Arash Rahbar discusses how to balance cardio correctly for competitive bodybuilding.
Cardio sucks. And it can be a very uncomfortable topic for bodybuilders. Not because it’s controversial but because it can be a make or break element in a training routine. Cardio is necessary for bringing in pitch perfect conditioning on a physique. It can also break down muscle and run your body down for less effective training. So how much should you do? In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Arash Rahbar explains why bodybuilders should do cardio as little as possible.
When speaking with Arash Rahbar during our video interview, he was blunt about his advice regarding cardio and bodybuilding. He claimed that a bodybuilder should do as little cardio as possible. When taken directly the answer to that seems easy. “Oh okay, I’ll simply do no cardio. Problem solved.” But that’s not what Arash is getting at. In fact, he does stress the importance of cardio in bodybuilding. He just thinks that too many bodybuilders over do it.
Bodybuilders need to do cardio not only to help bring in a shredded physique, but to also help maintain blood flow and heart health. The problem is that cardio can also break down muscle. This is a problem for bodybuilders who are trying to be as big and lean as possible at the same time.
That’s why Arash Rahbar suggests doing as little as possible. What that means is to do the least amount of cardio while still keeping it effective. So to be clear – that doesn’t mean zero or 10 minutes of cardio. It means finding out at what point cardio becomes effective in burning fat – and then stopping right there before you start burning off muscle as well.
Watch our GI Exclusive interview segment with Arash Rahbar above!
To get in more specifics, Arash Rahbar states that he does about 20 to 25 minutes of cardio in his workout routine. That’s it. He used to do more. In the past he’s had trainers who put him through 45 minutes to an hour of cardio. He wasn’t ultimately happy with the results. Beyond breaking down muscle – he also felt completely run down. This effected his training routine and energy. It made him a less effective bodybuilder.
The problem is – bodybuilders can’t simply do no cardio. This will lead to a less lean and conditioned physique. While some might be able to get away with this genetically – for most that means you won’t be able to be on point and win an Olympia competition without cardio.
On the flip side, if you over do it you’ll look a bit too run down or possibly even flat on the day of a show. That’s no good either. That’s why Arash Rahbar suggests doing the bare minimum. If you hit about 25 minutes of cardio you’ll burn fat, keep muscle, and help keep your heart pumping more efficiently.
Of course, if you’re NOT a bodybuilder Arash Rahbar would suggest something completely different. For heart health, endurance, and lung capacity – an average person looking to be healthy can do much more cardio. 45 minutes to an hour is great if you’re not concerned about building massive muscle. If you’re not a competitive bodybuilder – the advice completely changes. Keep that in mind when setting your fitness goals.
You can watch Arash Rahbar break down his cardio tactics and advice for bodybuilders in our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above.