T Nation

Nutrition for Cardio Bulk

Sorry for all the questions recently. I’m going through a MAJOR mental reajustment here in that I need to gain some serious mass and hopefully relatively quickly. I’ve been slowly losing for like 10 months now, culminated by an illness that left me INCREDIBLY skinny.

SO, my calories are WAY up…trying to keep them mostly clean, lots of protein, some good fats, and trying to add back in those carbs.

I have been always working out when I wake up just on whey…now I’m adding in carbs pre-workout. Is it enough to have just some whey, cottage cheese, and a banana upon waking 1 hr. pre-workout? I’m not sure my stomach could take more pre. Or should I really try to add in non-fruit carbs before.

Same goes for after…are quick carbs essential, or would yogurt and banana be okay and oats 1 hr. later.

Then question goes for cardio…again…if it’s about 1 hr. after waking, should I be having a lot of carbs before or after?

And then finally…if I’m in a calorie surplus does any of this even matter?

Thanks so much!

That’s a lot of questions!

As for the post cardio meal, I’d suggest that you may not need to worry about getting a fast carb source at this point since you probably haven’t depleted your glycogen stores (at least according to the cardio description).

On the rest, I’d guess that it may be more optimal to get in a quick carb source and insulin spike, but if you are eating plenty of good foods it shouldn’t be a problem.

Instead, I’d be more concerned with getting something like cottage cheese, Metabolic Drive and a touch of peanut butter right before heading off the sleep… as that’s an extended catabolic period.

sarah1, you don’t have to eat a lot in the meal before your workout. You just don’t want to be working out on an empty stomach. I like the fact that you’re having a whey protein shake. It’s a fast-digesting protein, meaning the protein will hit your bloodstream more quickly than a slow-digesting protein like casein.

Skip the cottage cheese or have just a little bit. Cottage cheese is high in casein, a slow-digesting protein. Casein forms a gelatinous ball in your stomach. If you’re eating it before working out, it may sit a bit heavy on your stomach.

Honestly, I’d prefer to see you have the whey protein IMMEDIATELY upon rising and then sipping 1 liter of Surge during your workout and consuming another liter upon the conclusion of your workout. And then an hour later you should consume a starchy carb P+C meal. Starchy carbs are oatmeal, sweet potatoes, yams, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, amaranth, barley, brown rice. A serving of fruit in that meal would be complementary, too.

You don’t have to go gang busters in the bulking department, sarah1 … just be steady and consistent … steadily and consistently eat at a slight caloric excess.

Since you’re bulking, I’d prefer to see you limit cardio to no more than 2 HIIT sessions per week. HIIT, of course, stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It only lasts for 20 minutes – 5 minutes of warming up at an easy pace and then doing seven all-out 30-second sprints, followed by 90 seconds at a slower pace so that you heart rate comes down and your breathing normalizes.

Make sure you’re doing resistance training and cardio on different days. the only difference in how you would eat on those two days would be the Surge. You only need Surge on resistance training days.

Hope that helps. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Sarah, just going to chime in again and say that I think you should really back off the cardio for a while. You need to focus on gaining weight, health and strength. Your body needs as much rest as possible to help you gain lean mass and you are also recovering from being very sick.

It’s OK to baby yourself for a little while. Once you’ve made some great gains, you can add the cardio back in to help you lean out (if necessary). Overusing the cardio now just means it won’t be as useful of a tool for you to use later.

Edited to add: Back when I trained with Charles Staley for 3 months, he had me lifting 4 days a week and doing NO cardio. I maintained my weight while dropping 2% bodyfat. I was playing casual softball twice a week and going for the occasional walk with the kids.