T Nation

How much Cardio

I know … NONE! That’s what I’ve been doing.

But, if I want to bump up my fitness level, get more out of my days on the water, how much can I do and not lose the muscle I’ve worked so hard for.

Training westside style mon-wed-fri-sun right now.

Maybe some post workout cardio? How long?

Intensity level? %max HR?

Some interval work? Some sprints?

Ah, since doing doing only cardio work since 1982, adding wts. 3 yrs ago, I might be able to help in the cardio area. Unless a person is really lean (single b.b. %), most fears of losing muscle in great quanity aren’t really founded. The order of fueling that the body takes generally runs this way–(again assuming person isn’t very lean to start with) 1. fuel in the bloodstream, when this runs out, 2. stored fat, 3. muscle breakdown. For most people, it never goes past #2 since there is enough fat to stop #3 from starting. The insurance I use is the proper pre and post workout meals and/or supplements for replenishment. Others covered this–continue reading this mag and the intellegent posts by others for more insights. I generally do cardio-quality work 3x a week, on non-wt. days, maybe more sometimes, it depends. It isn’t an absolute science.

Quest - your point 3 on muscle break down is only true if not on a calorie deficit diet during a cutting cycle. If on low carb calorie deficit cutting diet, when blood sugar gets low, muscle break down does occur to continue to fuel the brain as fueling the brain always takes precedence over other functions and the brain cann’t burn fat - only glucose (unless on keto diet of course where the brain can burn ketones but most diets are isocaloric). Just wanted to make that clarifiy that exception.

Just my opinion, but anything over 20 min 3X per week is overkill. That is unless your going for fatloss, in that case you may do cardio for longer periods. Westside uses the sled, medballs, and wheelbarrels for GGP to increase work capacity and to keep the ticker running smoothly. Cardio bores the hell out of me so I’m starting to incorporate Tabaka sprints into my workout (12 minutes, 4 min warmup, 4 minute cool down and 4 min intervals consisting of 20 sec. sprints / 10 sec. rest at about 150% max VO2: as hard as you could go). This method increases max VO2 and anarobic threshold better then other methods. I don’t think they measured it’s effectivness for fat loss but I’m sure it will kick ass.

Good additions. But I’m just weird–I enjoy cardio stuff almost as much as the iron. Cardio is a guilt reliever for me also. Oreos call my name, I get weak and answer sometimes. You’re right, there is a point of no returns with more cardio just like pumping iron. Thanks for expanding on my post, guys. After I hit “send” I think, “I could have added this, or said that”.

Thanks for the responses. The “Tabaka sprints” sound interesting. I’ll have to search on that. I was doing cardio 3x per week a while back doing one 20min interval workout, the “50 yard dash” program and one ice hockey game. I lost 15 lbs (190-175) in about 5 weeks. Definitely lost some fat but feel I lost some muscle too. I think I’m fairly lean at this point but not sure what my BF% is. I backed off the cardio and am back up to about 181 now and my belt has not gotten any tighter. Thinking I’ll add some cardio back in and watch things closely. Maybe twice a week.