Whether you like it or not, and many people don't, cardio training is an important part of any workout routine. Cardio can definitely be tough, especially when you're just getting started, and it lacks the glamour of strength training. That doesn't mean it isn't just as important for your health, however. You do need cardio training in your workout routine, but how often should you be doing it, and when is the best time?
First, recognize that cardio isn't just going outside and running around in circles. You should take the same care in planning your cardio workout as you do in planning your lifting schedule. You wouldn't go to the gym and slap as much weight on the bench as possible right away, so don't do the same thing with your cardio workouts. Do your research and figure out a plan to put in place for your cardio workouts, just as you would with any other aspect of your health.
If you're wondering when the best time of day for cardio is, listen to what your body is telling you. If you can barely open your eyes in the morning, let alone feel up for a run, you might just not be a morning person, and forcing yourself to workout as soon as you get up is probably not going to go well. The time of day really isn't that important, but if you are going to run in the morning, don't do it on an empty stomach. Your body hasn't gotten any fuel for eight hours, so you have nothing to keep you going during your morning workout. You might think this will burn fat, but in reality your body will be looking to get energy from your muscles. So running in the morning is not a great idea if you're looking to gain muscle mass.
Cardio before your weightlifting is also a big no-no. Running depletes your glycogen, which is your muscles' source of energy. Without that energy, you just aren't going to have the strength to push through the last few reps that will help stimulate muscle growth. This leads to a much less effective workout for building muscle mass. To be clear, in this situation the lifting is coming right after the cardio, without time to rest and replenish. Running earlier in the day doesn't mean you can't lift that same day, just get rest and proper nutrition before you begin your weightlifting.
So when is the best time for cardio? If you are lifting and running on the same day, your cardio should come after your weightlifting, but even then you should give your body some time to rest. The best thing to do is schedule your cardio and weightlifting on different days. If you lift three days a week, then run on three non-lifting days.
With a full schedule of weightlifting and cardio, you'll need to make sure you're getting the proper nutrition for recovery and muscle building. At Promax, we have great tasting and nutrient packed protein bars to satisfy your recovery needs.