if you're just starting on your fitness journey, you probably have your ideal physique in mind and you’re wondering how to get there. there are different factors to consider like what style of training to do and how you should set up your diet, but one big popular question is usually “should i do any cardio?” and honestly, the answer is not as simple as a one-size-fits-all solution. it varies greatly depending on individual goals, fitness levels, health conditions, and time availability. that’s why we’re diving in to educate you on how to set up a cardio protocol (if you even need it) to help you meet your goals in the most efficient way possible. let's get into it!
understanding your goals
before you can determine how much cardio you need, you first need to clearly define your goals. are you looking to lose weight? do you want to gain muscle? or maybe, you're just looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
the amount and type of cardio you need will be different for each of these goals.
cardio for weight loss
if weight loss is your main goal, cardio can be an effective way to create or add to a calorie deficit, which is necessary for losing body fat. however, it's important to remember that excessive cardio without strength training can lead to muscle loss along with fat loss, which is not optimal for overall health and aesthetics. so, it's crucial to balance your cardio with strength training.
when you’re first starting on your weight loss journey, it’s best to slowly increase your cardio duration over time. our metabolisms are adaptive, so to continue seeing results, we need to slowly decrease total calories and increase total output to keep the metabolism responsive and continue seeing progress. try starting out your diet with 3-4 20 minute cardio sessions per week (alongside calorie adjustments to ensure you’re in a deficit), monitor your biofeedback, and adjust this as needed. there is no magic number for anyone, but we do advise not going above 60 minutes of cardio 5-6 x a week, especially during a general lifestyle diet as this can add excess stress to your body and makes recovery extra challenging.
cardio for muscle gain
if you’re aiming to build muscle, cardio isn't the primary focus, but it shouldn't be entirely disregarded. besides burning calories, cardio also increases blood flow and improves heart health so it can be beneficial to keep it in your routine even when fat loss isn’t your main goal.
the general guideline here is to incorporate a lower amount of cardio - around 2-3 times a week of low to moderate intensity. this helps in maintaining heart health without stalling muscle growth.
cardio for general health
if you're simply looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle, we totally recommend keeping some cardio in your routine. try for 4-5 20 minute low-intensity sessions to keep your heart healthy and get those cardio endorphins while also not over-doing it! you can also mix it up and try different cardio-based classes to your routine for a new challenge! bringing a friend along, too can make it fun.
to really elevate your cardio game, add in beam’s pre-workout to your routine. sip on this 30 minutes before your session for incredible energy, focus, and endurance! the caffeine here is dosed at only 125 mg / scoop so you won’t experience that intense crash, and the flavors are so tasty you’ll look forward to your cardio every time 🙂
always remember, what works for one person may not work for you. factors like age, body type, metabolism, lifestyle, and fitness level all totally influence how your body responds to cardio. you may need some trial and error to determine what works best for you and your body, and that’s totally okay! what matters is you’re taking steps in the direction. at the end of the day, honoring your body is most important, and movement is one way of doing that🙂