After this article, you should know if cardio is for you so now it is time to decide WHEN you should do it.
It seems like as soon as you answered one question, another one is popping out.
If some people use the scientific studies card to back up their argument, the answer is not that obvious. There are different factors to take into consideration to know when you should include your cardio session.
Oh yes!!! I think you are reading this argument in all my articles but this is the very reason why we are doing things (like bodybuilding). It’s very rare that we perform a task for no reason whatsoever, there is always a goal. For example you can be working to financially provide for your family as you can work only to acquire new skills.
As you can see, goal is what strives human to do something.
If your goal is to gain mass or gain strength, then you should do your cardio session at the end of your workout or when you are not exercising.
Why? Because training to gain strength or add mass requires a lot of energy which in fact heavily involves your nervous system. I am sure that you’ve all experienced this feeling of being exhausted after a very intense deadlift session. The amount of energy you need to provide to lift those heavy weights is terribly taxing on your nervous system.
You must be fresh if you want to perform your best but if you’ve done some cardio before, there is a high risk that you’ll already be tired before starting your workout.
During a mass gain process, cardio is just a tool to minimize fat gains, that’s why you should include the cardio session at the end of your workout.
It would be even better if you could workout one day and do your cardio another day or train in the morning and do your cardio in the afternoon.
But if your goal is to gain endurance, lose fat or get shredded, then cardio can be at the beginning of your session or early in the morning. By starting your cardio first, you’ll have more energy to get a better endurance and perform better (running longer or faster) which will help you to achieve the goals I mentioned above.
I definitely understand especially if you are working a classic 9 – 5 job and have a family. I know a guy who could only do his cardio in the morning as he was too busy the rest of the day.
Same for me, I would prefer to add my cardio session right after my workout but I only have around 1h to train. It is already tight to fit my daily program so you can imagine about adding some cardio… That is why I am running after work when I come back home.
However, if you absolutely want to add a cardio session during your workout and only have 1h to make it, then reduce your training session to accommodate those 5 to 15min cardio you wanna do.
It’s like colors – some people prefer blue over red and vice-versa. There is no better or worse just a preference that sometimes you cannot explain. It is the same when it comes to cardio. Some people will prefer to run in the morning before going to work whereas other people will prefer to run after work to evacuate the stress.
Also, as we all have a different metabolism, our body won’t react the same. Maybe you are more efficient when you run in the morning while you neighbor has a better feeling when he runs after his workout.
Make sure to listen to your body to see what works best for you.
There is no rule about ‘When you should do your cardio’. Many parameters will shape the answer.
Your goal, schedule and preferences can totally modify your approach of a cardio session.
If you are beefing up, it is generally advised to do your cardio when:
• you are not working out or
• at the end of your session
But if you are trying to lose weight or get shredded, cardio is recommended:
• first thing in the morning or
• before your session.
Those recommendations are guidelines to maximize your potential and not holy rules to blindly follow.
Never let anyone rule your program or your life. Take everything into consideration and answer the question yourself. We can help you decide but no one can know better than you.