It should come as no surprise to you by now that I think that doing aerobics/cardio in addition to your lifting program while on a GAIN cycle is…
* A waste of time
* And a waste of energy and RECOVERY ability…
…but again, you already knew that, right?
I came across a neat little study recently that demonstrates the negative impact on recovery ability, and strength progressions, when doing BOTH aerobics and weight lifting.
Study Title: Effects of aerobic exercise on strength performance following various periods of recovery. Sporer BC, Wenger HA. J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Nov;17(4):638-44. (link)
They basically set up the study to see if aerobic training had any impact on a subsequent strength training workout.
The participants performed some aerobic training followed by a test of their strength at 4, 8, and 24 hours later. These results were compared to a control test of their strength without any prior cardio. (Leg Press and Bench Press).
The conclusion was that there was a strength DECREASE at both 4 and 8 hours after the aerobic training.
The 24 hour test showed no decrease compared to the control.
The take-home message is that you would have to leave it at least 24 hours after performing cardio to ensure that you could perform MAXIMALLY during a
bodybuilding workout like THT. Better yet, just don’t do it at all. 😀
If you’ve read my previous articles on this subject, you know that any exercise, whether aerobic or anaerobic, is simply mechanical work by the muscles. It therefore means that any ADDITIONAL exercise of any meaningful intensity is making an inroad into recovery ability and actually DELAYING muscular growth.
Here are those other articles:
Again, it’s mechanical work by the muscles, period!
A bodybuilding workout is one that simply imparts a specific type of stimulus to the muscles, which forces them to not just COMPENSATE for what you did, but OVERCOMPENSATE and put back more than was broken down by the workout itself.
That’s it. And cardio plays NO role in this whatsoever.
But here’s the crucial point….
The compensating/recovery and OVERcompensating/growth process takes time.
Think of it like picking a scab when you were a kid. Your parents always told you not to pick it, right? Why not? Because you have to leave it alone to let it heal. A bodybuilding workout creates the wound, but additional cardio is akin to picking the scab.
Allowing sufficient time for recovery and growth will MAXIMIZE your gains. The point in time when you’ve reaped the maximal benefit from your workout is what I call the Peak Overcompensation Point (P.O.P.). This concept is built right into THT training, whether it’s a 3 day cycle, or a 5-day split.
NOTE: Are you getting fat when “bulking”? It certainly isn’t because of a lack of cardio. It’s because you’re eating too much. The often recommended 500 surplus calories per day is quite ridiculous.
See here for an estimate how many calories you really need. Use this as a starting point and adjust if necessary.
If you believe you can overeat to “fuel muscle growth” and burn any excess calories off with cardio, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. The extra calories make you fat, and the extra cardio is actually PREVENTING maximal gains in size and strength.
There is a sweet spot though…
MAXIMIZE muscle growth with THT workouts and ZERO cardio
MINIMIZE fat gain by eating SUFFICIENT calories, NOT surplus calories.
Hit it HARD, then chill out…
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