T Nation

Running for Cardio


#1


I like this clip from Elliott Hulse, as I do nearly all of his videos.

Somewhere along the line people started touting that running a few miles here and there--that is, not even pushing the limits with it or making it the bulk of one's training--will have us storing fat and burning muscle. I've always disagreed, but in recent years, many gurus have pushed the notion that one has only two choices for effective cardio: walk at a snail's pace for 30 to 60 minutes at a shot or do 20 to 30 minutes of intervals or do some sprints.

Mentzer used to run for 8 miles at a shot and he was one of the best bodybuilders ever.


#2

I think you should only run if you enjoy it. There are healthier things and better things for physique that can be done


#3

[quote]ryanbCXG wrote:
I think you should only run if you enjoy it. There are healthier things and better things for physique that can be done [/quote]

Yea, I have to agree with Ryan on this one.

I spent a portion of high school as a XC runner, and another portion as a swimmer. I always had more muscle, was leaner, and could eat more as a sprinter in the pool than during XC season.

I don’t think I chalk it up to mere bro-science that it in fact makes your metabolism more efficient and will ultimately be pretty damned catabolic if there’s not enough intense weight training go on to prevent that.

Sure there are anecdotes to the contrary, but these are guys who maintained their physiques IN SPITE of SS cardio…not because of it.


#4

3 miles is fuck all. Once you’re conditioned to it it’s not a big deal.


#5

[quote]jskrabac wrote:

[quote]ryanbCXG wrote:
I think you should only run if you enjoy it. There are healthier things and better things for physique that can be done [/quote]

Yea, I have to agree with Ryan on this one.

I spent a portion of high school as a XC runner, and another portion as a swimmer. I always had more muscle, was leaner, and could eat more as a sprinter in the pool than during XC season.

I don’t think I chalk it up to mere bro-science that it in fact makes your metabolism more efficient and will ultimately be pretty damned catabolic if there’s not enough intense weight training go on to prevent that.

Sure there are anecdotes to the contrary, but these are guys who maintained their physiques IN SPITE of SS cardio…not because of it. [/quote]

You know I like speaking with you and I think you’re reasonable.

But you’re speaking of competitive cross country, which involves specializing in running and making running the bulk of one’s training regimen. I speak of a few runs per week with strength training being the bulk of training.


#6

[quote]some_dude wrote:
3 miles is fuck all. Once you’re conditioned to it it’s not a big deal.[/quote]
You look like a guy who has a good 3 mile time.


#7

[quote]Smashingweights wrote:

[quote]some_dude wrote:
3 miles is fuck all. Once you’re conditioned to it it’s not a big deal.[/quote]
You look like a guy who has a good 3 mile time.[/quote]

Had a good 3 mile time.

Anyway, my point is that as you become adapted to running you become more efficient. As you become more efficient you burn less calories. 3 miles is 20-25minutes for someone with moderate running ability… 20-25 minutes isn’t exactly a hardcore cardio session, nor will it turn anyone into a Kenyan.


#8

LOL’ed at running a tough mudder to purposefully break down muscle cause he was too bulky


#9

[quote]BrickHead wrote:

[quote]jskrabac wrote:

[quote]ryanbCXG wrote:
I think you should only run if you enjoy it. There are healthier things and better things for physique that can be done [/quote]

Yea, I have to agree with Ryan on this one.

I spent a portion of high school as a XC runner, and another portion as a swimmer. I always had more muscle, was leaner, and could eat more as a sprinter in the pool than during XC season.

I don’t think I chalk it up to mere bro-science that it in fact makes your metabolism more efficient and will ultimately be pretty damned catabolic if there’s not enough intense weight training go on to prevent that.

Sure there are anecdotes to the contrary, but these are guys who maintained their physiques IN SPITE of SS cardio…not because of it. [/quote]

You know I like speaking with you and I think you’re reasonable.

But you’re speaking of competitive cross country, which involves specializing in running and making running the bulk of one’s training regimen. I speak of a few runs per week with strength training being the bulk of training. [/quote]

Haha, you know as soon as I posted that, I knew you’d raise this exact objection. That’s why I compared it to competitive swimming, to level that playing field…two very extreme examples of 2 hours a day of varsity level conditioning. Both were very time consuming endeavors and were definitely the bulk of my training; however, the drastic differences on my physique were enough to tell me there’s something to it, at least for me. Seeing how my body responded to high intensity intervals v. 5-10 mi daily runs, it’s been a no-brainer to me as to my cardio regimen on top of weight training.

I still consider myself to be very young to this world and generally very open to new ideas and changing my own ideas quite often; however, this is just the one area I stand with the most conviction. I do deeply believe certain forms of cardio are just superior from a physique stand point…heck, even a performance stand point, but that’s a whole other discussion =)

And I understand your OP is more about the fact that a little here and there won’t mess up progress, won’t send you into instant catabolism and fat storing mode. I more or less agree. Same can be said about some holiday cheat meals, a few drinks on a friday night, a shortened training session, etc. So if you enjoy a jog on the beach, by all means, go have fun! But other than that there really is no reason whatsoever.


#10

Serious question, why would me going a 20 min jog be more detrimental than doing 20 mins on the stationary bike at a similar pace?


#11

[quote]RATTLEHEAD wrote:
Serious question, why would me going a 20 min jog be more detrimental than doing 20 mins on the stationary bike at a similar pace?

[/quote]

Only thing I can think of is that running can be harder on the knees with the impact and all. Would also be interested to hear if there’s something else to it.


#12

[quote]RATTLEHEAD wrote:
Serious question, why would me going a 20 min jog be more detrimental than doing 20 mins on the stationary bike at a similar pace?
[/quote]
Impact on the joints and muscles.
The stationery bike can still really tighten the hip flexors, but its doesn’t have near the scope for damage that running does.


#13

Woops, should have made it more clear in my post that I was meaning more why would it make me more catabolic compared to a stationary bike.

Completely agree regarding impact on joints and muscles, it’s the very reason I don’t do jogs. Have to recover for days!


#14

(I don’t know if some formal intro is required for my first post on the board?)

There are a lot of factors to consider on this one. As was mentioned by a few, running economy/efficiency is a big part to consider. For many people, even the slowest jog is much more intense (in terms of VO2 or heart rate) than most other forms of aerobic exercise they will perform, like using an elliptical, or walking uphill while clenching the treadmill, or using the stepper while laying on the handrails.

As far the 20-25 minute jogs a few times/week, I think the positive will outweight the negative.

The catabolic effects of aerobic exercise are related to volume of exercise much more than the mode. At least one study showed very clearly that growth hormone levels increased during the first 20 mintues of moderate aerobic exercise, but then began to drop quickly after 30. We see the same catabolic effects in long-distance cyclists as we do in runners. I think Brickhead’s point about cross country vs. occasional jogging is pretty valid for that reason.

As far as running vs. bike, running will have a greater aerobic beenfit at the same relative intensity, plsu the advantage of being upright and engaging the trunk musculature much more. I think the latter is especially important with more and people spending way too muc time sitting already, even when they’re in the gym!


#15

People find things they like doing and roll with them. Theres no other reason. If you dont like distance running why torture yourself with it? Naturally im a sprinter so thats where my mind goes when it comes to conditioning…either that or strongman type stuff

If left only with the option of running id do no cardio at all except for barbell complexes.

I dont understand why this is a topic. Those gurus know no one likes running so they present other methods that people will actually be excited by…


#16

For some odd reason many weight trainers think moderate amounts of running believe it is so detrimental to the body but weight training 5 times per week isn’t. I think neither is inherently detrimental if done properly.

And everything put to an extreme carries risk. The guy who does 3 sets of 10 on the bench as part of his fitness regimen isn’t the same guy competing in powerlifting, just like someone who takes some boxing or martial arts classes isn’t the same guy training and competing in cage fighting.


#17

About 3 years ago, I was at my all-time leanest when lifting 5 or 6 days a week and throwing in 3-4 runs a week… usually about 3 miles a piece. However, I watched my squat numbers plummet week to week. Rest of my lifts were unaffected, but my legs shriveled. I don’t run anymore because squatting is more important to me… and I never really enjoyed running anyway. I’m sure not everyone would find running so contraindicatory, though.


#18

Like I said I don’t think it will hurt, other than joints maybe, but there better things for physique and cardiovascular function. In no way do I think you will wither away. I do more cardio than many and weight train with 2-3x the volume most do. I don’t wither away. The cardio is my tv time or studying time during the semester.


#19

I think it is more of a gimmick to talk running down than anything.
I would like to see a careful breakdown of confounding variables to those claiming that running caused “significant” muscle loss.
My personal experience is that running “feels” a lot “healthier” than lifting heavy ass weight.
I also ran a shit load (no gay walking crap) in a caloric deficit + fasted under Shelby’s tutelage in the past and I did not lose significant amounts of muscles.


#20

For the purposes of the person in question in the video (getting ready for the military), running is probably the main focus of their training. The strength & muscle endurance requirements (push-ups, chins, sit-ups…varies from branch to branch), probably is more easily attainable for someone like the guy in question who already weight trains significantly. Crossfit style training might be a good match for him.

The guy in the video references Lee Haney etc for doing long distance runs etc. I am not aware of this and it might be a fact, but I would call BS on this and any other videos showing these top guys running for miles (There is a Phil Health shot of him running along a long road, hinting to that he does that for cardio). If this forum was called Bigger, Stronger, Faster these 3 mile runs would be appropriate, other than that, few people are going to be able to squat and leg press at the intensity needed to make good lower body progress and run 3 miles in 20-30 minutes without something suffering.

People may reference some soccer players have great lower body development mainly due to the amount of deceleration they have to do during training and the game, but those are nothing compared to what I believe most of us here are shooting for, plus their upper body is non-existent and for good reason.

Legs, I believe, are designed for lifelong transportation, not all out strength, power and size which is why big legs are so hard to come by naturally. The body will adapt in order to become more efficient at the activity (running) and usually that means smaller legs and perhaps smaller overall.