It is a well-known fact that a great number of men who enter the gym are looking for an increase in muscle mass and overall size. This seems counterintuitive to much of the misinformation regarding fitness facilities and weight loss.
Obviously, a great number of people who regularly attend a gym want to lose weight, but what about the ones looking for the exact opposite?
Many fitness facilities disregard men who want to gain muscle mass as dumb meatheads or ‘gym bros.’ In fact, since the golden era of bodybuilding in the 1970’s the consensus has been that you go to the gym to lose fat and get skinny.
As a fitness professional, I see people every day who are inundated with the idea that they must get smaller if they are coming to the gym. Even most of my middle-aged male clients who are conscious about the fact that they want to gain muscle mass and get stronger have this misleading idea that they need to somehow incorporate cardio into their programming.
I always meet them with the same question:
Do you want to do cardio?
100% of them do not want to do cardio, it is not part of their goal, and they hate the overall idea of running on a treadmill or destroying their crotch on a spin bike!
Often, I get this undying question:
Isn’t cardio necessary for me to lose weight?
Again, this is a simple answer: no. When a client brings up questions regarding the lack of cardio in their mass gain program it should be an easy turnaround question regarding their initial goal. Is your primary goal to lose weight with cardio? Or is your primary goal to gain mass and strength through resistance training?
This question could lead to a simple revaluation of goals, primary and secondary.
Either way, I can confidently instruct my client that cardio will inhibit his muscle mass gain and by sending the wrong signals throughout the body. If he wants to do cardio during the next phase of his program, probably a weight loss phase with no real intention of gaining muscle, we can certainly discuss what that would look like.
All in all, the most important thing to remember is that your primary goal always comes first.
A myriad of different training techniques work, but none of them work if you try to do them all at the same time. If cardio is something you want to do because you enjoy it, all the power to you. If muscle mass gain is your primary goal, do not be swayed by the general population’s opinion regarding what you should be doing in the gym.