Weight and Resistance Training - Is cardio doing me a disservice?




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belezura
09-14-2009, 11:14 AM
By Sasha
I am trying to put on muscle right now so too much cardio is detrimental.


I went to Weight and Resistance Training forum and found this statement.
Few months ago someone told me that you should not do too much cardio if you are trying to build muscle (what I am trying to do right now).
I do at least 1 hour/cardio and 1 hour weight lifting 6x/week (Iíve been doing it for over 1 1/2 years) and Iíve gained very little muscle during this time. One of the reasons I think it is because I need to increase my protein consumption and I started wonder if the amount of cardio I am doing is also harming my attempt of growing some muscle.
I am doing both because beside to build the muscle I also want to lose weight.
Can someone explain it to me please? Should I keep 1 hour cardio to my workout to build muscle or should I change my strategy? :?:


pintobean
09-14-2009, 11:33 AM
Thanks for asking this Belezura. I read that as well and was very confused. I recently started weight training and do a full body WT 3x per week. I do cardio 3x per week.

sacha
09-14-2009, 11:36 AM
Well hello ;)

Muscle is very VERY difficult for a woman to build. If you put on 1-5lbs in one year, you are seriously rocking. Women who look "built" have usually been doing heavy weight training for around five years (less than that and they are genetically gifted).

The reason cardio is detrimental for me is because:

To build muscle, you need a surplus of calories over what you would need to maintain. You cannot build muscle at a calorie deficit.

A calorie defecit can help you shed bodyfat which will SHOW the muscle that you already have, but it will not ADD any muscle.

For example, a female my size needs around 1900 calorie per day to maintain, 1600 for fat loss, and around 2300 for muscle gain.

If I did an hour of cardio each day for 5 days in a week (400 calories burned per day), I would be at around a 2000 calorie deficit for the week. That's fine for fat loss, but not to gain muscle.

People use the terms "bulking" and "cutting" for building muscle. "Bulking" means you eat at a calorie surplus so that you build muscle (and yes, fat comes along with that too). Once they have built a decent amount of muscle, they then "cut" (basically, diet to lose the bodyfat).

So you have to choose - build muscle or lose fat. Both don't really coexist.

I should also add that my idea of "building muscle" may not be the same as yours. If you see my exercise log in the confessions post, my workouts generally consist of lifting, minimum, 60lbs-100lbs for an entire hour. I have been mantaining for five years and I am far beyond the fat loss stage.


tiffany0809
09-14-2009, 11:37 AM
Good question.... I've been wondering the same thing. I'm interested to see the replies!! :dizzy:

sacha
09-14-2009, 11:41 AM
When I first started my weight loss journey, I also did a 3 day full body workout and around 3 days cardio. Weight training is essential for gaining strength and keeping your joints/bones healthy. You will find that consistent weight training will help improve your cardio (ie. less pain while running).

sportmom
09-14-2009, 11:42 AM
No one needs to be doing cardio for one hour a day. Seriously. Do a good 20 minute High-Intensity Interval Training workout (you can google it) and you will done your body a world more good than plodding away at cardio for an hour. And if you're lifting an hour a day for 1.5 years, you should definitely see some muscle definition by now. The Body for Life program is an excellent program that will ensure you get enough lifting, cardio, and nutrition all in the right buckets. Check it out - and give yourself back 40 minutes a day!

belezura
09-14-2009, 12:01 PM
Thank you very much for the answers.
But now help me out here:
Did I understand it right?: I can’t lose weight and build muscle at the same time?
If I cut my cardio I’ll stop losing and I still have some more weight to lose till I get to my goal.
Should I lose the weight first and just after start to think about building muscle?

HotWings
09-14-2009, 12:04 PM
I second sportmom on the Body for Life suggestion - I do the intensity training suggested in there on the elliptical for 20 minutes - it's the best 20 min I have ever spent on exercising. I get a better workout than when I was just doing the elliptical at one or two levels for 40 mins.. and at the end of those 20 min (and it goes fast!) I know I did my body good.

sacha
09-14-2009, 12:09 PM
Thank you very much for the answers.
But now help me out here:
Did I understand it right?: I canít lose weight and build muscle at the same time?
If I cut my cardio Iíll stop losing and I still have some more weight to lose till I get to my goal.
Should I lose the weight first and just after start to think about building muscle?

I would so: No, you can't build muscle and lose weight at the same time.

The reason is that you need to burn more calories to lose weight, but consume more calories to build muscle. This is even more essential because you are female and it takes years to put on good quality muscle.

You need to pick a goal. At 125lbs and 5'4, I think you would benefit for more from weight training than cardio at this point. Cardio for one hour per day at your size is simply going to burn away at your muscle rather than any fat loss.

Fat loss is through being on key with your diet, not cardio (when you are 5'4 and 125lbs. If you were 300lbs, it would be a different story).

Time to hit the weights and reshape your body through muscle building!!! Don't be scared of the scale. Most "fit" women weigh a lot more than they look, because weight doesn't have the same meaning when you are building muscle.

sportmom
09-14-2009, 12:09 PM
Thank you very much for the answers.
But now help me out here:
Did I understand it right?: I can’t lose weight and build muscle at the same time?
Yes, you can. For people who want to serious build muscle, like competitive weight lifters and body builders, they will sometimes cut cardio to build more. THis doesn't apply to you.
If I cut my cardio I’ll stop losing and I still have some more weight to lose till I get to my goal.
WRONG! If you do cardio the RIGHT way - you'll lose MORE. FASTER. ta-da!!!! That is the glorious gift of HIIT. ANd you can do it walking, running, walk/running, ellipticalling, anyway you want.
Should I lose the weight first and just after start to think about building muscle?
Oh God, no. That would be the worst mistake you could make!

READ THE BOOK. GET IT TODAY. Get BFL CHampions - it's more current.

sacha
09-14-2009, 12:13 PM
I haven't read BFL but if it's a solid 3x per week full body program, I think that is really what you need at this point.

The whole building muscle/fat loss thing is a bit tricky at your stage - I think just getting used to the idea of strength training and being on a solid program (such as BFL or New Rules of Lifting for Women) is more important than worrying about the details.

Like I said, I have been weight training for years and I am looking into getting into competitive Olympic-style lifting, so I am a bit meticulous about the deatils of my training, which is around five years in progression. Start with the basics and you won't go wrong. Even I had a 10lb dumbbell, once up on a time :P

sacha
09-14-2009, 12:19 PM
The problem with female strength training (and strength training in general) is that there is so much myth & misinformation about the topic that it is difficult for someone to really understand what works and what doesn't (sounds like weight loss, eh?). Like weight loss, it is actually more simple than it appears. There's no tricks to it, there's no secret. Just a basic program (ie. basic fullbody program) is good enough to get any beginner on their way to better bone health and increased strength.

I'll show you my basic program:

Monday
Squat 5 reps x 3 sets
Bench Press 5 reps x 3 sets
Deadlift 1 rep x 5 sets
(yes, that's 35 reps in an entire day)

Wednesday
Squat 5 reps x 3 sets
Press 5 reps x 3 sets
Power Clean 5 reps x 3 sets

Friday
Squat 5 reps x 3 sets
Bench Press 5 reps x 3 sets
Deadlift 1 rep x 5 sets
(yes, that's 35 reps in an entire day)

.... SIMPLE! 3 Days! No workouts on 4 days of the week.

RobinW
09-14-2009, 12:25 PM
Burn fat and build muscle....all you have to do is look to several forum members Meg and Mel being 2. Want another awesome example? Check out Pam Brown's story. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pcipAz_dwc

belezura
09-14-2009, 12:35 PM
By Sasha
I'll show you my basic program:

Monday
Squat 5 reps x 3 sets
Bench Press 5 reps x 3 sets
Deadlift 1 rep x 5 sets
(yes, that's 35 reps in an entire day)

Wednesday
Squat 5 reps x 3 sets
Press 5 reps x 3 sets
Power Clean 5 reps x 3 sets

Friday
Squat 5 reps x 3 sets
Bench Press 5 reps x 3 sets
Deadlift 1 rep x 5 sets
(yes, that's 35 reps in an entire day)

.... SIMPLE! 3 Days! No workouts on 4 days of the week.

Sasha that sounds great!!!!
You don’t spend half of the time I spend at the gym...
Over 12 hours/week. It sucks!!! BTW I use HIIT for my daily one hour of cardio
I almost can’t believe it works...
I would die to see a pic of you...

But your program is like that now, right? or you do 3x week since the beginning?

I want to be like you when I grow up!!! LOL :D

midwife
09-14-2009, 12:44 PM
I'm one that lost scale weight & body fat while increasing lean body mass.

When I first started weight lifting, my trainer measured my body fat % with calipers (9 point) and calculated my BF % and lean mass. Over the 18 + months I have worked with her, she has done it several more times and scale weight and body fat % went down while lean mass went up. There are some limitations to the 9 point caliper measurments, but I believe that my experience in losing weight (overall) and body fat while gaining lean mass reflects Meg's experience as well. I'll see if I can get a print out of my old statistics so I can share them.

The other pattern that I found interesting from my body fat/lean mass records is that I did lose lean mass when I was training for my half marathon (scale weight dropped a few pounds, and it was lean mass; body fat % went up a bit at that time). I do not fully understand the reasons that steady state cardio reduces muscle mass but I would speculate it has to do with metabolism and how your body processes it's nutrients---both the nutrients that you eat and the nutrients in your muscles, liver, etc.

I second the recommendation for HIIT. It works.

Nutrition is vital, of course.

sportmom
09-14-2009, 12:52 PM
But HIIT for an hour? That's overtraining. I've read that if you're doing it for an hour - it's impossible, you must not be doing it to full max, which means not doing it correctly. In fact, you shouldn't even do it daily. Every other day at most.

There's no waaaaay I could do HIIT for 1 minute more than the 20 minutes I'm doing it. By minute 18 or 19, I'm really really dying for it to be over. That's how you should feel if you're doing it correctly. You can't carry on a conversation, can't really follow a tv show, you are totally focused on the gut-wrenching workout going on within! lol

belezura
09-14-2009, 01:08 PM
Wow.... so I am totally doing it wrong then...
What I do is: I run 1/4 miles and walk 1/4 miles
But I admit I don’t run as fast as I can....
I’ll have to totally redo my cardio plan.
Thank you guys for all the info...
I can’t wait to start doing things the right way...
I just don’t think it was a waste of my last 1 1/2 year because I lost some weight. But I wish I had started doing things right when I just started so I could have some muscles already...
Well, it is never too late, right?? ;)

pintobean
09-14-2009, 01:13 PM
...Do a good 20 minute High-Intensity Interval Training workout (you can google it) and you will done your body a world more good than plodding away at cardio for an hour...

Is this the cardio HIIT program you're following? 20-Minute Aerobics Solution (http://bodyforlife.com/exercise/cardiotraining.asp).

Shannon in ATL
09-14-2009, 01:16 PM
I do intervals on my elliptical for 30 or 45 minutes at a time and call it HIIT - for the high points I am going as all out hard as I possibly can for 2-3 minutes (depending on if it is the 30 or 45 minute program), then I have a slightly longer cool down and work back up to 'all out hard as I can' again. I use two different versions of the same program for this - either 2 or 3 minutes per level, ramping intensity and incline up to four pretty high peaks incline and resistance wise during which I'm running all out, then drop back down to almost flat and no resistance to start the incline again. I'll do 45-60 minutes of intervals on my treadmill the same way - increase the speed and incline gradually until I'm all out for 1-3 minutes, then drop back down to a gradual increase again. I also do HIIT on my boxing bag for 30-40 minute sessions similarly timed. I've been doing it this way for a while. When I'm finished I typically feel like I want to lie on the floor of the garage in a little ball for a while.

Belezura - what you have been doing hasn't been a waste of the last 1.5 years, you have been building your endurance.

kittycat40
09-14-2009, 01:27 PM
Belezura - what you have been doing hasn't been a waste of the last 1.5 years, you have been building your endurance.

You are an athlete and now you are going to change your focus :) :cool: :hug:

sportmom
09-14-2009, 01:32 PM
Anytime you are upright and sweating, or even upright instead of sitting, it's never a waste! You have been moving in the right direction!!! :D

sacha
09-14-2009, 02:08 PM
Well, I sure don't have any "before" pictures because I was a size 14 and ran away from any camera. I had a gut hanging over my pants.

Here is 4/5 years of heavy weight training and spot-on nutrition (with a few blips of course).

sacha
09-14-2009, 02:08 PM
I can't believe I posted a picture of my butt online.

sacha
09-14-2009, 02:11 PM
But HIIT for an hour? That's overtraining. I've read that if you're doing it for an hour - it's impossible, you must not be doing it to full max, which means not doing it correctly. In fact, you shouldn't even do it daily. Every other day at most.

There's no waaaaay I could do HIIT for 1 minute more than the 20 minutes I'm doing it. By minute 18 or 19, I'm really really dying for it to be over. That's how you should feel if you're doing it correctly. You can't carry on a conversation, can't really follow a tv show, you are totally focused on the gut-wrenching workout going on within! lol

I don't think you can do real HIIT beyond 20-25 minutes, from what I understand. If you can do HIIT for more than that, it isn't intense enough.

Intervals are certainly different than "steady state" (ie. 30 minutes @ same speed) cardio but an interval isn't automatically HIIT.

belezura
09-14-2009, 02:20 PM
Sasha
You look amazing!!!! :cheer3:
I don’t look very different than you though. :)

I love seeing pics of you guys because it motivate me so much.
Thank you and all the others very much for all your help and for sharing your knowledge and experience with us.

sacha
09-14-2009, 02:22 PM
Sasha
You look amazing!!!!
I donít look very different than you though. :)
.

Some people might think I'm some sort of she-hulk with all my weight lifting until they see pictures of me. I look very normal! That's the difficult part of building muscle - it truly takes years and years of hard work!!!

sacha
09-14-2009, 02:40 PM
Sasha that sounds great!!!!
You donít spend half of the time I spend at the gym...
Over 12 hours/week. It sucks!!! BTW I use HIIT for my daily one hour of cardio
I almost canít believe it works...
I would die to see a pic of you...

But your program is like that now, right? or you do 3x week since the beginning?

I want to be like you when I grow up!!! LOL :D

Thank you :)

I spend 4.5hrs in the gym per week (each workout is 1.5 hours because the rest between reps are around 2-5 minutes). No cardio. I do some hiking on weekends and I walk the dog about 2 hours per day (I don't consider it cardio).

That is my program NOW, not then. However, it is actually a beginner's program (for barbell training). It isn't advanced at all, very basic (much more basic than circuit training). However, I have always done 3x per week in the beginning.

The issue with my program is that you may need a spotter incase your drop the weight (for example I have gotten stuck under a 150lb squat once but DH was there to help me).

Weight training is like weight loss plans in that everyone has an opinion. I don't believe in weight training for aesthetic purposes (ie. I think bicep curls and tricep kickbacks are kinda useless. Sorry! Just me!) so I prefer functional finess such as barbell training and especially Crossfit. With proper diet, the aesthetic part will always come. Not to knock anyone who does isolated small exercises - EVERYONE HAS THEIR OWN PATH - I just think the basics are very underrated since the rise of the commer$ial gym industry :)

daniela
09-14-2009, 02:45 PM
Great post belezura, nice replies too! Let me ask you what is your goal? I see your ticker and you want to lose another 5lbs but big picuture do you have a goal physique in mind? I'm guessing from your post you want to see more muscle definition. I agree with the other replies that you should cut down on your cardio and start some kind of 3 or 4 day split routine with time off for your muscles to recover.

I'm not sure how "heavy" you lift but I suggest lifing heavy, you are not going to bulk up and look like he-man :-) For me heavy is 135 lb deadlift, 95 lb squats, 40 lb barbell curl, 60 lb shoulder press (all free weights)...just to give you examples of what is heavy for me. I don't see to many women at my gym lifting that much weight. I do 2 sets 10 reps, then 2 more sets 8 reps (increasing weight slightly).

Check out these books, good info, and routines you can start with.
-The New Rules of Lifting for Women
- The Eat-Clean Diet Workout

And don't worry about the scale weightlifting will change your body composition but you might not notice that much of a change on the scale. I'm 5'6" down to 150 lbs and I can fit into a size 6 in most stores/brands (mostly shop at banana republic) and I even have size 4 jeans from old navy (even more crazy is they are getting a little loose). I started lifting in Feb and I can honestly say I don't think my body would be this compact at 150 if I only did cardio.

Give weightlifting a chance for a min of 12 weeks with less cardio (keeping your diet in check) and I'm sure you will notice changes. Take some before pics to compare because again you might not see a change on the scale.

sacha
09-14-2009, 02:49 PM
Very impressive lifts daniela :)

Heavy is whatever is heavy for you. If you truly can't press more than 20lbs, then 20lbs is heavy. If you can do 50lbs, then 50lbs is heavy. It is all relative to the person.

Here are some general standards for strength (ranging from a female at your weight who has never touched a weight but can be taught to do an exercise with proper form to an elite athlete such as a weightlifter competing in the Olympics or national competitions)

http://www.exrx.net/Testing/WeightLifting/StrengthStandards.htm

daniela
09-14-2009, 03:09 PM
Very impressive lifts daniela :)

Heavy is whatever is heavy for you. If you truly can't press more than 20lbs, then 20lbs is heavy. If you can do 50lbs, then 50lbs is heavy. It is all relative to the person.



Thanks sacha :D Agreed on your statement too. You should lift as heavy as "you" can. It's all dependent on your goals but I see so many women lifting such light weights when I know they can lug around a 35lb tub of kitty litter or a case of water or a 1yr old baby....all heavier then a 5lb dumbbell ;)

I sometimes feel like I'm on a mission to prove women are not going to look like the hulk by lifting or lifting "heavy" for that matter. I'm truly in love with lifting and I couldn't be happier with the results I'm seeing and I want to share that info and get other women to embrace weight training :D

daniela
09-14-2009, 03:22 PM
Here are some general standards for strength (ranging from a female at your weight who has never touched a weight but can be taught to do an exercise with proper form to an elite athlete such as a weightlifter competing in the Olympics or national competitions)

http://www.exrx.net/Testing/WeightLifting/StrengthStandards.htm

Thank you for the link, very cool! Just checked it out and I'm doing pretty good for the novice level. Need to work on my squat and bench, press & deads looking good. I don't do cleans might need to work those in somewhere. What day? Legs?

Sorry not trying to hijack your thread Belezura :D Actually I haven't been on here in a while but this really caught my eye today. mmm might need to read up more in the Weight and Resistance Training forum.

sacha
09-14-2009, 03:24 PM
Thanks sacha :D Agreed on your statement too. You should lift as heavy as "you" can. It's all dependent on your goals but I see so many women lifting such light weights when I know they can lug around a 35lb tub of kitty litter or a case of water or a 1yr old baby....all heavier then a 5lb dumbbell ;)

I sometimes feel like I'm on a mission to prove women are not going to look like the hulk by lifting or lifting "heavy" for that matter. I'm truly in love with lifting and I couldn't be happier with the results I'm seeing and I want to share that info and get other women to embrace weight training :D


It is sooo true that people are generally misinformed about women and weight training (just scroll through pages on this forum and you'll see, "I don't want to get bulky"). It's a long hard road to convince them otherwise!

Grocery bags, lugging around a vacuum, carrying a toddler all day - ALL weigh more than the pink dumbbells.

STEP AWAY FROM THE PINK DUMBBELLS!

sacha
09-14-2009, 03:25 PM
Power cleans are a full body power exercise, your legs may be sore, but your traps will be killing you.

pintobean
09-14-2009, 03:31 PM
Wow!! I'm looking at the amazing pictures and absorbing all the information given here. I hope some day I'll look as great as y'all :). I still have a long way to fit land. Thanks belezura for posting this question and thanks Sacha, Daniela and all you wonderful girls for great information and support.

daniela
09-14-2009, 03:46 PM
It is sooo true that people are generally misinformed about women and weight training (just scroll through pages on this forum and you'll see, "I don't want to get bulky"). It's a long hard road to convince them otherwise!

Grocery bags, lugging around a vacuum, carrying a toddler all day - ALL weigh more than the pink dumbbells.

STEP AWAY FROM THE PINK DUMBBELLS!

LOL awesome! You look fantastic BTW not at all like the hulk :D Just to toot my own horn here's a new progress pic. Warning I am in my underwear, it's not too revealing but I wanted to give you all a heads up if you are at work.

http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com//img/user_images/growable/2009/08/27/21333931/progresspic/14uMFn9Q9QFxf5Y6Sb47sCzAYS0jH1137.jpeg

I do have to admit that I do feel more self conscious at the gym now then when I was 240. I like the muscles that are starting to show (thankfully so does my husband) but I feel like I get more looks. I don't know if it's because some other men/women think it's too much muscle. I'm trying to not care what others think because I like it and that's all that should matter.

This body image stuff is tough sometimes huh?

daniela
09-14-2009, 03:50 PM
Power cleans are a full body power exercise, your legs may be sore, but your traps will be killing you.

Thanks for the warning hehe, got to look at that video so I can learn the proper form.

belezura
09-14-2009, 04:05 PM
wow... I think I learned more in this threat about weight lifting than in months doing it.
I always try lift heavy (well, as heavy as I can) so I can see results. I never thought I would bulk from training.
I wasn’t doing deadlifts though. And a quick search online show me I NEED to start doing it since it is very effective.
Thank you again for all the info!!!

borntobefine
09-15-2009, 10:38 PM
It all depends on your genetics. I build muscles easily. When I started working out again after 2 weeks of cardio - 45 mins daily and 3 times per week for 2 weeks of weight training you could see clearly defined biceps and quads.
If you are prone to muscles then weith training at least 3 days of week and half hour or so of cardio will not hurt you at all. If your body takes a long time to show definition and you have a lot of fat ramp up the cardio.
It all is about the look you want. A lot of studies contradict each other. Take what can help and ignore the rest.

belezura
09-17-2009, 03:17 PM
I have one more question for you guys:

I noticed lately that when I work hard (usually when the weight is high) I can feel my heart beating jumps.
So is it possible that we work some cardio during weight training?

daniela
09-17-2009, 04:11 PM
I have one more question for you guys:

I noticed lately that when I work hard (usually when the weight is high) I can feel my heart beating jump.
So is it possible that we work some cardio during weight training?

Absolutely! When I do deadlifts, squats, pullups just to name a few my heart rate can get as high as 180 BPM! That's how high my HR is when I sprint! On my leg day I can burn almost as many calories as I would of doing an hour of cardio.

There are lots of ways you can mix things up with weights to also get a cardio workout :D