Cardio Can Help You Build Muscle

Regular cardio has been shown to improve digestion, strengthen bones, improve sleep, increase energy levels, strengthen the heart and lungs, and improve circulation. Cardio also helps to rid the body of lactic acid build up.

Lactic acid is what causes the burn that you feel after a hard set. It slows recovery and can contribute to muscle soreness. Since cardio exercise enhances circulation and oxidation of toxic compounds, your body rids itself of post workout lactic acid more quickly when you do regular cardio.

When you add up all of the benefits of cardio, from increasing your energy levels to improving your bodies ability to utilize nutrients, and get rid of toxins. It becomes clear that moderate cardio combined with weight training will help speed your muscle gains.

Here are some good basic guidelines to follow for your cardio workouts:

  • Do at least 20 minutes of cardio 3 times per week.
  • Work in your Target Heart Rate Zone. To find your “target heart rate” you just subtract your age from 220 to determine your maximum heart rate. Then multiply that number by 0.65 this will give you your “lower target heart rate level”, multiply by 0.8 to determine your “upper target heart rate level”.
  • To make things easier you can get a exercise heart rate monitors that you wear on your wrist just like a watch. This will accurately tell you if you are working at the correct intensity level. These cardio heart rate monitors are available at most any department store in the sporting goods section.
  • Choose a form of cardio exercise that you enjoy. One type is not necessarily better then another. There is no “best cardio exercise”, cardio is cardio, it makes no difference what type of cardio you do. What does matter is how hard you work. Your body will burn the same number of calories at a certain heart rate whether you are riding an exercise bike, using the stair master, or hiking through the woods, it makes no difference in terms of real world results.
About The Author


Lee Hayward is a former competitive bodybuilder and muscle building coach who has been online coaching people since 1997. His work has been featured in several international magazines such as: FLEX, Muscle Insider, Muscle Mag International, Testosterone, Ironmag, and Forbes. Lee's main focus right now is with helping men over 40 - who don't want to be fat anymore - lose the gut, build muscle, and get back in shape. If you're ready to "Start Again" for the last time and finally build a lean healthy body that you can be proud of, just e-mail Lee to discuss a realistic action plan that's right for you...


  • I completely agree with doing cardio year round. My experience is that is doesn’t impair muscle gains at all. Quite the opposite.

    I also like it that you don’t push people too hard towards a specific piece of equipment. I like treadmill and stepmills the best, but others like exercise bikes or rowers. It doesn’t make a huge difference in real world results.

    Good stuff!