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Thread: To cardio or not to cardio

  1. #1

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    I'm struggling trying to decide on what type of, if any, cardio to do that's not going to fly in the face of the HST philosophies. I'm on my SD preceding my first cycle now so I have to come to terms with this soon. I have been alternating HIIT with steady-state (~80% MHR) training for a total of 4, 30-minute sessions each week so I'm in pretty good shape for an old fart. I really hate to lose any ground there and I certainly don't want to add any fat but from what I'm able to conclude at this site, cardio is on the other side of the scale from hypertrophy. Being able to do things in life like running up a flight of stairs to get a forgotten article or dashing out to the car in the parking lot during a downpour without having to pant is something I can't sacrifice...not to mention the satisfaction of whipping up on high school and college kids less than half my age on the basketball court. Is there any hope of maintaining that conditioning, keeping the fat off AND growing muscle size? I would really appreciate some specific suggestions here.

    Thanks,
    Randy
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  2. #2
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    If you don't do too much cardio, you shouldn't worry about muscle gains. There is some interference, but you can keep it confined. If you do 3 low-to-moderate intensity sessions per week or 3-4 HIIT bouts per week you should be able to combine the best of both worlds. Personally, I prefer HIIT. Training am/pm will also help with fat loss and may allow you to decrease cardio since it will boost your metabolism.

    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]not to mention the satisfaction of whipping up on high school and college kids less than half my age on the basketball court
    Great feeling! But cardio or muscle, you needn't worry... if you can't outrun them, you can always beat the hell outta them



    \"Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.\" - George Elliot
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]Being able to do things in life like running up a flight of stairs to get a forgotten article or dashing out to the car in the parking lot during a downpour without having to pant is something I can't sacrifice...not to mention the satisfaction of whipping up on high school and college kids less than half my age on the basketball court.
    you dont have to go to THAT extent of sacrificing cardio for maximal gains.
    lower the cardio a little. Instead do two cardio sessions per week. One can be your HIIT, and the other your 30min at 80% MHR. On the other days, there is no need to be sedentary either.... go for a brisk 30min walk if you like.
    You will not loose the level of conditioning you currently have at all by lowering the cardio!
    As for fat gain, thats totally dependent upon your diet.
    perfroming HST will up your metabloic requirements. Two cardio seesions per week plus 3 HST sessions will mean if you want to gain muscle, you will probably have to eat a little more than you are doing at the moment (read the 'eating for size' article for diet guidance).
    But having said that, obviously if you eat more calories than you need, you will gain some fat. so you have to be careful and monitor your progress on a fortnightly basis.

    Invest in a set of scales, a measuring tape and a set of skin fold calipers. Using these three, you can detremine whether you are gaining weight, and how much of that weight gain is fat and how much is lean.
    If two weeks goes by and you have not gained a shred of weight, then add a couple of hundred calories to your daily diet.
    If two weeks goes by and you have gained 2lbs, but the skinfold/waist measurements tell you that over 1.7lbs is fat, you need to lower your calories by a couple of hundred or look at your training (you might not be adequately providing growth stimulus etc).
    If after two weeks you have gained 2lbs and the skin fold tells you that 1lb was lean, that is perfect (its unlikley you will do better than that).

    just keep a good record detailing everything, average daily calories for that week, HST details, amount of cardio performed. If you do that, pretty soon you will have a good idea of what makes you tick.
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  4. #4

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    What do you consider low-moderate cardio micmic? Can you give me a % of MHR?

    If I reduce from 4 to 2 cardio sessions per week stevie, I know I'll add fat...that's one constant in this complicated equation with so many variables. I can't imagine the HST routine will be much more demanding than my old routine. I did a 4-day split with lots of volume and went to failure on absolutely every exercise. If I cut carbs to compensate for the reduced cardio, I'm afraid I won't have enough strength to get through the workouts. I eat clean as it is with little simple sugar in my diet (except for my post-workout shake), only eat broiled poultry/fish, high fiber veggies and EFAs from flax. Aside from whey protein shakes, that's about it. I keep the fat in check but there's always a small handful at my naval I can grab.

    Btw, my postworkout shake is comprised of 40 grams whey protein, 40 grams maltodextrin, 40 grams dextrose and a teaspoon of glutamine. I'm 186 pounds. Is this ok?

    Thanks,
    Randy
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]What do you consider low-moderate cardio micmic? Can you give me a % of MHR?
    70-75% would be an all-around number, but it really depends on your condition. If I do anything less than 85% I might as well fall asleep

    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]Btw, my postworkout shake is comprised of 40 grams whey protein, 40 grams maltodextrin, 40 grams dextrose and a teaspoon of glutamine. I'm 186 pounds. Is this ok?
    Sounds ok. You could also take half of it post-workout and the other half an hour later.
    \"Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.\" - George Elliot
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    Do a search on "post workout shakes". There are some very good threads.
    Carbohydrates are not the root of all that is evil.
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  7. #7

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    70-75% doesn't do much for me either. Somewhere on this site, Bryan says to do cardio only on off days and a brisk, uphill walk should be the first choice...I'm very leary of this as I'm quite sure I'd take on fat if I was so inactive, not to mention loss of cardio capacity.

    Do you think there is a specific advantage of doing strictly HIIT and leaving other cardio behind. Maybe I could trim the cardio to 3 sessions if I do all HIIT. There is no way I can avoid doing cardio on the same day as weight training, though. Running/sprinting is my preferred cardio. Treadmills and bicycles hold no interest for me.

    I want to add mass to my legs and I think the experts believe that the muscle conditioning caused by running will make them less responsive to the HST ways..stuck between a rock and a hard place here.

    Thanks,
    Randy
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]Randy, I keep the fat in check but there's always a small handful at my naval I can grab.
    Randy,

    I searched this site for a post called "visceral -vs- subcutaneous fat" and I couldn't find it however I did save Bryans answer :

    Bryan Haycock quote

    Lowering calories will have the greatest impact on viceral fat (inside your gut). Increasing your cardio will have a greater impact on subcutaneous fat.

    There isn't an equivalent study in men. Still, there are many studies on vesceral vs subcu fat cells to understand why this study found what it did.

    Visceral fat is extremely sensitive to lipolytic signals. Subcu fat is must less sensitive, with subcu fat on belly and lower body being even more resistant.

    So, when you cut calories, you will get a modest rise in lipolytic hormones etc even while at rest. However, these signals aren't strong enough to get subcu fat
    to be broken down. I'm generalizing here. Then, during exercise, you get significant increases in catecholamines which are strong enough to mobilize subcu fat.

    The same goes for putting fat back on. You will put fat back on viscerally first, then subcu.

    So, doing cardio on a low-ish fat/normal calorie diet will help to reduce subcu fat while helping to maintain muscle. Just starving yourself will deplete visceral
    fat, making you get rid of your gut, but you will struggle to really get "shredded" until you do more cardio...

    Once again, I'm generalizing here. This all has to do with the sensitivity of fat cells to lipolytic signals, and what circumstances produce which kind of lipolytic
    signals.
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  9. #9
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    One thing, Bryan mentioned exercise, and a HST routine is exercise.

    Doing cardio or not is an option and by no means required to get lean, though it surely can be a valuable addition to your fat loss strategy.

    I find cardio boring as hell and it makes me lose muscle in me legs really quick, so this time around I didn't do any. I've lost 12 cm in my waist and gained definition all over my body without a single cardio session, and only now after four months of dieting I'm slowly introducing cardio in a period of two or three weeks on a caloric surplus, as Bryan recomended in one of his Think Muscle articles.



    \"The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.\"
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]70-75% doesn't do much for me either
    While we may be able to better tolerate higher intensity cardio, it still is moderate-to-high intensity. Meaning that a long session (30-45mins) can be quite catabolic. If one wants to preserve as much muscle as possible, perhaps 75% would be wiser.

    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]Do you think there is a specific advantage of doing strictly HIIT and leaving other cardio behind. Maybe I could trim the cardio to 3 sessions if I do all HIIT
    There have been long debates on this one, but personally I find that HIIT is very effective for fat loss. For me it doesn't interfere with leg training but I make easy gains on legs. Your mileage may vary.

    Personally I would suggest to prioritize fat loss, and later have fun with muscle gains. If you are fairly lean, most of the weight you will gain will be muscle.
    \"Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.\" - George Elliot
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