T Nation

Bulking and cardio

Im going MASSIVE EATING in August. Naturally, I want to minimize the amount of fat/muscle ratio in gained weight. So, Im considering going on long walks before breakfeast every morning (Im a student with lots of easy subjects, so I got lots of free time). For instance, if a 90 minute walk burn 500-600 kcal, and 60% of this is from fat, this adds up to 9300-11160 kcal of pure blubber in a month. Obviously, this should reduce netto fat stored from massive eating. My concern is that this might be to catabolic? I wouldnt normally think that simple walking would be dangerously catabolic, but could that be the case here?

I would no doubt opt with some HIIT for a third of the time you’re spending. It has been effective for me as far as sparing muscle and losing fat, but since you are looking to add muscle and will expect small fat gains, maybe low intensity could work. I’m just a huge fan of interval training after reading Christian Thibaudeau’s Running Man and The Beast Evolves articles. Low intensity just seems like a waste of time to me. Why not just do less frequent and less duration high intensity intervals?
PS - I know plenty of girls who read in a women’s mag that long sessions of low impact cardio, such as walking, are better than running. I disagree, as most of the results are minimal at best.

Ive been doing a bit of intervals, and it seems to work ok. I will probably incorporate some of that as well. However, Im curious about walking and if this is catabolic (or seriously hindering in muscle gain). I live about a hour from my university, so it sort of fits well into my schedule anyway. And the mathematics doesnt lie.


check out jb’s appetite for construction in issue 155 & ct’s running man in issue 251. this should help.

HIIT enables me to maintain that hard earned LBM while I either am shedding BF or just tryin’ to keep any excess BF from climbing on.

Definitely check out CT’s “Running Man”. That could be your ticket.

a 90 minute walk burns 600 calories? If this were true, then it would indeed be a great idea. I don’t think it is though, although I’d love to be proven wrong.



Definitely. Walk at 4mph for 90 minutes, and you’ve traveled 6 miles. Most treadmills will calculate 100 calories/mile as a weighted average of everyone who uses them. Considering that those with more muscle mass (i.e. T-Men and Vixens) will usually burn more than the ordinary aerobics goon, you’ll probably burn more than 600!

Yea but how do you know if that 600 calories you burned is really coming from your bodyfatfat stores?

Interested in LBM gain without the fat?

Check out the Marc McDougal thread in the forum, along with the thread in the Dog Pound started by Nate Dogg.

(Sounds like an advertisement, doesn’t it?)

4 miles per hour is 6.5km/h…isn’t that like speed walking or am I way off base?



4mph is a brisk walk. Most treadmill aerobic capacity tests are done at 3.3-3.4 with changing inclines.

I got the numbers from a nutrion-PhD-guy who has written a lot for European BB-magazines.
He actually claims that 80-90% of this 600 kcal can come from fat, as insulin-levels are rock-bottom when you wake up. If you perform any exercise more intensive then walking though, you`ll burn muscles as the body can only metabolize fat in a certain pace.

I`ve read the thread in the Dog Pound by the way, very interesting.
What I really was curious about though, was if walking 90 minutes before breakfeast will make it (noticebly) harder to put on beef.

Squat, I read this a few months back on Labrada’s website. I only got a membership to try to win a motorcycle. I don’t know how accurate this is, but both approaches seem to make sense. Here it is:

I have a love/hate affair with cardio (short for cardiovascular exercise.) I know that it?s good for me, so I make myself do it. But quite frankly, there are some days that I just don?t want to do it. So I?m always looking for ways of making cardio more interesting. (And no, sex doesn?t count. Bummer.)

Let?s face it. Cardio is typically repetitive and monotonous. That?s why I like to change it up frequently. Sometimes I?ll ride my stationary bicycle, and other times I?ll run. In the summer, I swim laps in the pool. Heck, I even strap on a pair of hockey skates from time to time and burn out some laps around the rink! It?s all part of keeping my cardio exercise fun to do.

Now, I?ll be the first to tell you that as a competitive bodybuilder, I used to hate cardio. But being older and wiser now, I know that cardio is a great thing. Not only to condition your heart and lungs and improve your overall health, but it can actually improve your performance in the gym by aiding recovery from workouts, thus improving your muscle gains!

Cardio helps your bodybuilding in two ways. One, it improves your lungpower so that you don?t wimp out on that last set of squats. And two, it forces fresh blood through muscle, washing out the waste products that are built up during resistance training (lifting weights.)

When it comes to the topic of cardio workout intensity, there are 2 ways of thinking: one that believes it should be done intensely for short periods of time, and one that believes that cardio should be performed at lower intensity for longer periods of time.

This week, Robert Brooks looks at cardio from both viewpoints.

High vs. Low Intensity Cardio
by Robert Brooks

Bodybuilders and those trying to shed as much body fat as possible continue to argue over the aerobic (cardio) issue. Which intensity is better, high intensity or low intensity?

Before moving to the pros and cons of high vs. low intensity, we have to define the word ?intensity?. For exercise physiologists, intensity means the level of effort put forth during your aerobic session. This effort is most easily measured by the heart rate of the exerciser. The person who is exercising at a higher heart rate, say 65-70% of his maximum or higher, would be deemed working at a high level of intensity, while an individual working at a lower heart rate, roughly 60% or below, would be deemed lower intensity.

The debate can be framed simply: “Which level of intensity will help an individual lose the maximum amount of bodyweight?” The answer depends on your current level of fitness and percentage of body fat.

The Pro-Low Intensity Group Argues: Lower intensity burns more fat

This position has some merit. The human body burns mostly fat while at complete rest. While you sit there and read this article, you may not be burning up a heck of a lot of calories, but your body is relying on fat as fuel. Surprise! At rest, the body prefers to burn fat as fuel rather than carbohydrates or protein. The individual engaging in low intensity aerobic work will maintain his fat burning status. For example, walking ? clearly a very low intensity form of aerobic exercise ? allows the body to burn more calories than at rest. During low, and especially very low intensity aerobic exercise, the body remains in a fat burning mode, preferring to burn fat for fuel rather than rely on carbs or protein.

Labrada Bottom Line: Lower intensity aerobic work is a good way to burn fat ? to keep your body in a ?fat burning mode.?

Lower intensity burns less Protein

So the body burns fat at rest, and lower intensity aerobic work helps the body burn calories. This encourages your body to remain in a fat burning zone, where fat remains the choice source of fuel. As the level of aerobic intensity increases, the body begins to burn a little bit less fat, and increasingly more carbohydrates and protein. The pro-low intensity group argues that aerobics performed at a lower level of intensity will coax the body to burn up extra calories while preventing the burning of carbs and protein.

Their understanding is that lower intensity aerobics is less catabolic (muscle wasting) than higher intensity aerobics. Their hope is that longer aerobic sessions ? up to one hour at a time ? will burn body fat exclusively without causing the body to tap into carbohydrates - and especially protein - as fuel. The minute the body starts delving into its supply of carbs and protein, the situation turns from one that is beneficial (where burning fat is the goal) to detrimental (where muscle comes into play as a source of fuel).

In other words, when the body starts to burn protein, you?re no longer benefiting from aerobic work. Some of the protein utilized comes from hard-earned muscle and even the smallest loss of muscle causes the metabolic rate to drop.

Labrada Bottom Line: Lower intensity aerobic work can prevent the loss of metabolically active muscle mass for fuel.

The Pro-High Intensity Group Argues: Higher intensity burns more Calories

This position also has merit. That?s because the higher you can get your heart rate, the more calories you?ll burn. For example, an person running for 30 minutes will increase his heart rate far more than he would if he had walked for 30 minutes. During that 30 minute run, the greater intensity will have burned up more total calories than the lower intensity 30-minute walk.

Labrada Bottom Line: The higher the heart rate, the more calories you burn.

It?s The Calories, Stupid

Those who follow the higher intensity school of thought often point out that total calories burned is the key for those who hope to tip the energy balance from positive to negative. Following the basic premise to weight loss that the body will lose weight and body fat when an individual expends and burns more calories than consumed (eaten), the higher intensity method of aerobics is often used to burn as many calories as possible.

Labrada Bottom Line: If you take in too many calories of any kind ? from carbs, protein or fat - you?ll gain body fat. Period. The opposite holds true with aerobics: the more calories you burn, the more weight you will lose.

Which is best for you?

So both systems of aerobics sound pretty beneficial. Determining which is best for you may depend on your level of fitness and your level of body fat. Let me explain. While fat is the main source of fuel at rest, individuals with varying degrees of body fat burn different ratios of fat, carbs and protein. People who are overweight rely on a greater amount of sugar (carbs) for fuel at rest and during aerobic exercise.

Relying on sugar as fuel rather than large amounts of fat poses an important dilemma. “Sugar burners” often experience a quick plummet in blood sugar levels during aerobic exercise which leads to a feeling of weakness or dizziness, causing the suspension of the exercise. For this group, very low intensity aerobic exercise of a long duration is best solution. It can encourage or “re-program” a sugar burner?s body to begin to use more fat for fuel and less sugar during aerobic work. Lower intensity aerobic sessions also prevent drastic swings in blood sugar levels, allowing heavy-set individuals to continue to exercise.

If you are carrying a lot of body fat, stick with low to very low intensity aerobic work for longer periods of time. 50% of your maximum heart rate for 45-50 minutes will help the body begin to burn less sugar and more fat. That is, longer-duration aerobics at a lower level of intensity actually helps the body adjust and burn fat as a fuel source, rather than sugar. As you lean down, you can adjust your aerobics to a higher intensity and shorter duration.

Lean and muscular people burn not only more total calories at rest, but a greater percentage of those calories come from fat. For example, a top bodybuilder with very little body fat can expect to burn a heck of a lot more fat ? and less sugar ? during an aerobic session than an overweight person. Lean people tend to rely on fat as fuel while overweight people rely on a mix of fat and sugar. Since lean people already burn fat, the higher intensity method of cardio is best as it causes a greater calorie burn. Leaner folks don?t have to take into consideration "what? they are burning ? fat or sugar ? because they tend to burn more fat than any other source of energy.

Personally, Ive been bulking for the first time ever and have not really put on that much fat mass, I follow all my weight sessions with 20 minutes of moderate cardio on a bike (level 7, 85+ rpm’s). So far, no complaints.

Da Boxer

I might add that this week I have been walking 90 minutes before breakfeast every day, and, even though I`m slighty overfeeding (40P-30C-30F), I have definiteley got somewhat leaner. I doubt I have put on any beef, though.