Very interesting question and also very common among lifters. Most people do not like to do cardio but they also know that it is vital when trying to lose weight (or get shredded for example). Therefore the answer to that question is deeper than yes or no.
I always like to remind everyone that defining your goals is the most important thing while starting exercising. The first article I wrote on the subject for this website is easy and simple but yet very important.
Knowing your objective should be your first priority when exercising not only because it will give you a clear picture of where you wanna be but it will help to narrow down your answers/methods to get there.
This last paragraph is a great springboard for today’s question because doing or not doing cardio depends on your goal.
If your priority is to gain muscle/mass then cardio is not necessary but… yes because there is always a but – only if you don’t care about putting some fat during the process. When I was younger, I used to bulk without doing any cardio at all. It is a great way to quickly add some mass but also some fat. You can see some of my bulking pictures when I reached 105kgs few years ago.
Some people will call it fat, some people will call it chubby while others will only say massive.
To be honest, it doesn’t really matter how you would describe those pictures as I was happy with the results. My goal at that time was to put as much mass as I could. Clean eating was a big issue for me. I remember telling my brother that I loved eating too much to restrict myself.
As a French, I come from a country where you eat bread and cheese every day and I just LOVE IT. So it was hard to go easy on the food I liked at that time. But as I said earlier, I was happy with the results and this was the most important.
Today, I prefer the slow and steady approach while bulking. I learned how to restrict myself but also enjoy the food I like. It is a mid-approach between eating everything I see and not eating anything I’d like. it shows you how you can change over the years.
That’s why I’d like to repeat again that it is all about you, your feeling and your goal. If you’d like to gain mass and you don’t really care on how much fat you add to the process then forget about cardio especially if you HATE running and all.
But if you prefer the clean bulking diet and do things slowly without adding too much fat – then cardio is definitely recommended. How much cardio? I cannot answer that question for you as each individual is unique. We all have different metabolism and that is why it is very important that you listen to your body.
Try different things until you find the right balance. For example, if you are struggling to add mass then reduce your cardio sessions while if you are gaining too much fat, you can increase your cardio sessions (as you can reduce your calorie intake).
When trying to get shredded, cardio can be a valuable asset but keep in mind that it is not NECESSARY to do any cardio session to lose weight but highly recommended.
In fact, you can definitely lose weight by cutting down your calorie intake but it might take longer. Cardio will burn some more calories which can help to go the extra mile while cutting.
As I explained earlier, the number of sessions you should do depends on your goals and metabolism. You will know better than anyone else on how much you need to reach your goal.
Try different options and see how it goes. If you are losing weight too fast then reduce your cardio sessions and if you are struggling to lose weight you can add an extra session.
Treat your body like an experience. Every time you read something like a miracle method to gain muscle or to look shredded, always put the theory to the test. You are the best sample. The theory can be lies as it can be true but doesn’t work with you. So always try things out by yourself until you find the method that works best with your body.
Shall I do cardio is not a yes or no question. There are many parameters to take into account to know if you should do cardio or not.
Your first priority to answer that question is to know your goal. Whether you want to gain or lose weight will already shape part of the answer. Cardio is not a must if you try to gain mass quickly or lose weight slowly but if you want a slow bulking and fast shredding process then cardio can be a great ally.
The number of sessions you should add to you training is variable regarding your expected results and metabolism. Listen to your body is vital as no one can do it for you. For example if you are losing weight too fast then reduce your cardio sessions.
I’d like to finish this article on this idea. If you absolutely hate cardio then simply don’t do it. I personally think that there is nothing worse than doing something we don’t enjoy. Having fun and enjoying what we are doing should be the core of anything we do (like work) – it would make life easier for so many people.
But don’t have a narrow view on a question, think broader. Let me explain: if you hate doing cardio but you know that it is working very well for you and you are trying to finish first at a competition and this is your goal and source of motivation then you should add some cardio to your routine. It is definitely some bearable pain to a greater pleasure later on hence the think broader.
Keep also in mind that cardio is never a bad thing as you mainly work your heart. Having more endurance can be a huge benefit while bodybuilding.
Again, the answer is all yours. Weight the pros and cons and make up your mind. Whatever you choose, make sure you are having fun!