T Nation

Cardio -Is it really that bad?

All my life I have been the big guy. I have always been able to develop any muscle with success. . I have tried the low carb approach for a while less than 50G a day, two salads, and essential fatty acids. I have trained to to produce gh ,sprints, drop and super sets,and interval training after 3months of this I only dropped to 12 percent. I got so sick of carb deprivation and only dropping 2 percent I brought some in mainly a yam and some oats and post workout, but I gained back to 14%bodyfat Now I am so sick of low carbs and I honestly don’t believe someone can get into contest shape without some cardio. But I am honestly afraid to do them, this site plus charles poliquin hate aerobics, charles says they make your ass fat and cause fat storage,? please explain that one to me. I understand how doing to much aerobics(like 2hrs a day) will halt you progress and make the body protective of its stores but 30min five days a week. I want to get into contest shape for once in my life and I will do anything to reach those goals even sacrifice muscle? Any suggestions?

30 minutes of cardio five times a week is fine. Keep your heart rate around 130. Its best done in the morning on an empty stomach. If you read in the Lee Priest interview, he goes up to 1 hour of cardio. So, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Its always worked for my clients. Most of the hype about no cardio, is about guys wanting to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. In your case, just do it.

You’re lucky. Most people are fat AND can’t gain muscle.
First off, don’t worry about trying to release GH and for that matter T with exercise alone. Before I get blasted, let me explain. There have been studies (no, I don’t have references handy, this is just from memory) where subjects performed 10 sets of squats and showed increased GH and T. Kool. But they also showed sky high levels of cortisol that overwhelmed any scant rise in the anabolic hormones. The rise in anabolic hormones is brief and fleeting. So I would’nt worry about performing any specific exercises to raise GH.

 I know everyone is anti-cardio, but not everyone is the same.  Most people rightly state that cardio does nothing to preserve muscle.  But that is what weight training is for.  I personally could not drop below 12% BF without aerobics performed in a HIIT manner.  Once I added it to my program, the fat just fell off without muscle loss.  I only used protein and MD6.  Obviously,  I can't say that you or anyone else should do the same and get the same results, I'm just relaying personal experience.    

 Also, you must realize that not everyone (this includes myself) is capable of reaching contest condition (3-5% BF).   This is often an extreme and unnatural state unattainable by many.  I'm not trying to be discouraging.  I just believe that health is more of a concern that a transient state than can be maintained for several days at best.  On a positive note however, even if you happen to be the type of person that cannot reach contest shape, if you have the levels of muscle mass that you state then you may currently possess muscularity that most people will never attain.  I would certainly take solace in that!  Good Luck.       

If you can’t get fit on a super strict diet, then risk the aerobics! Just start of slowly so your body wont overreact.
I always do atleast 10 minutes of aerobics on a wossname, “ski-walking-simulator” prior to any workout. (Gives me that extra mental sharpness)
And when I try to cut up a little, I prolong the warmup by 5-10 minutes and slowly add up to 20 minutes of after-workout aerobics.
Of course, if you are training extensivily, you have to supply your body with some sort of energy during the exercise because you are mostly just trying to motivate your metabolism in different directions with the aerobics.

You’re right, a lot of people are petrified of doing cardio. The contention that it will make you fat because a lot of people who do aerobics are fat, is just ridiculous.

A good recommendation would be to keep the cardio around 45 min or less. It would be better to do it more often than longer at each session. The really important thing though is if combining with strength (either before or after) not to go too long for the total duration of the combined workout. Ideally keep everything together below 60 -90 minutes. The cortisol really kicks up after 90 minutes. Also, you will want to consume some type of carb drink during the workout if the duration will be longer than an hour. If you wait to start drinking carbs until 15 min into the workout you will still be burning fat to a large extent.

Finally, do a cardio exercise that utilizes the entire body. Cycling, steppers, or eliptical trainers only utilize the lower body. Yes, these are big muscle groups, but you’d be amazed how fast the fat will fall off after 30-45 min of nordick track or elliptical with arm motion. You will burn approximately 300-500 more cal per hour, depending on intensity, weight etc.