Is Cardio Important During Bulking?

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Should Cardio Be Avoided While Bulking?

Should Cardio Be Avoided While Bulking?

Cardiovascular exercise is the most effective way to burn fat and improve heart health and blood flow. However, many lifters skip cardio during their bulking phase to avoid reducing their calorie surplus

After a workout, your body does require that extra energy to build muscle. Too much long-distance running may encourage your body to rely on lean muscle mass for energy. So, during the cutting phase, what kind of cardio exercise is best? Choosing the right cardio exercises and performing them on time is critical to a successful clean bulking program. If you're looking for the best bulking cardio exercises, read on to learn which ones work best and why.

Bulking Clean vs. Bulking Dirty

Many weightlifters use their bulking phase as an excuse to eat whatever they want. Countless gallons of protein shakes, high-fat meats, and even processed fast food provide them with a caloric surplus.The theory behind this is that your body will use the extra calories to build muscle, but even if you train all day, you may not burn enough calories to compensate for an unhealthy diet.

Bulking with a lot of extra calories, regardless of where they come from, is known as dirty bulking, and it causes a lot of issues. In addition to increasing your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, all of these fatty and sugary foods will increase your body fat and make it difficult to lose weight.You can train your body to adapt to just about anything you put it through. It could take weeks to adjust to the type of restricted diet you need to cut if the calorie surplus is too extreme.

Clean bulking is a calorie surplus method with a lower calorie surplus. This will help you avoid the health risks associated with processed foods, and it will be much easier to adjust your diet if you still aren't gaining muscle or losing weight.

How Does Cardio Affect Muscle Mass?

Performing a cardio workout will not immediately negate your muscle gains. In fact, completely avoiding cardio can lead to useless muscle syndrome, where your muscles aren't used to sustained activity, and you become out of breath after only a few minutes of exercise.

However, if you overdo cardio and don't have enough energy, your body may convert lean muscle mass to make up the difference. However, this scenario usually only occurs when you're severely undernourished or aren't eating properly.

If you don't get enough sugar from your diet, glycogen from your muscles is used to make up for it. During their bulking phase, most people do not try a low-carb or no-carb diet. Those who lose muscle mass as a result of cardio workouts are more likely to be strength training the wrong muscles rather than burning too many calories.

How Many Calories Can Cardio Help You Burn?

Your starting weight and fitness level will determine how many calories you burn with cardio exercises. There is more to burn when you have more body fat, and the extra weight causes you to burn more calories.

Nonetheless, these rough Harvard figures show how many calories 30 minutes of various physical activity burns for a 160-pound person:

  • Walking at a speed of 4 miles per hour burns 167 calories.
  • Cross-country hiking: 223 calories
  • Running at a speed of 5 mph burns 298 calories.
  • 335 calories burned while running at 5.2 mph
  • 614 calories burned while running at 10 mph
  • 372 calories from jumping rope
  • Cycling at a speed of 16 to 19 mph burns 446 calories.

As you can see, even a half-hour of cardio burns a lot of calories. However, if you eat a nutritious and balanced diet, burning that many calories on a regular basis will have no effect on your muscle mass. Plus, if you use the right ingredients, you can recover those calories with a protein shake.

Cardio Exercises for Bulking and Cutting

Even if you're enjoying a caloric surplus during the bulking phase, you should be thinking about the upcoming cutting phase. If you focus solely on muscle growth in your training routine and ignore aerobic exercise, you'll almost certainly gain some unwanted body fat on top of that muscle gain. This will not only obscure new gains, but it will also make your cutting phase more difficult.

Because so much of their body composition is fat gained during the bulking phase, many people whose gains plateau over time lose significant amounts of muscle mass during their cutting phases.

When your body is suddenly exposed to a calorie deficit at the start of the cutting phase, it may experience a shock and switch into fat storage mode. While this is helpful in times of famine, it will sabotage your fitness goals. This problem can be avoided with regular cardio exercise.

Muscle Fibers: Slow- and Fast-Twitch

Cardio exercises have varying effects on different types of muscle fibers in your body. Long-twitch muscles and short-twitch muscles both exist. Long cardio sessions will focus on slow-twitch muscle fibers, whereas explosive energy will focus on fast-twitch muscle fibers.

Slow-twitch Type I muscle fibers are important for stabilizing and maintaining posture, even though they are used for slower-paced activities like walking, running, cycling, and swimming. Even though they aren't the primary muscles used in weightlifting, they play an important balancing role that aids strength training.

Because weightlifting targets fast-twitch fibers, bodybuilders have a higher percentage of them. However, if you push it too far, a lack of development in your slow-twitch fibers will compromise your endurance.

Best Cardio Exercises for Bulking: HIIT vs. LISS

Similarly to how different muscle fibers behave, different exercises provide different benefits. You don't want to spend too much time running or cycling if you want to develop a bodybuilder's physique. Rather, such cardio exercises should be used to help you balance out your weekly fitness routine.

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, entails shorter but higher-intensity workouts. LISS, on the other hand, is a steady-state low-intensity exercise. That you maintain a high level of activity for an extended period of time.

As long as you're not going out on four-hour runs, a little LISS won't hurt your gains. HIIT is more effective at increasing explosive energy and muscle mass. The important thing to remember is that neither of these exercises is designed to increase muscle mass, so they shouldn't be a big part of your bulking routine.

Cardiovascular Plyometrics

Adding an explosive energy element to your weight training is a much better way to get some cardio exercise. Plyometrics are high-intensity exercises that keep you moving. If you want to achieve muscle fatigue, plyometrics are the way to go.

Because they use so much weight, most weightlifting exercises are difficult to incorporate plyometric motion into. However, you can use plyometric bodyweight exercises to fill in your rest intervals and get some good cardio while allowing your larger lifting muscles to rest without completely cooling down.

Plyometrics also target small satellite muscles that are difficult to reach with other exercises. Plyometrics are a good idea if you want to improve your athletic performance while also increasing your muscle mass.

Cardio Exercise's Health Benefits

Cardio workouts have a number of benefits in addition to improving the function of your cardiovascular system. The following are a few of the most important:

  • Blood Pressure is Reduced Cardio helps to reduce the symptoms of high blood pressure by getting your heart pumping and opening up your blood vessels. It's easier for your heart to pump blood around the body once it's strengthened by cardio exercises.
  • Insulin sensitivity is increased. After a workout, your muscles' glycogen stores are depleted, which is a likely cause of the increase in insulin sensitivity that can last up to 16 hours. As a result of the easier movement of insulin, your body will be able to maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
  • Immune System Strengthening Immunoglobulins are antibodies that your body produces in response to physical activity. These proteins fight pathogens in the bloodstream that might otherwise make you sick.
  • Helps You Sleep More Soundly Running and other cardio workouts raise your body temperature and release endorphins, both of which are thought to help people fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply throughout the night. Although the exact mechanism has yet to be discovered, it is clear that aerobic exercise exhausts you and improves the quality of your sleep.
  • Improves Mood Cardio exercise improves mood in many people, owing to the fact that it helps you sleep better. Many people refer to this phenomenon as a "runner's high" because of the endorphins it releases.

How Much Cardio Should You Do to Bulk Up?

Too much cardio, particularly high-intensity cardio, can cause you to burn too many calories and sabotage your gains. The elliptical and swimming pool, while beneficial to your cardiovascular health, are overkill during your bulk period.

Low-intensity cardio, such as walking, is recommended. Depending on your body type, 10,000 steps per day may be sufficient. According to government guidelines, you should aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day during your bulking phase.

For Bulking, Keep Track of Your Calorie Intake

The most difficult aspect of bulking is getting into the right routine. If you notice that you are gaining weight, your calorie intake is probably too high. If you lose weight, the opposite is most likely true. The most important aspect of bulking is to provide your body with enough energy to allow for muscle growth. Bulking differs from regular muscle building in this way.

Keep in mind that you should bulk cleanly with a small calorie surplus. It's possible you've seen bodybuilders chowing down on six or seven chicken breasts per day, but they're almost certainly professionals. If you bulk dirty, you may experience weight gain that takes months to reverse.

It's always easier to recoup calories after a workout with a post-workout shake than it is to burn calories after overeating. Many people find it difficult to eat all of the food they require during a bulking phase, so if you're just getting started, take it slowly.

Macronutrients to Help You Bulk Up

For bulking, your body still requires all of the same nutrients. Many people enjoy being able to consume more carbohydrates and fats, but make sure you do so in a way that is healthy and does not result in excessive weight gain.

Because you'll need protein to build muscles, it's a no-brainer. Consume a variety of foods, such as fish, poultry, and legumes. Red meat is easier to incorporate into your bulking diet, but don't overdo it and stick to lean cuts. Most people develop a lifelong aversion to carbohydrates as a result of dieting during a cutting phase, but they're essential at all stages of your fitness journey because your muscles rely on them for energy. Whole grains are a better source of carbohydrates than processed foods or fast food.

Avocados, olive oil, chia seeds, cheese, whole eggs, and dark chocolate are all high in healthy fats and make excellent additions to a post-workout protein shake. Just keep in mind that your carbohydrate sources, proteins, and healthy fats should all be in balance.

What does it mean to be a hardgainer?

A hardgainer is a person who has a difficult time gaining additional muscle mass. Adding muscle mass can be difficult for a variety of reasons, but here are a few of the most common:

  • Bulking Dirty Overeating unhealthy foods can result in fat gain, which hides the muscle you've worked so hard to achieve. It can also make it more difficult to complete the strength training exercises necessary to gain muscle.
  • Beginners, in particular, have a difficult time eating enough to maintain a calorie surplus. Even if you find it easy to eat a 2,000 calorie cheeseburger, you might not feel the same way about a baked chicken breast if you eat whole foods and exercise.
  • Taking the Power Moves for Granted While cardio should not be avoided when bulking, you should also remember that some classic strength-training moves should not be overlooked. Exercises such as deadlifts, bench presses, squats, rows, and overhead presses are all necessary to develop muscle strength.
  • Not constructing the proper form Even if you're doing the right exercises, performing them incorrectly could prevent your body from receiving the full amount of stress it requires to build muscle. Make sure you know how to perform important moves like squats in their entirety and that your body is flexible enough to do so.

Is it possible to lose weight while bulking?

The bulking diet isn't really meant to help you lose weight. In other words, you can't have a calorie deficit while still having enough energy to build muscle. The best thing you can do during your bulking phase is to avoid gaining too much fat in the first place. While cardio can help, the most effective way to keep fat off during a bulk is to avoid eating too many fatty or sugary foods.

This will also make the inevitable cutting process a lot easier and quicker. Many people never get used to the concept of maintenance and continue to switch from bulking to cutting. You can maintain a great physique without having to constantly alternate between cutting and bulking if you don't go too crazy during a bulk.


When you're bulking up, moderate amounts of low-intensity cardio are the best way to keep your body in working order and avoid gaining too much fat. The most important thing to remember when bulking cleanly is to maintain a modest calorie surplus of about 500 calories per day, with the majority of those calories coming from whole foods rather than processed foods.

Even those who are considered hardgainers will most likely gain muscle mass using this method. You should not believe the myth that cardio will sabotage your gains; however, the right type of cardio in the right amount will help you achieve your bulking goals faster and healthier. Regularly doing half an hour of low-intensity cardio, such as walking, is the best way to improve your cardiovascular health without burning so many calories that you can't build muscle.

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