If you’re skinny and trying to bulk up and build muscle, avoid cardio like the plague (also avoid the plague).
Why? Take a look at the best marathon runners in the world, and compare their physique to somebody like Usain Bolt, the best sprinter in the world – tons of muscle, power, and a body to envy.
There’s nothing wrong with EITHER body – we’re all awesome and are special and blah blah blah.
But you’re reading an article about how to build muscle fast, right? So focus all of your effort on building muscle!
You want all the calories you’re consuming to go towards “building muscle,” and not “fuel my run.”
I will admit that I’m biased against chronic cardio, but mostly because it bores me!
You can be far more effective when you focused on getting stronger and only do ‘cardio’ on things you enjoy – after all, your success will largely depend on your nutrition, NOT your cardio!
Personally, I spend three days a week in the gym, with each workout clocking in at 45 minutes.
I go for long walks on my off days along with a day of sprints to stay active, but I know that my muscles get built while I’m resting, not when I’m working out.
I really focus in on my workouts to make them as exhausting as possible, and then I give my body ample time to recover (while eating enough calories to produce a surplus).
If you’re lifting heavy, and eating enough, make sure you’re also getting enough sleep! 5-6 hours a night isn’t going to cut it – you need to get at least 8-9 hours of sleep per night for optimal muscle-building. Take naps too if you have the opportunity.
Sleep needs to become a priority.
If you’re a big guy/girl trying to slim down, a little extra cardio might speed up your fat loss but if you’re not eating correctly, it might result in losing some of the muscle you already have.
Don’t worry about going for 10 mile runs on your off days – do 20-30 minutes of intervals or go run hill sprints in your park. The weight will come off more slowly, but you’ll only be losing fat, not fat AND muscle.
Once you hit your goal weight and the target amount of muscle mass, I’d recommend adding back in some cardio for your overall conditioning, but keep it varied (sprints and intervals). The focus is to keep building explosive muscle and not long, slow, boring muscle.
If you love going for long runs and aren’t going to give that up, I’m not gonna stop you. Just know that the long hours of cardio will severely inhibit your progress on building strength and size.