T Nation

Cardio While Gaining Mass, Macros?


#1

Hi all,

I'm not a true beginner, but I feel like these questions belong here. I'm working to lean up while gaining muscle mass.

  1. I'm on a 5 day mass gaining split - each day per body part. 2 days rest. I workout in the mornings (6 AM). Most macros advice caters towards people who workout in the evenings. Is it ok to take the bulk of my carb intake before lunch? My carbs needs are 298 g which is a ton for me. I can hit it if I take a carb supplement post workout, but would that be fine? I've heard that 27 g carbs post workout is ideal.

  2. Similarly, I need to get some cardio into my system. Should I be doing HIIT or regular cardio in the evenings/rest days? What would you say is the most ideal set up? I find that I'm too tired to do HIIT on bike even. I could do regular cardio but take BCAAs again in the evening before and maybe after to make sure I don't cut into muscle mass. BUT... since I'm focusing most of my carb intake around my workout, I won't have any after the cardio. Is that fine?

I'd love to hear thoughts.


#2

Pick one, or fail at doing both.


#3

I would say the important factor here is how lean are you now?

If you are already very lean and want to be shredded, then like goochadamg said, you will fail at trying to achieve both.

However, if you just need to lean up some, like say the 12% ballpark or something, you can clean up your diet and maybe adjust where your carbs are and definitely achieve both goals.

I personally add in my cardio directly after my strength training. Either a stationary bike for 30 minutes or I push a Prowler.


#4

It's not impossible. But unless you've already done both with great success, you won't have the discipline and experience to even attempt to do both at the same time.

OP, here's some actual helpful generic advice:

Train like your gaining mass. Bust your balls. What worked to gain mass while in a caloric surplus will work to maintain mass in a deficit.

Go into a 400-800 calorie deficit. Eat a small meal containing carbs/protein 45 minutes before training, drink a gatorade (or similar carby sports drink) while training, and eat a big normal meal after.

Eat slightly less carbs on off days.

Do this consistently for 3 months. Report back with awesome before/after pictures.

If you're a newbie, you might gain some muscle. Don't count on it, though. But you will look better.

Such nonsense. There's no way that could always be the case. Is it 27g if I'm just doing arms? What if I did cardio after? What if I'm 150lb? What if I'm a lean 200lb bodybuilder? Male? Female? Leg day? What about my horomone profile? Is it optimal even if I have low T or high T? What about my cortisol levels?

Don't even think about optimizing it to that level; you're going to just set yourself up for failure when you can't do it. No need to be so anal.

I don't think cardio is actually strictly necessary for most people to lose fat if they're not trying to get super lean and can actually control their diet. If you stall on fat loss and calories are already low, just walking can do wonders. Don't go all gung ho out of the gate on cardio; again, you're just going to set yourself up for failure when you can't stick to it.

TLDR; train like you mean it, eat less food, be consistent, look better.


#5

Very helpful all. After more research, where I am is this:

  • I've been distributing my carbs fairly evenly throughout the day just to hit my macros. I'm going to re-focus my carbs around my 6 AM lifting sessions (curbing carb intake around noon after lunch). Instead of adding 27 g of oats to my PWO protein shakes, I'll double or maybe triple my carb intake here. That'll actually really help me meet my macros goals. I read somewhere that 1/4 of your carb intake should come post workout...maybe I'll try that.

  • I'm not lean. I'm about 18% bodyfat, and I eat crazy clean. I've added caffeine, green tea extract and fish oil supplement stack. I've seen results doing what I'm doing, but they have been really slow. Muscle gains come slowly. Fat loss comes slowly. Both happens. I'll just try adding 2-3 cardio sessions a week and see how things go. I don't think I'm ready for a full on cut quite yet and if I can still get gains while leaning up the way I have been doing, I think I'd prefer that. I'd welcome any thoughts about this plan.

goochadamg - quick question. I wake up, take my BCAA+Creatine+protein shake and head off to the gym at 6 AM, so no pre-workout meal. Should I take in some carbs before my workout in my shake? I obviously carb it up right after I get back fro mthe gym...but before I go I could add oats to my shake or use milk instead of water or eat a tortilla role or something.


#6

Yeah. Eat a banana or some toast, maybe with a cup (8oz) of fat-free milk (IIRC fat slows down carb ... absorbtion? It probably doesn't matter much). Just put the milk in your shake. That will give you like ~30g of carbs.

Or a cliff bar. I like cliff bars.

Or just eat something stupid like a cliff bar.

This is generally the case. Muscle gains are super slow in the best of circumstances. Fat loss can happen at 1-2lbs a week. Muscle gains won't be anywhere near that.

That's why trying to maintain weight and lose fat is a bad idea; in order to do that, the fat you lost has to be replaced by muscle... but no way in hell will the rate of muscle gain be fast enough to keep up with the fat loss especially if you're in a state of caloric deficit most of them in order to burn the fat.


#7

One thing you might be able to realistically do is bring up a lagging body part.

If you've neglected a smaller muscle group like triceps, biceps, calves, rear delts, or medial delts or something.. focus on it while you lose fat. You might actually gain some muscle in that area. It's like isolated newbie gains.