It is true that cardiovascular exercise not only helps reduce weight but it also helps improve your overall health. Therefore, it is important to include cardio activity in your routine to protect your heart and circulatory system. However, it is important to educate yourself more about cardio activities, such as this question: “How many times a week should I do cardio?" There are minimum and maximum limits, and how much is enough for you usually depends on your current fitness level. Let's find out more about it.
How Many Times Should I Do Cardio a Week ?
Many people wonder: how many times a week should I do cardio? The simple answer is to do cardio at least twice a week. Studies show that it is enough to spend at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-intense activity every week. You can split that up considering the type of training you are doing, such as longer, steady-state sessions and shorter high-intensity-interval-training workout.
How to do It
You can try many options. It could be an outdoor jog, spinning, or the good old elliptical machine. Anything that increases your heart rate works fine, but you need to bear in mind that target heart rates are not the same for everyone. Generally, it is good to engage in a cardio activity that keeps your heart around 120-150 beats per minute for about 45-60 minutes.
Interval training is also quite effective, especially if you want to burn more calories while getting some good cardio workout. Start with 20 seconds of hard work and spend 40 seconds in active recovery. Repeat the cycle for 45-60 minutes. You can do anything from bike riding and running on treadmill to rowing indoor machine and more.
When Is the Best Time to Do Cardio?
It is hard to pinpoint any specific time that helps you make the best gains while doing a cardio workout. Your body is not the same as your friend who is doing the same cardio workout. Therefore, it is important to know what your body demands and how it functions. The best time to do cardio is when you feel like doing it. Just try to stick to that time and follow your cardio routine for a few weeks to see how it improves your overall fitness level. Here are a few guidelines that will keep you on track and maximize gains.
Should You Do Cardio First Thing in the Morning?
The simple answer is no. Cardio is good for your body but not when you are hungry. Most fitness trainers and experts are of the view that working out in the morning on an empty stomach can set you back and keep you from reaping maximum benefits. Understand that you do not burn any fat while doing cardio exercise, but you lose fat about a couple of hours after you have finished your workout.
Working out on an empty stomach means your body will start using muscle mass for energy, which is never a good thing. Moreover, you will not be able to perform optimally when you are low at energy in the morning. Therefore, it is better to eat something if you really want to do some cardio in the morning.
Should You Do Your Cardio Session Before Weight Training?
No, you should avoid it completely. Cardio workouts can be quite taxing and often leave you with little energy to pump iron in the gym. You are not going to put on any muscle if you do not start your main sets with full energy. However, if you are a woman and do not want to gain serious mass, you may consider doing some cardio workout before strength training.
For men, it is never a good idea to waste their time and energy on cardio workouts and have nothing to complete weight workouts with full power. You have to understand that you get the best results during the last 2-3 reps of any exercise, but you will be tired early if you have already spent most of your time doing cardio. You would not be able to push those last few grueling reps to get maximum results.
You may also want to avoid doing cardio before weightlifting because a hard cardio session would lower protein synthesis and increase protein breakdown. If your protein synthesis drops, it means your body is not at its best to build muscle. In this state, pumping iron and pushing yourself to the limits is not going to work.
How Do You Get Best Results?
The reason why you are wondering "how many times a week should I do cardio" is that you want to get a best result from your workout. Now we are going to tell you how to get best results. In order to maximize your cardio training, you should consider scheduling your sessions separate from strength training sessions. It means that if you spend first 4 days of week lifting weights, you should do some cardio training the other three days. It is also important to avoid scheduling cardio sessions close to your leg lifting schedule because running on tired legs would not deliver best results.
You will have good energy to perform both cardio and weightlifting workouts when you schedule them on separate days. If you do not want to assign separate days to cardio workouts, try doing some after completing your weightlifting session. You would not be able to do much, but you would still be getting some benefits of cardio.