on the basis of your metabolism and calorie level, you might have to increase their intake from 2500 to 3,000 calories as you watch whether there is an increase in body weight or not. With that, you keep on adjusting; if you are on the low side, you can choose to keep increasing by 100 calories per week until you get to your desired muscle mass.”
Bugeza adds that it gets easier if one establishes their daily intake by getting to know their weekly calorie intake and then divide by seven.
“That way, you will easily monitor your weight, understand your level and see your progress,” he advises.
Incorporating cardio with bulking
When one is doing cardio, Steven Bisaso, a fitness trainer says you use the oxidative calorie system, which burns lots of fat.
“On the other hand, when doing resistance training which helps in building muscle mass, you use the Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) system to do the exercise. As such the results you get depend on the energy system you use,” he says.
ATP is the way your body uses biochemicals to store and use energy.
Bisaso adds that one doing cardio burns more calories than when doing resistance training or lifting.
Therefore, a regular person doing cardio may burn 550-800 calories per hour while one doing resistance training will burn 250-300 calories per hour. “It is also important to remember that intensity and duration must be the same in both instances. Therefore, in the case of cardio, muscle mass reduces which also affects the metabolism rate (it increases hence cutting on stored calories). When muscle mass is lost, it leads to a decrease in performance because the less muscle tissue you have, the less of an activity you can do. That is also because there is less energy and endurance; glycogen (energy source) is stored in the muscle tissue so the less tissue, the less space for storing glycogen,” he explains.
Bugeza adds that one doing resistance training needs to avail their body with sufficient recovery time.
“When doing weight lifting, it is imperative to have a day or two off so the muscles rest as well as repair. So if you are to do both cardio and resistance training, the rest days are ideal for cardio so that rather than having an inactive rest time, you make it active yet less strenuous,” he advises.
However, he says some choose to do both workouts on the same day.
“That would call for starting the workout with weight lifting or resistance training because lots of energy and focus needed if you are is to rightly carry out the technique needed to hit the desired muscle group. That way you can train on your prime strength; ability to work at high intensity thus better results. Thereafter, you will do the cardio workout which is always physically and mentally draining thus not ideal to begin the session,” Bugeza shares.
Benefits of the combination
It relieves the body of stress accumulated from bulking.
It promotes good blood circulation around the body- every body part can receive blood well thus improved general body health.
It also helps to remove fat from areas where it is not wanted such as the abdominals.
“When bulking up, you do not choose where the fat should be stored. Therefore, when you add cardio, it helps to get rid of the unnecessary fat,” he says.
It lowers cholesterol levels because when there is a lot of fat, it blocks the blood vessels.
It also helps to improve endurance as the heartbeat increases thus ability for one to perform at higher levels and higher intensity. It also increases one’s agility because they can move their body in various positions in a fast and accurate manner.