T Nation

CV Health and Bulking


I have been able to put on some weight (albeit slowly) and my numbers are going up, but one thing I notice is I get winded going upstairs about 3-4 floors. I have heard this is common. I am not currently doing any CV training and I have about 2 to 3 recovery days per week. Are there any guidelines for cardio? I'm reluctant to add it in because I'm taking longer than 1 lb a week in gaining weight.

Thanks for reading.

EDIT: I refreshed my memory with this from Brick's first post on the bodybuilding bible

"> STEADY-STATE Cardio as need for in- and off-season for 20 to 60 minutes. YEAH, that's right - NO fucking intervals, kettlebell complexes, sandbag hauling, or anything else that 240+ pound bodybuilders NEVER do"

I am thinking of just adding 20 - 30 minutes of incline treadmill walking. Would supplementation during this period be useful? When I used to do cardio it would be trying to get within an heart rate range but I am guessing it would be unnecessary to be that specific.


Honestly, I wouldn't add it in unless you BP numbers or some other quantifiable indicator gets too high. "Getting winded" is simply a side effect of your body carrying around more mass than it used to. When I first got up to 220 last winter, I felt like a lumbering bear. I'd been 160ish for so long, that everything I did felt slow and calculated. Now, at the same weight after a bit of damage control, I'm running comfortably and moving quite nimbly again.

I'd imagine this occurs on a much larger scale the more weight you add or the higher in the 200's you get in terms of weight. Keep an eye on the blood pressure though if there's any sort of family history. I had to do damage control because my blood pressure got up to prehyptertensive levels because I was eating like shit and doing zero cardio. My own fault, though.

Anyways, if gains are that slow, I'd be hesitant to add in cardio as it may slow things down even more, unless of course there's some necessary reason for reintroducing it.


Nothing wrong with a bit of cardio during a bulk. People are usually afraid of cardio because they're obsessed with scale numbers (even if they're just gaining fat). Ignore the scale, look at the mirror. Twenty minutes of cardio on off days in the morning, or occasionally on training days is not going to ruin you. Even some hill sprints on the weekend would do you good.


This. I preffer not to do cardio as well (c'mon, it's fucking HORRIBLE,) but a little isn't going to hurt anything at all.

...for whatever it's worth, the elliptical is my weapon of choice. A high incline with a good resistance for 15-30 minutes.


My tip is to simply walk if you're going somewhere not too far away; at least for me this kind of removes the aspect of "lame ass cardio", to simply walking to the place you're going.


Thanks guys!


it's a non-issue


My thoughts, if you are happy with how you look just push through.

If you don't like how you look then tidy up your diet, and if still in doubt or whatever, do some cardio.

Brief related story, in my first six months of training (just over 2 years ago now) and eating I put on 10kg, sure it wasn't "clean" but I didn't give a shit cause I needed to force my body to change (a decade of cardio based training requires drastic steps). Weirdly, for having been pretty fit only 6 months ago (cardio went bye bye), I felt out of breath walking up stairs etc, but I just pushed on through and got used to the new bodymass being added. I didn't 'recomp' for another year when I had to make sure I fit a few clothes and looked tidy for my friend's wedding photos.

Now, I'm sitting at a happy +18kg from baseline in a little over 2.5years and haven't regretted a choice yet (apart from the ones I listed in the biggest mistake thread, but lets just pretend they don't exist).

Could I have got here trying to go up "clean" and worrying about that initial shock on the road (running out of breath), I honestly don't think so. The only time I did think the 'dirty mass' was getting away from me was the wife complaining about my sudden snoring onset when I went through the 100kg barrier (just prior to my planned recomp anyway).

Moral to a long-winded story...JUST PUSH THROUGH.


I come from an endurance background, so CV health (read: getting out of breath too quickly) has never been an issue for me.
Nevertheless: twice in the past 3 years I hadn't been too happy with my general CV 'tougness' and started to incorporate tabata squats. Worked wonders in a rather short time frame (4-6 weeks) and was still pretty close to regular lifting. I hadn't other leg work, though, so I did at least 5 tabata sessions a week.

A friend of mine who's been bulking for the last 7 months recently (~ 4 weeks ago) started incorporating HIIT (bike, hill sprints) and tabata squats to tackle his getting out of breath rather quickly. He usually treats his HIIT as part of his leg training. Seems to be working for him (he's still getting stronger on a consistent basis).

Of course, it's hard to measure how much this dabbling in CV takes away from his progress in leg training (after all, there is always a trade-off).
His main reason for using the HIIT approach: run o' the mill cardio is boring to him - and it's pretty hard for him to stick to boring stuff.