How important is cardiovascular conditioning to bodybuilding?

David Buer
For professional body builders, cardio conditioning helps lose excess fat, and it also stimulates your metabolism to work better even when you’re not working out. That helps you burn more calories, which means burning more excess fat, which helps improve body composition, creating a lean, hard, defined physique.
The great thing about the expansion of the fitness industry is you get very experienced and specialized fitness professionals.

There are fitness professionals out there that specialize in getting people ready for bodybuilding shows.  The above answer is a great one and I guess this is my shameless plus because I have been preparing bodybuilders for competition for over 10 years.

The answer is very correct when it says it is very complex and it is an art-form.

The myths about bodybuilding are vast and many.  Bodybuilding is a beautiful sport that many love and are passionate about.  One thing I wanted to add in addition to the post above is when someone prepares for a bodybuilding contest the plan becomes extremely individualized.

Many people will generalize cardio but the reality is there are many different ways to do cardio and each way has a different effect on the body.  There is a time and place for each type of cardio for each type of person that is preparing for a competition.  In addition to the type of cardio the length of time also will vary based on the individual.

The sad reality is many people look at bodybuilders as the ideal for health and honestly it is not that healthy of a sport.  The low body fat percentages and restriction of diet is not necessarily healthy for mind or body.  Cardiovascular conditioning is secondary to how lean a bodybuilder can get.  Cardio for bodybuilders is used as a tool to help assist in body fat loss.  Whenever I counsel a bodybuilder I try and do as little cardio as possible because the less cardio we do the more muscle we can keep.

It is a very fine line however because for almost all bodybuilders a certain amount of cardio is needed but it is determining the amount and type without sacrificing muscle that becomes very important. 
Bodybuilding is a very complex sport. Many people just view body builders as individuals that do a lot of heavy lifting. But along with diet, cardiovascular training is also very important to be able to compete. Cardiovascular training will help in two ways for a bodybuilder. The first is weight management. The goal for a bodybuilder is to be as lean (achieve the lowest safe body fat level) as they possibly can for their competition while maintaining their muscle mass. If your cardiovascular training is done year round you will be able to maintain the muscle mass better when you start cutting your calories during the leaning phase of your cycle. Too many bodybuilder try to drop too much fat at the end and end up losing muscle mass as well. The leaner you can stay throughout the year with the help of cardiovascular training, the better you will be able to maintain the muscle mass at the end. Another factor in bodybuilding that many overlook the first time they do a competition, is how long and hard the competition day is. During the competition there could be several rounds of posing for the judges. Depending on how many people are in the competition, you may have to continue to perform for some time. To help with this part of the competition your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems will be tested. The better cardiovascular shape you are in, then better you will be able to maintain the poses.

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