T Nation

Cardio

Hey T People…

I really wanted to know what most of you people though about cardio. Do you do it? If so how long?

I know if you do to much it’s catabolic and we don’t want that, but I’m going to start CW’s TBT next week and was thinking of doing 20-30 minutes on the bike and some ab stuff on my off days. Does anyone see an issue with this? Oh yeah, I’d like to cut a few pounds of flab before I go on a bulking cycle around January sometime.

Thoughts???

Thanks…

LJ

Being in the military I have no choice but to do cardio. Back in the States, I usually do interval training not exceeding 15-20 minutes per session. This includes either sets of 50m,100m,200m or the dreaded 400m. Once or twice a week I do a 2 miler and try to beat the time from the previous run each time. This type of training helps keep me lean without sacrificing too much muscle or strength.
I think 20-30 minute sessions on a stationary bike would be counterproductive if you are trying to minimize lean tissue loss while shedding some excess pounds. Just my .02

You should do some cardio. It’s good for the heart and it can help with recovery between gym sessions.

I don’t think you need an excessive amount (2-3 days a week for 20-30 minutes should be fine).

Or, you could go the way of HIIT and keep the sessions shorter, but more intense.

Then again, depending on how you train, your weight sessions may be like cardio.

When I do cardio, I prefer fun activities (mountain biking, inline skating, frisbee, flag football, swimming) or doing HIIT style workouts.

Currently, my cardio is at a bare minimum since my goal at this point is size and strength, and I’m keeping all other activity on the downlow at the moment.

I know most people on this site do little or even no cardio. But I feel that your heart is too important to neglect. Yes, you can raise your heart rate a little during weight training, but it seldom stays in your target heart range if you are wearing a heart rate monitor. But, it all depends on what your goals are. If you are looking to get huge, a lot of cardio is probable not advised. That being said, I’m not looking to get huge. I want to be muscular, lean, but above all…healthy. I ride a road bike 3X per week at nearly 20mph over a hilly course for 17 miles. I also do CW’s TBT workout. I find that they both compliment eachother and I feel great. I’m 36 yrs old, 5’10" and 185 lbs ov lean muscle. Yes, its possible to weight train and do cardio at the same time.

LJ4174,

I’m not gonna say there is a right or wrong way to do cardio. But in my opinion, HIIT is best…usually. I occasionly use a lower intensity session to aid in recovery from an intense lift. Read C.T.‘s Training Quiz for Smartasses article and see his explanation of the benefits of HIIT sessions. I agree w/ what says, plus it is more time efficient…which I LOVE! If you are lookin’ to get leaner, the “type” of cardio you do will pretty much be irrelevant if you don’t have your nutrition in order.

When you go into your mass phase, I’d say 1-2 times a week will be enuf cardio.

GL,

Danny

I do low intensity cardio. I like it because it does not affect my recovery.

When I cut I do HIIT - and low intensity cardio -.

Cardio:

It all depends on what your goals are.

If you want to burn fat, then do cardio such that your heart rate is very low. I at one time would ride an exercise bike for an hour. I could get off the bike and not feel tired (it is the low heart rate thing).

If you want to race bikes then you must ride hard and I mean HARD. Racing is a totaly different animal.

If you want to get in shape then do interval training. I used to ride the exercise bike at the highest level (20) on interval hill climb mode for one hour. I drank one liter of water while riding and one after. I took a beach towel with me because I sweat like crazy at that effort. The PTs at the gym almost fell over when I asked how can I get it to go at a higher level.

If you exercise with enough effort to raise your heart rate up after some time cortisol will be released into your blood stream. This is one reason workouts are recommended to be short. Drinking a high GI drink causes the body to release insulin and this insulin tends to clear the cortisol.

LJ4174,
I sometimes believe we tend to overthink issues related to weight training. Years ago, admitedly before alot of the more precise information we have today was widely available, I would use 45mins. of tread mill or bike on my off days AND after training sessions, in order to cut body fat.

I always lost significant amounts of body fat while simultaneously gaining muscle! So, I sometimes believe we try to be too careful–to tweak every detail too precisely. The human body can take a lot of stress/volume if other factors are optimized (e.g., diet, supplements, rest, etc.).

Now, having said this I need to mention:

A) I was a lot younger when I did this (about 10 years–jesus!).

B) I was always starting at fairly high body fat levels. Research has demonstrated that those starting at higher body fat levels during dieting lose less/no lean mass. Dr. Connelly postulated years ago that those with over 10% body fat can pay the “caloric expense” of building new muscle from their body fat deposits. This was revolutionary–at least in the popular bodybuilding literature. Thus, he said, you can both lose body fat AND build new muscle IF other (primarily nutritional) factors are in place.

C) I always used a MRP that had high levels of casein protein in it. Research has demonstrated for years that casein has unique anti-catabolic properties. It preserves lean body mass by increasing total nitrogen retention better than whey–especially useful during dieting.

Crowbar

Here’s my own .02 on this issue:

For the last two years I have actually done mostly just cardio and unfortunately lifted weights very rarely compared to the 3-4 times per week I used to do for the ten years before that. I built up a good lean muscle base over that time and since doing the cardio I’ve found that my weight actually stayed very consistent and hovered around the 92-95kg range, depending on how much cardio I was doing at the time.

Most of the cardio was the rowing machine, road cycling and swimming. My runnning is limited due to an old knee injury, but I still managed to train for and compete in a 14km “fun run” this August. I think the fact that I mostly did rowing and cycling instead of running helped me keep muscle bulk due to the fact that they are kind of “resistance” exercises (Note: If you want some really ripped calf muscles just ride up a heap of steep hills!).

All of this was done without a strict nutrition program and I’ve only started using protein shakes in the last month since reading all the great info here at T-nation and am starting to plan my eating to suit my goals, although I think my diet had most of the right things in it anyhow.

I guess this just reinforces what some of the other guys have said about different people react in different ways to a training program. I seem to keep bulk when doing cardio but find it hard to burn off a heap of fat to get real muscle definition, while someone else doing the same workout as me might lose everything! Try different things and see what works out the best. For example I’ve just started throwing in some HIIT in the mix and will interested to see what results I get in the next few months.

BG