T Nation

Moderate Conditioning to Gain Mass


So this might be an odd question, but I'd appreciate some input.

For someone like me who is 140lbs and knows that too much conditioning is a road block to strength/ mass gains. How would you recommend moderating conditioning?

Background: Cross-country runner/wrestler. Run about 15 min (averaging 8.8 mph on a treadmill) 3 times a week. Run about 20 minutes once a week. (I enjoy running) I also do weighted bear crawls another day as conditioning.

I use 531 and I understand what type of conditioning, like walking and prowler pushes(don't have access to), are recommended for strength/mass gains. The reason I'm posting this is because I have an extremely hard time giving up conditioning. I'll admit it, I have an extreme phobia of getting fat/ losing my abs (I'm getting better about this though I hope). I don't need to share my life story, but I've dealt with depression and talked to a counselor. So really the biggest obstacle for me is emotionally/ mentally.

So if anyone has some advice on how to find a balance between the conditioning I do now and something more conducive, I'm all ears.


You might consider separating your cardio and lifting sessions as much as possible.

The popular answer is to give up the intense cardio and just walk or do none if you really want to gain mass. However, you say you love running and working out shouldn't be about giving up what you love. Especially if you've dealt with depression issues in the past.

Do your cardio first thing in the morning. Feel good about yourself and know you've earned the right to fuel your body. Spend the rest of the try trying to get anabolic and eating plenty of good quality whole foods. Get your strength sessions in later in the day when you're in a fully fed state.



Don't sweat it too much, do what you enjoy.

I hear you on the depression, but you need to be clearer to yourself about your goals. If you want to gain, the sooner you rid yourself of the need to be ultra lean the better. Doesn't mean you become a fatass.

Set yourself a waist size that's 1-2 inches bigger than yours is right now and tell yourself you're gonna gain size and strength until you hit that waist measurement. Then when you do (and you'll still be lean at this point), keep your eating constant, considate your strength and work off the lard. Then begin the process again.

Good luck man.


thanks guys. I really appreciate the responses. I know it's not ideal to have two have two goals; and in the week or two, I'm going to try and figure things out.


If you guys see these and have an opinion, let me know. If I'm truly looking for a good workout--or in other words a "burn"-- treadmill sprints be a better option for my goals (versus my current running program)? I've been looking at CT's running man:

and Jim Wendler's recommendation of Incline treadmill sprints: "Here was/is a typical workout for me on the treadmill (sprints). After a good warm-up start at 8 or 9 MPH. Do 10 seconds on/30-40 seconds off. Raise the incline gradually and raise the speed too. I usually end up at 11 or 12 mph at the end. But start too slow and build up over several workouts. No less than 20-30 sprints. I have also done 20 second sprints ? but this will kill you." These both sound puke-worthy, and I feel like implementing these several times a week (I was thinking 3X per week) would be a better complement my mass gaining dreams while still appeasing my obsession with cardio and staying lean. Since I'm following 5/3/1, it would be 4 days of lifting and 3 days of sprinting..


I hear you dude, I had a similiar problem. I was a chubby kid and for a long time I was obsessed with being lean and than staying lean. Nothing wrong with being lean and healthy, but when you get to the point of obsession on the matter, it's time to soul-search and work shit out.

I am now far more concerned with losing conditioning levels, as I am also trying to put on some mass, though my main goal is just to be ridiculously strong. I train with 5/3/1 4/x per week, with hill sprints after the lower body sessions and some tabata intervals using stuff like heavy bag, sledgehammer, calisthenics and jumprope on my off days. About 20 minutes worth. So far I managed to gain about 5lbs without putting on any noticeable fat. So it's definately possible. Just make sure you eat enough quality, good whole foods and you'll do fine.

I strongly adhere to Wendlers' stance on training, train to be awesome, the rest will sort itself out accordingly.


Lift heavy, work up to drinking a gallon of whole milk a day. You will put on weight. Keep your cardio steady by incline treadmill walking for 30-45 minutes after lifting. Thank me later.

FWIW: I wouldnt be saying this if I havent done it myself.


I believe that the whole paradigm that you can do all kinds of cardio at 70% MHR, except running, and not have effect your lifting is BS. Running is fine as long as you realze that your body only has so much energy and you plan according through trial and error.