Cardio: do I need it, what type to do, when to perform it, and how much??
These are very common questions I get asked all the time from many different types of people and my first response is a question right back; “What is your goal?”
If you are not overweight and your diet is on track you really don’t need much cardio. Cardio is for playing catch up for the years of junk food you have put in your body that has now accumulated to fat or to play catch up for the bad weekend you had as you binged down on pizza, ice cream, and a few cocktails. Another reason you will want to do cardio is if it will enhance your performance for a sport you partake in. Long distance runners must practice long distance running! Paintball players do not need to practice long distance running.
Sprints, on the other hand, can be very helpful. Sprints will increase your speed and still help with losing body fat. Keep in mind cardio burns body fat fast but it will also tap into that hard earned muscle you have been working for. So too much cardio can also really be counter productive.
When is the best time to do cardio?
I always recommend you do one of these two times. 1: right after your weight training session. 2: split at least 6 hours from your weight training session in the same day or on rest days.
How long should your sessions be?
If it’s right after weight training you will probably only have enough gas in the tank for 20-40min. If it’s by itself, shoot for 30-60min. Any less than 30 min when you are fresh will really not be too beneficial since your body doesn’t start using much body fat as fuel until you are about 20 min. into your exercise. Some people perform cardio every day and I think that’s a little much unless you really do have that much body fat to lose. If you don’t have more than 5-10lb to lose I would stick to 2-3 days week.
• Long distance cardio should only be done if you are overweight by 15lb or more.
• Too much cardio can break down muscle tissue and be counter productive
• Performance cardio for paintball should be sprints
• You need to do your cardio right after weight training or at separate times
• 2-3 times a week for people 5-10lb overweight
• 5-7 times a week for people 15lb overweight or more
• Sessions should last 20-60min
• Remember, once you are as lean as you want to be, cardio should not be performed much as long as you are on track with your diet.