How much cardio should you do when bodybuilding?
Cardiovascular exercises such as running, biking, swimming, rowing, cross country skiing, and elliptical training are important for bodybuilders who want to increase lean muscle mass. However, cardiovascular exercise alone cannot build large muscles, so a combination of resistance training and cardiovascular exercise is required to develop muscle mass. The amount of cardio that a person should perform depends on the goals they have set for themselves – bodybuilders will of course do less than runners, cyclists or swimmers, but more than shot putters or wrestlers for example. Your personal training programme will outline the exact amount of cardio you should be doing, based on your goals.
How fast can you build muscle?
There’s no easy answer to this question as it depends on the condition you are starting from, your genetics, your age, how often you train, your diet and your dedication. However, as a rule of thumb, when working with a personal trainer and by following the plan to the letter, and training 3 times per week, generally it take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to gain noticeable amounts of muscle mass. There are some exceptions though – some people will naturally gain muscle mass faster than others, and will see results much faster, whereas some people may take more than 6 months to increase in size. However, if you want to compete in bodybuilding events, then you need to train hard and eat right.
Is there a limit to natural bodybuilding?
Yes, everyone has a maximum size they can realistically and safely achieve, without drug or steroid use – which it goes without saying is extremely dangerous. For most men who are of average height (5 foot 10 in the UK), the realistic amount of lean body mass they can build is around 80kg. However, their maximum amount of lean body mass can only be around 90kg.
It is possible to build more muscle mass than your maximum potential, but not while maintaining low body fat percentages. A 5 foot 10 weightlifter who has 25 to 30% body fat can have more muscle mass than a 5 foot 10 bodybuilder with just 10% body fat. But if they dropped that body fat through diet, they would also lose some of that extra muscle mass.
At Nxtep, we will do everything we can to help you achieve your natural maximum size, but we will also be realistic with you and we will not allow you to push your body past healthy limits if we think you are in danger of doing so.