T Nation

Cardio, Strength and Size

Hey everyone got a question I am still trying to gain some size (and strength) but have started for a few weeks now increasing my cardio (for boxing) I skip everyday, bag work everyday, and then boxing classes so obviosuly there’s quite a bit of cardio there. I also want to continue lifting 4x a week…how have some of you found that amount of activity for strength and size?

Of course I am going to have to experiment nothing is set in stone but is it possible to still add muscle mass with something with that much activity/cardio?

Diet is 100% in order…I am gettingin 1.5g’s protein per lb. bodyweight and not from shakes.

Each meal is a different type of protein for 50grams (eggs one meal, chicken, steak, porkchop, milk, cheese, cottage cheese, fish- that’s pretty much the staple for proteins in my diet…only time a protein shake is used is after the workout, SOMETIMES if I am in a rush I will mix it with a meal to complete 50 (1 scoop is 24g’s protein, get the rest from the food) but that is rare.

Everything else is bout 80g carbs at each meal, and whatever fats I get from the meat/eggs/cheese, I use extra virgin olive oil with meals, and I eat almonds at some point in the day (usually with my cottage cheese) to cover the fat groups (fish oil daily as well)

What do you guys think? I just always hear that it’s so hard to gain muscle, I’ve added a considerable amount, just wondering how much harder it is with cardio all the time. By the way the intensity in the gym isn’t reduced either, hitting the weights still heavy and hard.


you say each meal but I didn’t see how many meals total. Going as hard as you do you may want to cycle in alot more carbs if you’re still trying to add muscle mass. The cardio is not a problem, many people do that much cardio and still get big but their calories are much higher if your talking only 3 or 4 meals a day. Think Maurious with his pound of bacon in the morning alone would probably top your whole day. Your protein is good but, but if your doing more than 45 minutes of real intense cardio a day your going to need some more carbs.

Most linebackers do insane amounts of cardio and still get up to a solid 240-250

[quote]Airtruth wrote:
you say each meal but I didn’t see how many meals total. Going as hard as you do you may want to cycle in alot more carbs if you’re still trying to add muscle mass. The cardio is not a problem, many people do that much cardio and still get big but their calories are much higher if your talking only 3 or 4 meals a day. Think Maurious with his pound of bacon in the morning alone would probably top your whole day. Your protein is good but, but if your doing more than 45 minutes of real intense cardio a day your going to need some more carbs.

Most linebackers do insane amounts of cardio and still get up to a solid 240-250[/quote]

Just eat more if you see your not gaining. I would think with that much activity, enormous amounts of food, and heavy weights. your gonna be one big sob soon. food intake should be increased according to weather the scale is moving in the right direction or not.

Hey, yeah that was over a course of 6 meals…at each one of those 6 meals one or two is selected from the list of protein I showed and that’s how I get the 1.5grams of protein per lb. bodyweight, and anywhhere from 80-100 carbs at each meal. So It will be around 500-600g’s of carbs a day. Quite a bit.

Fat is around 105grams a day…much over 4000 cals total maybe even 5000 haven’t done all the math for it yet.

Cardio won’t be done intense 45min a day…but the boxing classes are very tough, and then on “off” days it is lifting, bag work, and skipping.

Eventually those days will be more sparring days at other gyms/clubs.

I am guessnig I should shoot for half a pound a week?

Looks like you have it figured out. I wouldn’t hesitate to add a decent amount of simple sugars around all your activities (like juice of gatorade) if you’re eating that much.

That’s alot of work and alot of food!

Yeah it is a lot of food, it’s not eating that’s the problem (well having strep throat right now makes eating harder lol) but it’s the time it takes to PREPARE all the meals. Most of my meals taste like shit, if my dad cooks the meats on the BBQ it always tastes great but usually the yams are cold and whatnot…but i just eat it…

i cant even eat eggs too much so I cook 3 eggs and 4 egg whites and when its done (scrambled) i just chew chew chew drink it down with water or a juice. I don’t even taste for it…then I’ll have a bowl of milk with muesli cereal with bout 90g’s total and that lets me reach my protein (50g’s) and carbs for the morning.

I know you mentioned simple sugars as well…I have been taking 100 grams of dextrose after the very tough boxing days with 2 scoops protein. Is this dextrose good to take? And is it even healthy to take that much sugar in?

On lifting days I’ll take 50g’s of maltodextrin before workouts, and after the workout 50g’s dextrose and a banana. Then usually when my stomach settles and I get home whatever (let’s say 45min-hour) I’ll have my post workout meal (some type of meat, carbs, etc)

I really think I won’t be putting on much fat with this process, I think the activity level is just too high and I’ve heard of a lot of guys (pro athletes) taking in 6000 calories a day and being in the 10% BF range.

I’d probably be hitting up some chinese buffets and junk food if you start feeling overwhelmed by the intake. Also some B12 will help with appetite.

Can you handle GOMAD? That could help.

taking in some extra aminos wouldn’t hurt either. sip during workouts and maybe even have some around meal times.

Never heard of GOMAD I will look it up! And B12- as in buy a bottle of b12 supplements, I’ve never heard that helps with appetite! I don’t have a hard time eating the food though and I think from the super-greens drinks and various fruits + veggies I am getting b12 but I will make sure! And I will defianetly keep that in my mind if I find I can’t eat lol.

agent37 - I have been taking 10-15grams BCAA’s before workouts, and 10g’s after the workout…can’t sip on it during workout is just too intense for that shit and I’d probably puke.

Not sure what is recommended for BCAA’s though…I don’t take it everyday - 4x a week 20-30g’s (only on lifting days, not boxing days)

GOMAD = Gallon of milk a day

haha yeah I typed in GOMAD in google and that surprisingly came up! Mmm I’m not sure if I could, I have never tried. I drink about a litre of milk a day, I do enjoy milk a lot that would actually probably make things a bit easier for me…I buy this cheese that’s like 7 bucks man! It is 4%, has pretty much no fat in it and has 11 grams protein per 30g’s of cheese…really easy to eat and on the go kinda thing can eat it with almonds and what not…but man it’s kinda pricey…But I do not think it is too healthy to eat a lot of cheese that has high fat which most cheeses do…I’m always lookin for lean protein sources and I just think 8 grams of fat per 7 g’s protein isn’t too good.

Oh and buffets will definately be hit up by the way!! lol

why is getting protein from your shakes considered suboptimal rasturai if you have your carbs/fats in order?

Lol well I never said sub-optimal, I just mentioned I get all my protein from food and only time I have a shake is after a workout I’ll have 2 scoops. Really it probably isn’t suboptimal at all and would probably be easier to add in anohter shake instead of a meal of protein from food and just eat whatever carbs/fats but I guess I’m just old school thought it’s better to have food always instead of powder. Don’t get me wrong like I said if I’m in a rush I’ll down a shake but I rather just eat the food, plus I usually mix protein’s so it’s easy to eat…I’ll have chicken and milk, beef usually just 50g’s of beef, cottage cheese and porkchops, etc etc.


I did not mean to come across critical rast, was generally interested in the theory.

haha yeah no theory…just real food 6x a day is better than 3 meals and 3 shakes for protein…in my opinion…really might not make a difference at all but I think it does for me.

i’m totally with you on that one - i seem to just feel better eating whole foods over powders. i’ve actually read somewhere that whey has an extremely high thermogenic quality as compared to other protein sources so it could actually be beneficial in keeping fat at bay (i believe that’s from something layne norton wrote, but i’m not 100% sure if that’s the source, so please don’t quote me on that one!), but i can’t imagine that making a really significant difference. either way, i love to eat so whole food is rarely a problem lol

as for the earlier comment about aminos - i was thinking sip some throughout the day around your meals in addition to workout times. that way you get some being digested along with your food to enhance recovery. seems to work for me as well as a few clients of mine who have started to overreach or after a particularly tough workout. might be worth a try.

Here’s what worked for me…


  1. If possible, implement the Anaconda Protocol. If not, be sure to drastically increase your caloric intake around your workout times…pre, during, and after. This would be a time you would want to use a high quality whey isolate shake.

Personally, I think BCAA tablet blends aren’t as effective as straight L-leucine powder. The L-leucine is fairly inexpensive and you can add it to other meals during the day, not just around workout times.

  1. Buy a high quality trail mix (comprised mostly of nuts, seeds, and a little dried fruit…none of that M&M’s mix). Have a large handful between 2-3 of your daily meals…that should add quite a few calories per day from high quality sources

  2. Have a cheat meal within a couple hours of your hardest training days…I’d start with 3 per week or so, and adjust from there. This will naturally cycle your overall calorie intake, so it’s higher on tougher training days.

  3. Use a control day…lower your carbs on one day (a non-workout day…I would have a fairly large serving at breakfast…fruits, Ezekiel bread, oatmeal, etc and then only vegetables the rest of the day), but keep your protein intake high (or even higher than your normal intake), and the same for fats. You’ll consume a little less calories on this day, but the majority will be from proteins and fats. I believe that if you constantly bombard your body with massive amounts of food day after day, the high influx beomes less effective. Your body adapts to nutrition, just like it does, weight training. Plus, it will give you a break from stuffing your face every single day. You won’t lose muscle mass in one day!!!

  4. Get stonger! I have yet to see anyone who has gained a significant amount of strength, not gain muscle mass…IF, IF, IF they’re eating enough.


Nothing fancy hear…do enough to control body fat levels, if you’re concerned with adding body fat. It sounds like you’re doing a ton already. I would think your current cardio levels are more than enough to minimize fat gain. Any time I’ve ever added a significant amount of muscle, I’ve also put on some body fat.

A simple trick I used to measure my fat gains, was to measure the circumference of my waist directly around my belly button. It’s a crude method, but does the trick to keep your from gaining fat too quickly.

I used this scale:
The maximum acceptable gain in inches around your waist EVERY 2 WEEKS is about 1/8 of an inch. That would mean about 3/4 of an inch gained over a 12 weekperiod, which isn’t terribly bad.

I wasn’t doing near the amount of cardio you’re doing. I hardly did any…maybe 15-20 minutes of moderate treadmill running after each weight training workout. You want to do as little as possible, while still getting stronger, bigger, and recovering between workouts. It’s a totally individual thing, which you know.


I won’t comment on this, other than…Putting on muscle is a serious grind!! Of course it depends on your current training experience, but in my opinion, it’s much, much harder than losing body fat. You have to be vigilant in your efforts, always strive to increase performance, and live the bodybuilding lifestyle 24/7.

These are some of the things that have helped me in my quest for size. Everyone’s a little different, and I hope a couple of the things I said are helpful.