Cardio is a hit or miss with some people, either you love it or you hate it. Some people can run for miles at a time like its nothing while others will only run while be chased (me). Ultimately doing cardio is important to being healthy. That doesn't mean hours of running on the treadmill or the eliptical, it solely means just moving! Things like walking your dog, riding a bike, hiking, going to skyzone and jump for an hour all fall into cardiovascular activities. Cardio supplies your body with more oxygen witch in turn makes it function better. Another great result is it will train your to become overall better at pumping blood which means that everyday tasks will take less effort and feel easier; along with helping to prevent heart disease and reduce stress levels.
Now the question is when is the best time to do cardio.
Here are two different times to do cardio and why I believe them to be most effective.
-After a workout
Doing cardio after a workout is great because you aren't just "burning off the food you ate." While lifting your muscles are using up all those carbs as energy to help complete your lift more efficiently. Therefor by the time you get to doing your cardio you are fresh out of glycogen stores so, your body will be burning your fat stores. This is great if you are short on time and cant make it to the gym twice (one for lifting one for cardio).
-First thing in the morning "fasted"
Eating prior to cardiovascular training will delay the use of fat burning for fuel. This will increase fat oxidation (fatty acids burned for energy), lipolysis (the breakdown of fats and other lipids by hydrolysis to release fatty acids), and decrease insulin levels. All you need to do is drink 8-12oz of water right once you get up and get to it! This is a good option for you if you're able to make it to the gym 2 times.
-Why I don't recommend cardio before a workout
Doing cardio is very counterproductive. When you do cardio you are fatiguing your muscles which means you are not going to be able to lift as much. That spirals into you are not challenging your muscles enough so they won't have any reason to grow. Always prioritize lifting over cardio because when you increase your muscle mass that will increase you RMR (resting metabolic rate) to keep your burning calories when you're doing absolutely nothing. Bottom line if your goal here is to get stronger and lose body fat, lift the weights first!
Don't kill your self by doing hours upon hours, start off small. Doing 10-20 minutes of steady state cardio 4 times a week and slowly increasing your time depending on your results. Don't forget to keep in mind you still need to have a clean diet, you can't "out run" bad eating habits. Fitness is mostly trial and error, what works for you might not work for others so its okay not to have it all figured out! Your body is different and unique! You also want to base how much cardio your doing depending on your goals. I wouldn't have someone training for a marathon doing the same amount as someone else bulking and has a hard time getting all their food in. Evaluate yourself and what you're striving to achieve.
Im always here for question! Much love! Now stop being a couch potato and just move!