T Nation

Cardio While Bulking?

Question y’all, I’m currently in a calorie surplus of 500. Would doing my weight training in the am and 15 minutes of moderate cardio in the evening 3 days a week inhibit gains? If so do I just increase my surplus. I want to try and add lean mass and minimize fat obviously. Thanks ahead of time for the help.

1 Like

Yes.

1 Like

So if I decide to just drop the cardio the 500 surplus should be fine?

Maybe. Try to gain 0.5-1lbs per week. If you don’t succeed, increase calories by 250-500 calories if you gained less than 0.5lbs. If you gained more than 2lbs, decrease calories by 250-500. If you gained more than 1lbs but less than two either decrease calories a little, do more cardio, or adjust nothing.

45 minutes of weekly cardio isn’t going to hurt you at all. In fact, it’s likely to improve your recovery capacities. I think it’s a huge mistake to drop all cardio in today’s world. In the short term, you’ll have a tough time recovering between sets and workouts. In the longer term, your health markers will absolutely be negatively impacted.

6 Likes

I would recommend keeping the cardio:

  • 15 min x 3 times a week is not enough to dig yourself into a gains ditch.

  • It can help keep your gains honest (lean).

  • Keeps a base aerobic capacity which in turn will help your lifting efforts.

  • Moderate health benefits.

  • Possibly speed recovery and reduce soreness.

8 Likes

During my cut I did 2 days of Hiit 30 minute sessions and 5 lifting days. Now I want to focus on arms and shoulders (2 days of each per week) a bit more so that’s why I have completely taken my cardio only days away. Should I keep my cardio moderate or do the HIIT 3x15 minutes in the evening?

Why not both?

Cycle week by week or rotate day by day depending on how you feel physically and mentally.

Feeling Olympic? Go hard.

Feeling not so Olympic? Back off but get it done.

Sounds good man! Thank you and everyone else for the help. I feel a lot better about keeping the cardio up knowing I’ll still see gains.

LISS cardio would be optimal while bulking. Personally, I would just walk for an hour three times per week.

If that’s the case I get enough at work lol

Do it either right after your training sessions or after meals to get best effect.

There’s something magical about both times. After training I get a better net effect. After meals my digestion is much smoother and, likely mental, I feel like I’m blunting the potential fat storing effects of the meal.

Also, anytime is just fine. I just prefer these.

1 Like

I’ll echo the thoughts of @Scott_M who was my favorite poster on here. Here are his thoughts copy/pasted from a decade old thread:

For all the people that always seem to get fat during their “bulk” you’d think more people would look into cardio as a possibility. I’m going against the grain here and saying 3 times a week, 30 minutes of low intensity on your off days. Whatever your training, add 100+ lbs to all your big lifts over the coming months, be religious about your cardio and eat to grow.

When you scan this board and everyone is bulking and cutting every 4-6 weeks because they get too fat during the bulk, then don’t have any size when they cut, you stay consistent and grow without putting on much fat because you didn’t OCD about this whole thing and think 30 minutes of a brisk walk with your dog in the morning is going to eat away all your muscle(watch it increase your appetite so you can grow more).

Here’s the thing. I walk on a treadmill for 45 minutes at a 3.5 mph pace first thing out of bed after some green tea and BCAAs and it says I burn about 275 calories(who knows where that comes from). I would be willing to bet that A) I am able to eat back those 275 calories AND MORE as a direct result of increased appetite from the fasted cardio and B) that the food I’m ingesting post cardio is going to be used more efficiently than had it not been a post cardio meal.

2 Likes

I’ve heard good things about fasted cardio in the morning, but I’ll keep these two times in mind too. Curious, when you do cardio after training, do you do mostly low-intensity stuff, or intervals/high-intensity cardio? I’d imagine it’d be hard to have the energy to do high-intensity cardio right after a hard workout.

1 Like

I’d put fasted behind the two I mentioned, but that’s just my opinion.

Yeah, low intensity. Incline treadmill walking if after workout or outdoors brisk walk if after meal and not at home gym.
@startingagain

1 Like

Thanks for the input!

I always hated low-intensity cardio (too boring). Sprints worked well as a teen to keep the fat away, but I was training for sports then and not for muscle. I do wonder how well sprints would work during a bulk to keep fat gain to a minimum (provided the person eats a bunch more to recover from the sprints). Though I imagine for most, the sprints would start bothering the joints after they reached a certain weight.

@IronOne

1 Like

I love sprints!

However, as you point out, they rob the recovery bank, don’t add to it. I like sprints (all cardio too)for cutting and moderate or LISS for bulking when I’m hammering the weights.

Sprints wreck me if I’m above 80%. I legit need to count it as a lower body workout.

Haha

1 Like

@36_grit, I do cardio for health and performance (probably a 65/35 split lol). I’ve been sidelined by injuries (surgical procedures) and forced to use the exercise bike and elliptical. I usually do sprints or play basketball and count it as cardio. Oddly enough, my resting HR reaches its lowest when I do elliptical or bike 2-3 times a week for 20 minutes. I prefer the 2 min on, 1 min off interval approach. I find it odd because I work harder on the sprints and basketball, but the “easy” choice gets better results.

My point is that your health will thank you for a few sessions of light cardio.

4 Likes

Hey man, just an fyi, a 500 calorie surplus is likely much more than you actually need to build muscle… No need to get fluffy, 100-200 calories does the trick! And yes, I’d keep the cardio. If you gain no weight at all, just bump up a calories a little more.

3 Likes

Do the cardio. It’s good for you, irrespective of everything else you’ve got going on. And LISS is excellent for overall mood and wellbeing. If it means you have to eat an extra 150 calories a day then just eat another 150 calories each day. It’s not a big deal. Besides, 15 minutes of LISS 3x a week isn’t going to make or break your bulk. And if it does then everything else is to blame, not the cardio.

1 Like