T Nation

I Need To Start Cardio


So I've just come back from my GP (the doctors) because as an asthmatic I need to get my prescription for the winter, generally speaking I'm fine in the summer and well I've been doing my own version of 5x5 which is a mix of starting starting strength and stronglifts
Tuesday squat 5x5
Incline bench 5x5
Clean 5x3

Thursday Front squat 5x5
weighted Dips 5x5
Bentover rows 5x5

Sunday squat 5x5
push press 5x5
deadlift 1x5
so basically this has given me good strength gains (really good actually) and now my doctor says I should add cardio to my training as it will aid my asthma and my martial arts (i do that 1hr on saturday)

and I guess I agree, it would help with the both of them and I don't know how to approach cardio without killing my strength gains. (Any advice!) HIIT low intensity (I DON'T KNOW!?!?)

oh and im not "genetically gifted" at strength training so that's why i'm seeking help
oh and
Age 19
Height 183cm/6ft
weight 70kg/154lbs
bf % 13-15

i'm guessing im going to have to recalculate my TDEE cause im going to have to eat more now.


Well, since you have asthma, sounds like something you should ease into. Sounds like you have no real goal conditioning-wise, which leaves it pretty open.

Justin Lascek, who comes from a PLing background, said the simplest way is to just walk for 7-8 minutes in one direction, and then walk back in less time than it took you to get there. Next time, try to walk further in the same amount of time, etc… and eventually add more time.

I would imagine this will become more of a challenge for you as the winter months roll around.

However, since doc prescribed “cardio,” I’m not sure if this could get the heart-rate up enough to actually qualify as “cardio”


Do NOT do intervals or sprints straight away. I have a predisposition for spastic bronchitis; this type of condition means you have to earn your lungs with steady state cardio first. Start with 2-3 fast-paced walks per week; when this gets easy, go on 2-3 mile runs instead. Once you feel like you could push the envelope on these without suffocating, you can do whatever you want. And don’t worry about atrophy- as long as you do not train for a marathon, you’ll be fine. The whole ‘cardio eats muscle’ thing has been exaggerated in recent years.


I have exercise-induced asthma. That basically means I’m fine under most conditions, but at a certain point I start coughing and having some trouble breathing. I used to be a distance runner, and I wasn’t diagnosed back then. What that usually meant was that I was fine during training, but during competition when I pushed myself a little harder than normal, I’d start having trouble breathing toward the end of the race (which would usually lead to coughing, collapsing to the ground, then getting up and finishing the race).

I recently started using a rowing machine. What I found is that up until a certain level I’m fine, but after that point, I have issues. Now that I’ve done it a few times, I have a decent idea exactly where the intensity starts to trigger the bronchoconstriction.

You may want to use a heart-rate monitor so that you can tell where things start to be an issue for you. The more time you spend just short of that trigger point, the better off you’ll be. That way you can keep progressing both in time and pace, without triggering episodes.

Basically as nighthawkz said, start slow with walking, then move to a slow run, and then keep pushing the pace as your cardiovascular system adapts to the training. You can start with a 10 minute session, then push it to 15 minutes, then to 20 minutes over time. I really don’t see any reason to go over 30 minutes for cardio in a given session – at least for fitness purposes. I personally think it’s better to have more frequent sessions than longer sessions.

As far as medication, the adult and pediatric recommendation seems to be a puff from the [albuterol] inhaler about 20 minutes before exercise.


Thanks guys I think I’m going to do light cardio on Mondays Wednesday Friday (walking) when I get a bit better I’ll make it Monday and Wednesday only but ill be running by then

i’ll take the advice on board!