T Nation

Body Hate Cardio?


I know this isn't really the domain of cardio, but I'm looking for a way to introduce it into my existing weights routine. Honestly, I know of no where else online where I can get fitness advice that I trust, so please be patient and help me out! /shameless flattery

I've been trying to add cardio (I do full body weights for an hour 3 - 4 times per week) but my body just won't have a bar of it. I'm thin, which is why I took up weights in the first place, and I figured that I should steer clear of cardio to avoid losing weight.

However, I've since conceded that cardiovascular fitness is important and tried to take up the Couch to 5km program. Not only did I get a pounding headache during/after the first session (apparently this is just an 'exertion headache') but more worryingly, I developed the beginnings of a throat infection.

I'm prone to throat infections and they always come about when I'm run down and stressed, and cardio seems to have the same effect. The same thing has happened a few times in the past when I've attempted HIIT. If I do specific cardio work then 24 hours later, like clockwork, I can feel the infection beginning in my throat.

I workout as hard as I can with weights - I feel far more exhausted after a weights session and yet it doesn't cause me any of the troubles I experience with cardio.

The first session of the Couch to 5km is only 20 minutes of jogging for 60 seconds and walking for 90 seconds, repeat. My lungs and legs etc were coping more than fine and since I regularly work out with weights I didn't think the addition of the program would be unrealistically tough.

I'm not necessarily looking for medical advice, medically I'm fine. I just want to know if anyone has experienced similar difficulties, or has any insight.

I eat well, don't smoke/do drugs/binge drink or have any other medical problems. I'm not trying to body build in the sense that many around this neck of the woods do, just bulk up a bit and increase strength (and now I guess I can add cardiovascular fitness to my goals).

It's very frustrating because I really enjoyed my first "run" except for the headache, and now I'm reluctant to continue with the running program as scheduled lest I make my throat even worse.

Oh, and I'm female, 22 years old, and have been on with the weights for about a year now.

Thoughts? Ideas? Is there any hope for me and cardio?


Of course there is hope for you and cardio.

Bear in mind that if you are relatively new to it, it takes getting used to, especially running. Also, I know you say you are medically fine, but a repeat throat infection is worth getting looked at (and concerning the headaches, read)


If this is indeed entirely stress-induced, then you need to treat the stress. Do you take recovery days? Do you get adequate sleep and nutrition, both vital for immune function? How many cardio sessions per week are you engaging in? (Considering your goals, I assume it is moderate.) Do you go immediately before or after weightlifting? (If so, consider spreading it out more.)

Other thoughts, which may be completely off the mark: where do you run and in what sort of weather conditions? If you run outside in a city, the exhaust can be enough to give you a headache or irritate your throat.

If you run in hot weather without sufficient hydration, that's an invitation to a headache. Running on pavement can be pretty brutal on everything; I wouldn't rule out headaches for someone as yet unused to it. Make sure your shoes are good (headaches or not). Experiment with other cardio - cycling, jump roping, etc.

Hopefully some part of this is helpful.
Best of luck with all your goals,


It may have just been too much to add all at once. Try cutting it down to 10 minutes, and if that is fine add to it slowly.


I don't mean to drag up an older thread, I just wanted to say thanks for the replies! I might start jumping rope and cycling, then slowly add running if I have no problems.


Don't be foolish and cut out cardio. I did that and I paid for it. My cardio turned to shit. It is important and you need it. You can still gain weight doing cardio, just eat to make up for what you lost. For example, if you run for half an hour it is probably 300 kcal you burned. When you get home just eat 300kcal worth of food.


-Enough H2O?
-Enough vitamin C?
-Balanced diet? (5-10 srv. fruits and veggies, plenty of protein, EFAs)

If not, meet those basics. If so, cut down on volume.

Fun types of cardio:
-Car pushing (safely...I know you're female btw, makes it that much cooler)
-Sprints/hill sprints
-Litvnitov sprints (grab some kinda weight, rep it for some compound exercise, then sprint a given distance. repeat for reps)
-Use your imagination