T Nation

The Cardio Question

I’ve been rail think my whole life, so when I see the Berardi and Mejia book on a shelf I’m thinking “worth a shot” and pick up a copy. Ahhh answers! Rational information! Things are starting to make sense. (I have to eat HOW MUCH?? OMG!) My problem is that all of my normal recreational type activity is heavy cardio. (E.g. 4+ hours of MTB cycling a week, hiking, backpacking, etc. etc.)

So, I’m trying to put together a weight training program for the first time. However, all the info I’m reading seems to be focused towards people who’s only goal is strengh and weight gain. The universal opinion seems to be that heavy cardio workouts are going to prevent me from gaining weight.

So, without dialing way back on the things I normally do for fun am I just plain screwed for weight gain? I’m willing to accept the fact that I won’t see max gains without dialing way back, but I was hoping to find some people out here that could tell me what kind of trade off I can expect.

You certainly won’t see maximal gains, but you can still gain, if you eat like a god damned horse. You will seriously have to eat 3 tons a day. and be sure, with all that activity, you are able to sleep well every night.

All of that excessive cardio will play a role in decreasing your maximal ability to gain weight. As others will tell you over and over again, you have to eat a whole hell of a lot. Follow Berardi’s Massive eating principles (it sounds like you have already read it) to keep from gaining too much fat mass while gaining weight. A good way to add calories is natural peanut butter. Put it in protein shakes or just eat it with you protein/fat meals. 1 tsp is 200 calories.

Stick to a program that offers a high volume to induce muscle growth but make sure that your reps per set stay in the 3-6 range. anything over that will greatly tax your body with the other intense workouts you do (hiking, MTB biking, etc.) It is important to not go to failure on each set so that your Central Nervous System (CNS) stays charged. I am currently loving Chad Waterbury’s Anti-Bodybuilding Hypertrophy program and I think this would be great for you as it lets you get the benefit of high volume training but keeps your gym sessions short.

I would also look into a good protein powder (Grow!, duh) because it will be hard to eat all food meals given your busy lifestyle and Power Drive to make sure your CNS stays in optimal condition.

In summary:
Eat like your life depended on it
Follow a high-volume program that wont tax your CNS too much
Get enough rest

Good luck and keep us updated

Good info. (Specially the peanut butter tip. I hadn’t heard that, but it makes sense and should help.) Thanks a lot.

T-Nation is a pretty amazing (amazingly down to earth!) forum.

It actually isn’t as terrible as you think.

You may not be a poster-boy for T-Nation but you can still have some considerable size.