T Nation

Advanced Lifters: How Much Cardio?

I have a question for those of you at the top of our group, who have differentiated yourself from the pack and would be competitive in a serious bodybuilding competition.

How much cardio do you build into your workout routines? Do you even bother with cardio, or is it all about pushing iron for you?

Last year I built 20 mins of cardio into my routines, but I’m thinking about switching it up this year and doing straight lifts with little to no cardio.

What are your thoughts?

Don’t think I would be considered in the category you mention, despite 12 years of training. Probably mostly due to falty nutrition habits and too much alcohol…

But I would presume that if you can control your diet impeccably, cardio wouldn’t add too many additional benefits. Clearly, cardiovascular fitness is important, so there’s that issue, but I mean in regards to body composition.

Personally, I do 4-5x/week cardio, because I tend to like Pizza and Cheesesteaks 2 or 3 times a week, and cardio is the only way I can manage that and stay in the type of shape I want to be in. Currently, 5’10’’ and 205 around 12% bf. Seriously looking to watch the diet/alcohol a little closer, so I can get to single digits…

I am very interested to hear the responses from those that are already there, though. Good thread man

I do 30 mins in the morning.

20 mins after meh workout.

Bloody boring stuff but must be done when one wishes to cut :frowning:

I know common wisdom is that you need cardio to cut, but is that really the case?

I lost the most fat during my first year of training, and did no cardio at all.

Building more muscle raises your metabolism, and is better for fat burning long term in any case right?

[quote]forlife wrote:
I know common wisdom is that you need cardio to cut, but is that really the case?

I lost the most fat during my first year of training, and did no cardio at all.

Building more muscle raises your metabolism, and is better for fat burning long term in any case right?[/quote]

Anyones first year of training shows results that are uncommon for the years after that. Most people do cardio while cutting so they can eat enough to not go crazy but also burn enough calories to drop below maintanence. For some people dropping calories too much is not effective because too much muscle is lost comapared to fat loss. Everyone is different though, obviously.

couldn’t you just go with a high rep circuit program with very small rest times?

I mean if you are specifically looking for cardiovascular benifits, anything that keeps your heart rte up will pretty much do it. right?

Cardio is extremely important if you’re anything other than an ectomorph.

DO YOUR CARDIO!

I don’t do cardio 99% of the time. When I cut I prefer to just manipulate my diet, and when if I stall I’ll add in 20 mins after my workout accordingly. Nothing fancy.

I think it should be avoided when at all possible, as it is muscle wasting any way you look at it.

The sad thing is that too many bodybuilders say that cardio should be avoided since it may cause muscle loss. It does not make any sense because the heart is the most important muscle in the body. I would think that training the heart be priortized over all others. Stroke and high blood pressure are just a few of the horrible complications from not training the heart.

Bodybuilding is good and fun, but I also want to be healthy and stay healthy for the rest of my life. Lets be honest, our bodies will grow old but it is whether you are going to be old and healthy or old and broke down. Bodybuilding is something I enjoy but I refuse to stop doing cardio just because it may or may not slow down muscle growth.

My cardio routine consists of 45 minutes of strait bike riding or the elliptical machine. I work up to about 75 percent of my maximum heart rate. Cardio is something I place more importance over my actual training. I like being heart healthy. By the way, I do cardio six days a week.

[quote]Heavy-Duty wrote:
The sad thing is that too many bodybuilders say that cardio should be avoided since it may cause muscle loss. It does not make any sense because the heart is the most important muscle in the body. I would think that training the heart be priortized over all others. Stroke and high blood pressure are just a few of the horrible complications from not training the heart. Bodybuilding is good and fun, but I also want to be healthy and stay healthy for the rest of my life. Lets be honest, our bodies will grow old but it is whether you are going to be old and healthy or old and broke down. Bodybuilding is something I enjoy but I refuse to stop doing cardio just because it may or may not slow down muscle growth. My cardio routine consists of 45 minutes of strait bike riding or the elliptical machine. I work up to about 75 percent of my maximum heart rate. Cardio is something I place more importance over my actual training. I like being heart healthy. By the way, I do cardio six days a week.[/quote]

are you one of those at the top of our group?

having a strong heart will provide more strength to ur muscles, try going for high intensity cardio, strengthen ur heart muscle and reap the fat burning and muscle strength and endurance :smiley:

I’ve come down about 20 lbs in the last several months, making use of no cardio, simply utilizing proper dietary manipulation, and keeping up with my heavy training. Still, I don’t know how feasible it is to achieve 4% bodyfat without doing any. As I’ll be switching my training protocol in the next month to a more antagonistic/lactate approach for a more severe depletion, I’m thinking of throwing in 2 HIIT sessions on my ‘off’ days.

I think a lot of folks forget that any exercise is muscle wasting to a point once you get beyond your recovery threthshold. Not to sound like a HIT jedi, but Mentzer once said that you want to do the absolute minimum to stimulate growth so that your body has full recovery ability to adapt.

THe discussion of heart health, well, it’s been shown over and again that weight training is great for your heart, just like any other muscle. Sure the occassional jog won’t kill you, but if you’re after maintaining maximum muscle mass and minimum body fat,… well, lots of cardio is not the best approach, I think most folks on here will agree with that.

S

Just ask C.Poliquin

[quote]waylanderxx wrote:
I think it should be avoided when at all possible, as it is muscle wasting any way you look at it.[/quote]

The catabolic effects of cardio are a concern of mine as well. I rarely do extended cardio and focus on HIIT/MIT sessions of 20 minutes, but even then I wonder if it might be sending my body conflicting signals. After pumping iron for an hour, I feel primed for muscle growth. If I then follow it up with a cardio session, it’s like my body changes gears into fat burning mode.

That’s one reason I’m interested in hearing from the advanced lifters in our group. I’d like to know how much time they spend on cardio, if any.

[quote]Heavy-Duty wrote:
I would think that training the heart be priortized over all others. [/quote]

I think it is a misconception that weightlifting doesn’t work the heart. My heart is pounding after every lift, and pumping iron is definitely heart healthy.

I can see cardio for people with a primary goal of fat loss, but even then it seems that you would get the same fat loss with weightlifting. Longer term, you would get even more fat loss because you are building muscle, which in turn burns more calories. In both cases your heart is strengthened, so that shouldn’t be a factor.

In the actual world of bodybuilding/weightlifting I don’t think cardio is that important. I think in terms of body composition diet is the biggest factor. As much as I love lifting though, I still like to walk stairs w/out losing my breath and go outside and play tennis and hike est.

I also have some pretty terrible risk factors for heart problems.

I just don’t see the point in being big and muscular if I can’t comfortably go outside and do stuff I love to do.

I do a pretty good amount of cardio, but it’s for my life outside of the weight room.

Sure cardio may not be of importance for some here in terms of their cosmetic appearance, but then you’ll find yourselves huffing and puffing after running up a set of stairs. Additionally, i think that the circulation of blood and oxygenation of our body that takes place during cardio is invaluable to growing more muscle. But with cardio just like bodybuilding you have to find a style of doing it so that it enhances you and don’t overtrain on it.

Would someone explain to me how twenty minutes of cardio 3 times a week, either upon waking or after a workout, could be considered “muscle wasting”? I mean, I could understand maybe an hour of cardio, but a mere twenty minutes?

Personally, I feel that cardio is a great way to shed some fat without a significant loss in muscle, which would inevitably be brought on by a large decrease in calories. Thus, I would rather run for a bit rather than changing my entire diet.

Totallly depends on the goal!

Size… Why bother. Your just burning kcals.
However there is an arguement for doing cardio as in promotes heart health. I go for a walk on my days off, thats it.

Cutting… Last resort.
Start with the diet first, you can lose alot of fat with just the diet… only then would i put in cardio.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with cardio even when bulking, as long as you can get enough calories to make up for it cardio can keep you from feeling lethargic, I agree with Paul in that diet should be the main cutting tool though. I’m sure if you look you can find bber’s that do cardio year round and still do well.