T Nation

Smarter Than The Average Bodybuilder


My last attempt at a log wasn’t much of a success due to my body’s inability to handle deadlifting, but I’m going to have another bash at a log, this time detailing my attempts to get my resting heart rate to 60bpm.

Right this very minute it is sitting at 74, and it goes up as high as 88 sometimes at rest.

I’m quite an anxious, sympathetic nervous system dominant person, and weirdly sometimes I hold my breath without realising which also contributes to the heart rate thing.

So the steps I plan to implement are:

-steady state cardio, getting my heart rate to 130-150bpm for 30-45 mins

-breathing exercises which should hopefully fix my weird breath holding habit

-supplements like phosphatyldiserine (probably not how you spell it; too lazy to google) and phenibut to lower cortisol and help me sleep

-maybe HIIT

These will be implemented in order, and staggered a couple of weeks apart in an attempt to work out what has helped and what hasn’t. I don’t want to throw everything at it right from the beginning.

My training is going to alternate between weight lifting and cardio. I train a push/pull/legs split, so I’m going to do cardio in between weight training days, but not the day before leg day so my legs are fresh for lifting. It’s 3 days a week of cardio which I’m sure is plenty.

So there you go. I’m not going to bother logging my weight training workouts as there’s nothing wild or exciting about them. They’re just very typical bodybuilder stuff. Instead, I’ll log how much cardio I’m doing, my daily resting heart rate (which I’ll test first thing in the morning and last thing at night) and how that averages out for the week. I’ll also be honest about my drug use and whether or not that is having an effect.

If anyone wants to contribute any ways in which they’ve been able to relax, be it exercises, supplements, drugs or whatever then by all means do so.

And if anyone wants to just shoot the shit then that’s cool too. My logs are an informal place where any and all banter is welcome. Think of it like an episode of Cheers.

Leg day tomorrow so first cardio session will be on Sunday.


I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but have you tried box breathing? I try to do it in yoga when we’re not doing a specific breathing exercise. I know you’re not into yoga… but like pina coladas?

Essentially it’s a four count deep inhale, really expanding the rib cage etc, followed by a four count breath hold, then a slow four count exhalation where you bring the navel toward the spine, count four, then repeat. I think you’re supposed to do this for at least like 5 minutes. I tweak the method a bit personally, typically with a little longer exhalation.

I’ve re-purposed it while diving too, no breath holding but using a super deep (around 5 second) inhale and a very slow (around 10 second) exhale.


that’s the kind of shit I’m looking for, thanks!


Jim Ryun was the first American schoolboy (= high-schooler) to run a sub 4-minute mile. He won a Silver medal in the 1500M at the '68 Olympics. He was the last American to hold the world record for the mile. All of this is to say, he was an aerobically fit guy.

Ryun had a resting heart rate of 75 BPM.


Well obviously I need to get myself into better shape than he was!

I get what you’re saying, though, and while my heart rate is technically within the usual physiological range, there’s a little more to my reasoning.

Heart disease is pretty rampant in the men in my family. My old man, who was in MUCH better shape (CV wise) when he was my age than I am now, is hypertensive, so I’m taking that as a sign I need to think about my heart a little more.

And It’s not just my cardiovascular health that I’m considering. I suffer from pretty bad insomnia, doing the classic tired-and-wired thing when I’m lying in bed. Apparently, lowering my resting heart rate will help me down-regulate my sympathetic nervous system and chill me out a bit. Mike Robertson said so, so it must be true.

An honour and a privilege having you post in my log ED!


Just another breathing “trick” I learned.

Breathe in count of 1. Breathe out count of 2.
Breathe in count of 2. Breathe out count of 4.
Breathe in count of 3. Breathe out count of 6.
Breathe in count of 4. Breathe out count of 8.
Breathe in count of 5. Breathe out count of 10.
Then back down: 4/8, 3/6, 2/4, 1/2.

Repeat the whole thing a couple times.

Works really well for relaxation.

There seems to be some magic with lengthening the out-breath relative to the in-breath. Seems to show up a lot in various protocols.

Regarding the other stuff… my girlfriend runs somewhere between 4 and 8 miles a day, almost every day. I’ve seen her heart rate measured as low as 38 before, and it tends toward mid-high 40s.

When I was doing a bit more steady-state cardio stuff (typically heart rate in the 120-130 range), mine dropped several points pretty quickly too.

What kind of cardio are you thinking? Incline walking? Cycling? Elliptical?


Lorez my man, another one of my favourites!

Yeah I’ve noticed the commonalities between breathing exercises too. I find them quite awkward, particularly the shallower breaths. I probably just need to play around with them a bit.

As for the cardio; I guess anything and everything. I’m not much of a fan of running on treadmills but bikes and ellipticals and whatever else are fair game. At the very least it gives me an excuse to put on a tight t shirt and hang out with the chicks in the cardio section.

You say you noticed your heart rate drop quite quickly? That’s reassuring. The Mike Robertson article I read said the LISS cardio to get your heart rate down isn’t something you need to do forever, just intermittently. Be nice if I could get it all dealt with in like a month but I doubt it’ll be quite as forgiving as that.


here’s the Mike Robertson article that rocked my world



From the article, talking about cardiac output:

“When you do low intensity work (often noted as 120-150 beats per
minute), you allow a maximal amount of blood to profuse into the left
ventricle of your heart.
As you force blood into that left ventricle, it’s in there just long
enough to stretch the heart walls. Over time this creates an adaptation –
quite simply your left ventricle stretches and gets bigger/wider.
When you stretch that heart wall, you can get more blood in and out
with each heartbeat. The technical/geeky term for this is stroke volume,
or the amount of blood you’re moving with each beat.
All this makes your heart more efficient. If you can move more blood with each heartbeat, your heart doesn’t have to beat as fast.”

As I pointed out above, Jim Ryun had a rather pedestrian resting HR of 75. However, during training sessions, when he would run quarter-mile intervals in 60 seconds, his HR would go all the way up to…90. That is some serious cardiac output.


I assume you’ve tried the old fashioned internet porn and a box of kleenex?


I’ll be lucky if mine stays below 180 on a light jog!


I may have, once or twice…


Life threw a spanner at my balls, so missed yesterday’s session. Today’s push day so there’s no way I’m swapping that for a cardio workout!

Cardio madness begins tomorrow…


Meant to say this the other day: pretty sure I went hypo after a fasted leg workout on Saturday.

It was the weirdest fucking thing. After a workout my girlfriend and I went to a chippy (which, for you non-brits is a type of takeaway place where everything is deep fried and amazing. You’ve heard of fish ‘n’ chips? You get that in the chippy) and seeing as I’m not a fan of chips (morons on the other side of the Atlantic call them fries, by the way) I just loaded up on greasy meats.

After dinner I got in the shower and all of a sudden felt really fucking weird. I mean REALLY weird. My hands were shaking like crazy and I thought I was going to pass out! All I could think to explain it was I must have been going hypo from a fasted workout (which was very high rep and glycogen depleting) followed by a zero carb meal meant my blood sugar plummeted. I ate everything in the kitchen with any carbs (all my girlfriends food, she was not impressed) and felt better afterwards.

It was a very strange feeling. Note to self: eat carbs after leg workouts.


Right, cardio tonight, high incline treadmill walking. Increased the speed until my heart rate hit 120bpm, then kept it up for half an hour from there. Bumped up the speed every 5 mins or so, my heart rate got up to 140bpm by the time I was done.

Pretty much exactly what I wanted to achieve but fucking hell it’s dull. I’m hoping I’ll get used to the boredom, instead of it slowly destroying my soul.

Not going to bother with recording my HR until I’ve been at it for a couple of weeks.


another boring fucking cardio session tonight. Will start tracking my RHR as of Monday next week.


But I’m sure you’ve checked it in the meantime, right? Any progress? Or did you just not do any cardio at all for 2 weeks?


5 cardio sessions in the last 2 weeks, not including the one I’m about to go and do.

Na haven’t bothered measuring it in that time; didn’t really see the point as I wouldn’t think 2 weeks and 5 sessions would be enough.

They do say you only need a couple of sessions a week to see a benefit, but I dunno.


Kind of surprises me you haven’t measured.

There are some really good heart rate apps for the iphone; you just put your finger over the camera lens and it measures your pulse. They also log and track this stuff for you too.

No need to do the count your pulse while watching the clock thing anymore.


you started a log just to log cardio sessions? Can’t wait to read every single post.