How much cardio should I be doing? I get this question all the time from my clients. The answer to this question does vary a little depending on the individual but for the most part can be broken down quite simply. If the goal is to put on muscle a lot of cardio is not necessary. The body needs the surplus of calories to add muscle. However, with fat loss the body needs to be in a negative energy balance (more calories burned than consumed). So what is the magic time frame for cardio?
Research has shown that the average person needs a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio to release the body’s fat cells. For beginners I would suggest 30 minutes a day 3-4 days a week. If you are capable of doing more, 45 min a day 5-6 days a week will really help to shed the fat. Most bodybuilders do cardio 6-7 days a week to get ready for a competition. Some even do cardio as much as twice a day. This is a little extreme and would be hard for anyone to maintain. I have found that for most of my clients who want to lose fat that 45 min of cardio 5-6 times a week is key. My clients typically have hour sessions which consist of cardio and circuit weight training. Circuit training can produce as much if not more calories burned and is a great way to do cardio and lift weights at the same time.
Remember that everyone has a different starting point. Everyone is a beginner at some point in life. Never feel embarrassed about going to the gym because everyone has been that new person. It takes time so be patient. Set goals, improve, constantly move forward, and repeat this statement everyday, “I am more fit today than I was yesterday”.
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