Bulking is the opposite of calorie deficit. It is a muscle-building phase. It means you are getting more calories intentionally via eating than your body needs. Now your question may be, should I do cardio while bulking? Experts believe that cardio is good for your overall health. But a little bit of cardio is good for you while bulking. medium to high cardio you should avoid because cardio decreases muscle growth.
However, intelligently-programmed cardio while bulking can give you a significant boost in performance, body composition, and overall health. You should certainly integrate cardio into your workouts in bulk.
Table of Contents
What Is Bulking?
Bulking is a muscle-gaining period when you intentionally consume more calories than your body needs. It is contrary to the calorie deficit. Yet, when you are bulking, the extra calories give your body the essential fuel to boost your muscle growth and strength.
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6 Key Reasons to Do Cardio While Bulking
There are some incredible health benefits of doing cardio while bulking. Cardio helps you to improve the work capacity of your body. It also improves your body composition and your overall health. Here we have put together some of the main reasons why you should do cardio while bulking. Check it out below:
1. Cardio Is Good for Your Heart, Lungs, and Longevity
Cardio exercises challenge your lungs to supply enough oxygen, and your heart to pump enough blood through your body. If your lungs and heart aren’t up to the job, you’ll feel it pretty quickly. With just a little cardio training, you’ll be able to dramatically enhance their functionality which will improve your longevity and overall health.
2. It Improves Your Patience and Work Capacity
Doing cardio while bulking improves the muscle groups of your body. It also enhances your overall conditioning and steadiness. But you have to do routine-based and intelligently-programmed cardio in your bulking phase and you’ll find great results.
3. It Reduces Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
Cardio exercise can be beneficial for you if you are interested in adding muscle mass in an optimal way. It reduces cholesterol and blood pressure in muscles helping transport essential nutrients and removing metabolic by-products that contribute to muscle soreness.
4. Cardio Improves Nutrient Partitioning
Cardio workouts help you to improve your nutrient partitioning while you’re bulking. That means where the calories end up going when you are in a caloric deficit, as well as where they come from when you are in a caloric deficit (lean muscle mass or body fat).
5. Helps You Sleep Better
It is a serious problem if you’re not getting enough sleep, especially if your goal is building muscle mass. But you should know that just 30 minutes session of cardio workout is enough for a good sleep. It may help you to fall asleep faster and sleep longer in total.
Moreover, many studies show that mild aerobic exercises, such as walking, jogging, cycling, etc help you to reduce your anxiety and improve sleep. So, if you’re struggling with getting quality sleep, consider adding cardio to your routine while bulking.
6. It Increases Endurance and Work Capacity
Doing cardio during the bulking period increases your level of conditioning which increases your endurance and your overall work capacity. It is one of the key reasons to do cardio while bulking. To get the best results, you have to do a routine-based cardio workout in your bulking phase.
How Much Cardio Should I Do While Bulking
To increase your muscle mass in the bulking stage, you have to increase your caloric intake to deliver your body with the raw materials for muscle growth in your body. But keep in mind, that this can lead to fat gain rather than muscle gain for some people. Especially if their calorie intake is too high.
However, a reasonable amount of cardio exercise will help you stay lean while you are bulking. It’s good for your health. So, you can add a few cardio sessions per week.
But remember that if you’re a beginner weightlifter and you have problems putting on muscle mass. In that case, you can refrain from cardio for the first couple of months of your training program.
But a special suggestion for you is, that doing too much high-intensity cardio while bulking can interrupt your goals.
Types of Food Should I Consume During Bulking
Here we will focus more on the best foods for clean bulking and regular bulking. These two forms of bulking are healthy and more suggested than the dirty bulking approach. But you have to know that foods are one of the great consider things in your bulking period.
There are 3 types of foods that you should consume while you’re regular bulking or clean bulking. Here are the 3 types of foods. Check it up below:
- Protein Foods
- Fats and Oils
- Carbohydrates Foods
1. Best Protein Foods for Bulking
Protein is a macronutrient element that is important to building muscle mass. It is generally found in animal products. Here are some protein foods are given below that help you in your bulking period.
- Eggs: Eggs commonly contain all the essential amino acids. Amino acids build the blocks of muscle in your body. Eggs can also be smoothly digested, utilized, and absorbed by your body.
- Beef: Beef contains many muscle-building elements. It is essential to go for lean cuts. Even if beef is known for growing the risk of various cardiovascular conditions due to its saturated fat levels. So, you should try to eat lean beef.
- Beans: Beans are plant protein sources. They are good for your heart because they have no cholesterol. They have also many nutrients such as zinc, iron, folate, potassium, etc.
- Seafood: Seafood is a great source of protein. They are also low in fat. So, they are good for your heart.
- Chicken: Chicken is a great source of protein. You should know that just 3 ounces of chicken can provide you with up to 26 grams of protein.
- Yogurt, Milk, and Cheese: Dairy products are good sources of proteins. That is not all, dairy products hold calcium and vitamin D which helps with the building of strong bones and teeth. Strong bones make working out more uncomplicated.
2. Best Fats and Oils for Bulking
Fats and oils are very potential for getting muscle. There are some fats and oils that help you in building muscle. Check it up below:
- Avocado: Avocados are amazing sources of healthy fats. They also contain different vitamins like vitamin E that are necessary for your body.
- Olives and olive oils: Olives are very essential when you want to build your body muscles. They help reduce inflammation in your body. Olives also have healthy fats and vitamin E.
3. Best Carbohydrates Foods for Bulking
Carbohydrate foods provide energy to your body. Here are some good carbs that are very useful for you to build lean muscle. Check it up below:
- Whole grain Bread and Crackers: These kinds of foods are very useful to build muscle. They have high-quality fibers and mineral salts which are important for your body.
- Oats: Oats are an incredible source of carbohydrates. You need carbs to help you deliver your body with the needed energy for working out. They also add to your calories helping you make that calorie surplus.
- Rice: Rice is a familiar food almost everywhere in the world. It provides high volumes of Carbohydrates and adds lean muscle to your body.
How Can You Safely Incorporate Cardio Into Your Bulking Routine?
Although cardio is usually considered a tool for fat-burning programs, it’s also a smart idea to incorporate some cardio while bulking and building muscle as well.
However, to get the best advantages of cardio while you are bulking, you’ll need to keep your workout levels up with low and moderate-intensity exercise. But remember that high-intensity cardio exercise burns too many calories.
But your purpose should be low-intensity exercise. It promotes your cardiovascular health without burning too many calories. For example, Walking, Cycling, jogging and elliptical machines can be good options for your bulking period. Here is suggested cardio for your bulking routine:
- Pre-lifting: 10-minute light-rowing machine
- Post-lifting: 3- sets of 10 bodyweight press-ups
- Pre-lifting: 5-minutes elliptical machine and 5-minutes treadmill on low intensity
- Post-lifting: 10 – minute treadmill cooldown
- Pre-lifting: 5-minute rowing machine
- Post-lifting: 3-sets of 10 pull-ups
Note: You could also act light cardio activity on your non-lifting days. For example, you can perform 30-minute brisk walking or light jogging. The advantages of cardio are too good to ignore. So, keep up your cardio while bulking to build bigger muscles.
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Drawbacks of Cardio While Bulking
Potentially Slower Muscle Growth: Cardio can burn calories and increase your overall energy expenditure, which can make it harder to consume enough calories to support muscle growth.
Can Lead to Over-Training: Doing too much cardio can interfere with muscle recovery and lead to overtraining, which can hinder muscle growth.
Increased Risk of Injury: High-intensity cardio can put a lot of strain on the joints and increase the risk of injury.
Can Increase Appetite: Some people may find that cardio increases their appetite, which can make it harder to stick to a calorie-controlled diet.
Best Practices for Cardio While Bulking
Low-Intensity Cardio: To minimize the potential drawbacks of cardio, it’s best to do low-intensity cardio, such as walking or cycling at an easy pace.
Short Duration Cardio: Keep your cardio sessions short, no more than 30-45 minutes at a time.
Avoid High-Intensity Interval Training: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be very intense and can interfere with muscle recovery. It’s best to avoid HIIT or do it sparingly when bulking.
The Bottom Line
Cardio is useful when you’re bulking. But you have to do low to medium-intensity cardio exercises during your bulking period to get effective results. In this article, we have outlined the basic concepts of doing cardio while bulking. You can get started with low-intensity cardio exercises in your bulking phase. It improves your cardiovascular health and helps you to build bigger muscles.