Many bodybuilders have a bit of a love-hate relationship with completing cardio workouts because most iron pumpers want to be hitting the weights rather than the treadmill, but those who have succeeded at the highest level advise that you should skip cardio at your peril. In a recent Instagram post, four-time Mr Olympia Jay Cutler reminded us why getting your heart pumping is a great way to get us over the edge, and provided some tips to stop us veering off track.

Cutler began by explaining the importance of cardio for burning extra calories, particularly when cutting. “So, everyone’s dreaded exercise is some sort of cardio right?” says Cutler. “Now, bodybuilders use cardio to get in the best shape, especially getting ready for a competition, but we all know it’s good for your cardiovascular system, but how do we make it interesting?

Here are some key Jay Cutler cardio tips to help you maintain peak conditioning.

Jay Cutler Cardio Tips Start with Switching Around your Routine

“For me, I like to switch the cardio around,” explains Cutler. “So, you know, we can either do bike, we can do step mill, or we can do treadmill, you can do assault bike, you can do elliptical. I mean, some of you guys are swimming. Any kind of cardio, playing basketball, I mean there’s a lot of different variations you can use for your cardio.”

Bodybuilders Don’t Need to Train Cardio as Intensely as Endurance Athletes

“Now for me, I always stuck to stair mill or step mill, bike, treadmill, pretty much the basics because as a bodybuilder we’re not really trying to get the heart rate through the roof,” says Cutler. “We’re really just trying to do a slow burn, right? Keep the metabolism going, keep the body in function and obviously focus on the cardiovascular health.”

Embracing Your Cardio Sessions Is One of the Essential Jay Cutler Cardio Tips

“I’m always listening to music, sometimes I watch, you know, some of YouTube, or podcasts. I listen to different things. Sometimes I work. I mean, sometimes I’m journaling. Right now, we’re working on book projects or whatever else so, for me, I always want to keep my mind busy, so it makes the time pass a little further.”

Cardio is ‘absolutely necessary’ to get you over the edge

“Find what works the best for you, that will not steer you away from doing your cardio because I feel it’s absolutely necessary, especially, you know, as you’re getting in shape or you know, you’re trying to be your absolute best,” advises Cutler. “The extra cardio will help you get over the edge.” Responding to an IG follower who wondered how long each cardio session should last, the icon suggested “20 to 40 min.”

Try 40 minutes on a basic flat treadmill at 3.5mph (a brisk pace) would burn around 173 calories. If you increased that to 6mph you’d burn more than 450 calories. Adding cardio to the end of a weight session is a great way to torch those extra calories without interfering with your time on the weights, meaning that you can pump iron and your heart, chasing greatness just like Jay Cutler still does to this day.

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