Cardio, also known as aerobics, is any exercise that gets your heart pumping faster and you breathing harder. Cardio includes everything from using an exercise bike in the gym (boring to me), having sex (much better), running a marathon, and playing tennis. Cardio is important for health including for bodybuilders.
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Cardio is not only healthy, but it helps keeps fat levels down as it burns calories. For ectomorphs, naturally thin people, it is important not to do too much cardio as it can put the body easily into a catabolic (the opposite of anabolic or muscle building) state. Ectos, if serious about building a great physique, better not run marathons for example (great marathoners, while impressive, carry little muscle and look like shit to us!).
For a mesomorph, some moderate cardio is good. They have little trouble with fat accumulation, but serious endurance sports are not recommended. For an endomorph (like me, Zeke), someone who easily builds muscle and stores a lot of fat, a lot of cardio is a good thing. It’s fighting the fat that matters most in building a great body!
A mesomorph can literally go as far as running ½ marathons without any negative effect. Now if you are a competitive bodybuilder, it’ll be a different story, but Zeke has found that training for and running an occasional (once a year) ½ marathon leaves him as muscular as ever but far more defined due to lower fat content.
Running is actually a great exercise for bodybuilders, when done in moderation. It is high impact which leads to increased recovery requirements, but it is also very efficient. A 20 minute run is as good as an hour on a bike. One problem with running is that some people find it addictive.
Basically the problem is that people that benefit the most from cardio dislike it the most! We’ll admit, the treadmill, exercise bike, and similar get very boring very quickly! So the question is, what kind of cardio is actually enjoyable? Well, it depends, but here are some ideas:
downhill or cross country is superb. It can be expensive, it can be inconvenient to do a lot, but it’s great. Zeke hits the slopes a good 15-20 times a year minimum.
biking is a great cardio exercise and lots of fun. We don’t do much mountain biking, although it rocks, but do a lot of road biking. We are not serious about it, we just do it for fun. Zeke, once again, does the odd century (100 mile ride), and just training for it usually results in dropping quite a bit of body fat.
not just hiking, but simply walking is great. We like hiking in the summer months, although some folks do it all winter.
whether pickup basketball games, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, or more, there is probably a group of adults that play near you.
Tennis, racketball, squash, etc: another great way to work up a sweat. We just started playing squash, and suck really big time, but it’s a great workout