When starting out in bodybuilding, you may think that you just have to "hit the weights" to achieve the maximum potential and peak performance. You think that total muscle exhaustion will render all the effects necessary and help build a strong lean physique. This could not be further from the truth.
The Cardio Basics
All exercise programs involve cardio exercise as its absolutely necessary to keep the oxygen pumping into the lungs and throughout the bloodstream, it will help your body burn fat with more efficiency by raising your metabolic temperature. It will releases endorphin the "workout high" that keeps your body up and at a peak level.
Different types of Cardio Exercise
Although many bodybuilders would rather lift than feel the impact of running or aerobics, there are alternatives that you can choose from. Granted running on a treadmill for 20 – 30 minutes before a workout will not be the most enjoyable exercise in your program. There are other ways to elevate your heart rate without running. Cycling has long proven to be a preference by most weight lifters. The stationary bike, which can be found in every gym, has been a favorite for most power lifters.
The reason people enjoy cycling over running is that their body weight tends to be heavier, thus running can put undo stress on the knees, ankles, joints as well as the hips. Running and jogging exercises are considered high-impact. Power walking is also another popular preference as it reduces the impact on the body. Individuals can use different degrees of incline to increase the resistance without the grinding results.
Different machines such as the Stairmaster or Stepper will do more than just increase oxygen it also helps tone and define certain parts of the body. The cross trainer machines will work out your arms, legs, and hips all at the same time giving you a complete range of muscle tone instead of running in place.
Duration Versus Distance
Every person's body acts differently than the next, thus making it difficult to say one set of rules applies to all athletes. Only do as much as you can tolerate. Not everyone likes cardio exercise and feel it is a waste of their work out time. They feel they would be serving their bodies better by spending more of their time on the free weights versus the stationary bike.
The rule of thumb usually is 10 – 15 minutes of cardio before every workout. Some individuals would rather spend an hour and a half on the Stairmaster alone. Do whatever works best for you. If you are getting the maximum results you are looking for on a treadmill or stepper stay with that. If you prefer to do a smaller amount of cardio exercise and would rather build muscle mass use your time according to your goals.
Some exercisers would rather achieve weight-loss and firm up their bodies using cardiovascular exercise that maintains their bodies target heart rate. Your target heart rate is calculated by taking the number 220 and minus your age and multiplying the result times .75, this percentage will tell you your target heart rate. Most treadmills and cycles have LCD heart monitors built into them, once you know your target number, when your body hits that level, it will be at its peak to burn fat, thus keeping your body leaner. The longer you stay on the machine once you hit your target the more fat you are burning.
Before starting any cardio exercise you will need to perform proper stretching exercises for full range of motion during the exercise.