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Conditioning if Trying to Gain Weight on 5/3/1?


I've been doing 5/3/1 without any running or other cardio (so I guess it's not EXACTLY 5/3/1). Since I'm trying to gain weight, I figured this was a good idea. However I've both gotten in pretty terrible conditioning shape (heavy breathing after not doing very much) and I've heard that a bit of cardio can help stimulate one's appetite.

Even if I'm naturally very lean and trying to gain weight (I would like to get to ~200 lbs), would it be a good idea to include some cardio?

If so, I'm thinking 20-30 minutes of steady biking/running or 15-20 trips of sled pulling, 2-3 times per week. Or whatever is suggested.

Just to cover the basics:
I'm 180, 5' 10", visible abs - squat 315, bench 240, deadlift 385, full clean 225

My workouts:
press, dips, pull-ups, curls
power snatch, deadlift, GHR, sit-ups
bench, incline dumbbell press, dumbbell row, curls
power clean, squat, GM, side bends

breakfast, lunch, and dinner - meat + stuff my face
after workout (~8PM) - weight gainer shake (~1250 calories)

I realize this isn't very precise. I am working on it. But I've still be gaining weight consistently (~1 lb/ 1-2 weeks - was 165 in September).

Thanks for any suggestions.


If/When you decide to include conditioning, expect your lifts to initially fall. After a little while they'll be back where they were. Also be sure to eat extra to compensate for the extra activity. And your diet doesn't have to be precise unless it just helps you for some personal reason or your getting contest ready. All you have to remember is if your not gaining weight and you want to gain, eat more. And vice versa. If you do that and your getting plenty of protein and you 'bring it' to the gym, yet pick and choose your battles as well you should be making steady progress.


I like to do sprints 1-2 times a week to maintain athleticism. I feel like they serve as active recovery as well. Sled pulls would work for this too.

I wouldn't do anything steady state.


Make sure you progress on your conditioning as well. So go farther in the same amount of time or do the workout like the sled pulls faster. And obviously you'll have to eat more to compensate for the extra energy expenditure. I always found I gained weight faster when I included some conditioning work. There is a guy who has a gflux theory that states this but my evidence is just my experience.


Cardio is very individual, some guys might need a 45 minute walk every morning (yours truly) and some guys might not need any and still be lean. You have to find the amount your body needs to stay WHERE YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE for the majority of the year. Many guys are willing to sacrifice being lean for a while to make sure they are gaining mass, and then diet off the extra fat in a few weeks later on, some guys arent. Figure this out for yourself and get it done.


I've done the difficult kind of conditioning like hill sprints and HIIT and my strength tends to drop off if I keep it up for more than once or twice a week (depending on stress levels). But I do find it to be great kick start for the metabolism and feeling more comfortable in my body. Even when I'm doing a hard bulk, I'll at least go on a 30 minute walk with my dogs just about every day. If I don't I start to feel like crap after a while like sweating all the time, feeling winded from going up stairs, and that kind of thing.