T Nation

Cardio When Bulking


I am looking for thoughts on performing cardio when bulking. For those of us with more endomorphic tendencies who would like to limit fat gain in off season. Just re-read Christian T.'s "truth about bulking" and he wrote that it would be difficult for a natural person past the "newbie gain" to gain mor ethan 7-10 lbs of muscle per yr.

He said .25-.5 lbs of dry muscle weight per week could be added and that glycogen would accompany this weight gain at a certain ratio so that 10 lbs of muscle weight would look like 14 lbs scale weight if no fat was added. What are people's thoughts on cardio during bulking? ( I am thinking of low intensity , ie TM walking on inc. at ~ 3mph for ~ 30 min in AM with BCAA's about 1-2x per week)

Many thanks for input


Anyone trying to make some statement about how much someone can gain PER WEEK is misguided because they are taking a generalization about muscle gained over extended periods of time and trying to come up with a daily schedule. Yeah, most people will be hard pressed to gain more than 5-10lbs of lean body mass past beginners gains in a year. But guess what? Your body isn't that simple. You may end up with a NET of "10lbs" gained in a year past newbie gains, but the chance of you simply gaining ONLY lean body mass are pretty damn slim without both testosterone and GH use (this is assuming the goal is LARGE amounts of muscle gained and not "toning").

That is why many people bulked up. That guy who does may gain MORE than 10lbs of muscle in a year even if he loses some in the process of losing body fat....but he has a way better chance of building anywhere near the most muscle he can in one year than the guy who thinks that he can hold back gains and ONLY gain muscle.

Right now, my waist is smaller than it was when I came into the military weighing about 225-230lbs...by more than an inch. Even if you work that out to "X" number of pounds of lean body mass over all of those years, you would be ignoring that if you really tracked progress like a line graph, you would see rises and falls and not just one linear movement in only one direction.

I am pretty positive that the guys expecting that line to move in only one direction with no fat gains will limit their gains overall in the long run...no matter how much someone else says they can gain per week.


I don't think the cardio would hurt. I tend to gain weight fast so during this off-season, I'll be incorporating cardio. Probably 20 minutes (I hate long cardio) 2-3x a week on lower carb days. Right now, I'm biking to work, but during the colder months I'll be hopping on the treadmill in the morning.


Cardio won't hurt. Excessive cardio can though. I did sprints today. I doubt that hurt me at all....unless I did those sprints for an hour a day.


eh id say that the use of cardio impending a bulk would really depend on your body type, diet, and current level. If youre a skinny guy looking to add muscle, but arent eating enough for growth to even occur, and try to top it off with cardio, you're going to be in for a long period of disappointment. Why dont you tell us about your body?


Good post.


I figured from this line that he puts on weight/fat easily. Obviously if you have trouble gaining weight, cardio should be the last of your worries.


Yeah, the problem there is, nearly every poster here lately thinks they are an FFB or a "hard gainer" when what they really were was sedentary.

Pictures speak louder than words.


I am at work and dont have any pictures to upload here. I do have some on my home computer i could upload. I do have endomorphic tendencies and was naturally chunky. I am thinking along the lines of 2-3x a week of 20-30 min of Tm walking at an incline similar to "Lowery method". Granted, yes ectomoprhs wouldnt have this issue during a bulk I understand.


I would definetely reccomend cardio offseason. Helps keep bodyfat in check, helps with appetite and offc its good for your health.


If you're not eating enough to grow, how could you call that a bulk?

Anyways my take on it, basically you don't need cardio, but it's also good to do some if you choose.

I'll be hitting cardio this winter while my goals are to increase muscle mass and strength. Helps me stay lean in the process and I like being able to have good cardiovascular health/endurance etc. Make me feel more well rounded as an athlete.


Thats basically the point. How often have you attempted to give someone advice, only to find that their "Eating a ton" isnt a whole lot? What i was getting at is that normally, when someone is worried about Bulking and doing cardio simultaneously, there are other things that need to be looked at.




The General rule I like is to do AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE while gaining as much muscular weight and as little fat as possible. This will be different for every person really... Some people can stay lean with no cardio, some people get fat... You will have to find out where you are in that spectrum

Diet also plays a huge role. Moreso than cardio. A shitty diet = shitty results. Now, if you are eating well and still putting on fat, at that point you have to either cut back a tad on calories, or (in my opinion the better option) add in 1-4 cardio sessions a week.

This will probably be a constant game of figuring things out, and you will make many mistakes along the way... Not enough food, too much food, too much cardio, not enough cardio, etc...

There is a reason why people who have been doing this 10 years are so good at it, they have made all of these mistakes for themselves, figured out their bodies, and are now chugging along on their customized system and reaping the benefits of their hard work.

Other things will also play a factor, like how active you are outside the gym, what kind of job you have, your metabolism, etc... All of these things make it impossible for anyone to give you a blanket statement about cardio during YOUR bulk.


One thing Evan Centopani said that always sticks with me...Paraphrasing here....but, better to eat more and do more cardio than not eat enough.


I was going to comment on that but my post was getting long enough as it was. I LOVE this idea though (I guess we call it "G-Flux" around here, look up the article Berardi wrote on it)

But I think a person who eats 4000 cals and burns 3500 will have a MUCH better physique than the person who eats 3000 and burns 2500 on a bulk.

This kind of metabolic "momentum" will add up like crazy over 3-5 years time, believe it.

More Work + More Food will always win in my experience.


I think u guys pretty much already gave him all the advice I was going to comment on except one. From my personal experience last year I went up to 292lbs gaining alot of weight in an 8 month period. cardio is a must for me just for the fact that it helps my body deal with all the weight gain. Don't forget when u get caught up in putting on all the muscle don't neglect the most important one your heart.
With that being said I keep it very mild like walking on the rolling stairs at a slow pace for 30-45 minutes on non lifting days.


farmer's walks, tire flips, sledge hammer work, prowler push/pulls, hill sprints.

do these things often. it will increase your awesomeness level.


I remember reading something on here awhile ago about never letting your waist to get passed 37 inches. If your waist surpassed that then you were doing things wrong and need to rethink your routine. Do you generally follow this guideline? Surely just telling a beginner to bulk and bulk can lead to confusion and lots of excess fat gain. Where do you recommend some damage control, i'd imagine this is unique to individuals but a general guideline might be good to throw out there.


Ya know I know this is accepted by most here, but I think it's somewhat BS...for me anyway. It's one of those things that I hear all the time and just accepted as truth, but like many other things it didn't matter. I haven't done off season cardio in the last 2 years and have made far better muscle:fat gains than the 2 years prior to that when I was doing cardio (tried different types at different times). Same goes for the idea that low carbs work for better lean gains...I gain fat easily so I figured that something like the anabolic diet would be better for me, but I gained fat way faster than a traditional approach of moderate levels of all macros.