In my previous blog, I talked about a hard lesson I learned about keeping my body fat in check during the “off-season” (i.e. the time between contest seasons/shows, or, simply between breaks in training). Lesson #1 covered how important it can be to keep your body fat lower in the off-season, which will help you once contest prep time or a recommitment to the gym rolls around again.
Lesson #2 will cover specific tactics to help take any body fat off when you’re ready to lose it.
Cardio isn’t just for pre-contest, my friends. It has a wide-variety of benefits that makes fitting it into your off-season very important. For example, it will obviously help you stay at a relatively lower body fat than if you didn’t do cardio (and we’ve already covered the benefits of staying at that lower body fat). However, it doesn’t stop there. It also has tremendous cardiovascular benefits for your overall health and well-being. And, as we get older, it becomes more and more important – especially if you have cardiovascular disease in your family.
In addition, getting that extra cardio in will sometimes make us a little hungrier than normal. This allows us to eat just a little bit more of our good, quality, athlete-friendly food to get us closer to our goals. Although, that does sound a little counter-intuitive, trust me, it’s a good thing. Not only that, but cardio will also give your body a better ability to transport nutrients to the muscle.
Some have argued that doing cardio in the off-season will nullify the muscle gains they are trying to make. That’s nonsense! Unless you are one of those rare breeds that even after eating copious amounts of food (a.k.a. a hard gainer), you still don’t gain muscle, then cardio is a must for everyone. Even for that so-called “hard gainer,” low intensity cardio will benefit you greatly in your overall health.
I’m not necessarily talking about 1-hour long sessions, 6 days a week. On the contrary… All I’m talking about is 2-4 sessions a week of anywhere between 20-30 minutes. During my off-season, I went with 20-25 minutes 3-4 times a week and it worked perfectly. You see, cardio in the off-season doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Just the opposite! It is a good thing…and I would say, it’s a VITAL thing.