How can I build muscle while still doing cardio?

  • mark_z

    Posts: 3

    Jan 31, 2014 12:45 AM GMT
    Greetings everyone!

    Ever since I was in middle school and began swimming competitively, I have always maintained very good shape. As a result of this habit of perpetual cardio and core training, I also do not really know where to start in terms of building muscle and mass, which is an area I am hoping some of you may be able to help me with.

    What I am currently doing is hitting the gym 7 times a week. Each day, I always run 4-5 miles @ 1 mi/7 minutes prior to my workout. I then typically do a core routine of sets of 50 abdominal exercises and push-ups before lifting. In terms of lifting, I usually focus on different groups/day. Usually lats/back, chest, legs/shoulders, biceps. I have no rest days.

    The issue: right now I seem to just be maintaining a toned muscle build (my picture is pretty much where I am at).

    What I want: I want to build significant muscle in the chest/arm/shoulder and leg area, while still maintaining a trim waist (I am currently a size 27). Are there any suggestions as to a routine/habit I should get into?

    Thanks guys!
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    Jan 31, 2014 2:05 AM GMT
    You are seriously overtraining, man! You'll never develop any real mass with this schedule-- you've already plateaued and won't make any more progress until you ease up.

    REST and RECOVERY are essential for building back mass after you injure your muscle tissue by weight training in the gym. Also, a caloric surplus of protein and complex carbs is necessary for new muscle synthesis. You have probably jacked your metabolism so high that you burn up all that you're eating without sufficient rest and the excess calories you need.

    First step is to dial down the cardio significantly-- you're already very lean. You need to make a choice here-- bulking up requires some significant changes to your whole training approach.

    Too much more to go on here. We can take it offline if you want more specific suggestions.
  • mark_z

    Posts: 3

    Jan 31, 2014 2:12 AM GMT
    I figured that it would require me easing off the cardio. My main concern, however, is maintaining how lean I am around the waist while still bulking. I would love to go into detail with you about how I can start
  • flashed

    Posts: 11

    Jan 31, 2014 3:07 AM GMT
    one suggestion is to reverse your cardio/strength training. That is, do the weights and such first, then run. If you read up this is the recommendation of many professional trainers. If you're doing the same thing every time, then I agree with the other comment--that you've plateaued.

    You will also need to mix stuff up, like doing intervals instead of straight running at 7 min/mi, and do them fewer times per week. Try doing a warm up for 5 mins, at progressive speeds, to a base pace--say 8 min/mi. bump up the pace in 4-5 sets for 2 minutes, with one minute at 8 min/mi. for each set run faster than the previous set. then cool down--of course this is after you've done your weights.

    Generally, interval training will ensure that your body is still keeping up a high metabolism, so you'll keep you slim waist. At the same time I suggest engaging a personal trainer to give you some ideas about mixing it up on the build. Just a little bit of changeup, as well as doing the weights and floor exercises first, will give you that extra build you might be looking for.

    Finally, I have to say that rowing is a phenomenal sport that you might try to keep the core tight, while also getting lots of cardio. Make sure you've got good form when you do this, so that you maximize the benefit. It totally benefits your running and general cardio fitness.

    hope this helps.
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    Jan 31, 2014 5:00 AM GMT
    How well do you manage your diet?

    I think that is probably going to be key. With all the calories you burn doing cardio, you are going to have to eat a lot and then manage it to a point where you're gaining optimally... but not a significant amount of bodyfat.
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    Feb 01, 2014 12:11 AM GMT
    Run while eating meat!
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    Feb 01, 2014 12:28 AM GMT
    It helps to take in some casein protein about 30 mins before bedtime. Serve up a cup of non-fat cottage cheese or plain greek yogurt, or blend up a casein protein shake.

    The body will slowly assimilate the proteins overnight (so long as you have a good 6-8 hours of good sleep), and you will find some positive gains.
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    Feb 18, 2014 6:37 AM GMT
    mark_z saidGreetings everyone!

    Ever since I was in middle school and began swimming competitively, I have always maintained very good shape. As a result of this habit of perpetual cardio and core training, I also do not really know where to start in terms of building muscle and mass, which is an area I am hoping some of you may be able to help me with.

    What I am currently doing is hitting the gym 7 times a week. Each day, I always run 4-5 miles @ 1 mi/7 minutes prior to my workout. I then typically do a core routine of sets of 50 abdominal exercises and push-ups before lifting. In terms of lifting, I usually focus on different groups/day. Usually lats/back, chest, legs/shoulders, biceps. I have no rest days.

    The issue: right now I seem to just be maintaining a toned muscle build (my picture is pretty much where I am at).

    What I want: I want to build significant muscle in the chest/arm/shoulder and leg area, while still maintaining a trim waist (I am currently a size 27). Are there any suggestions as to a routine/habit I should get into?

    Thanks guys!


    If you're trying to build muscle, I think you are doing too much cardio. I know you want to keep a trim waist, but how do you know you won't if you just back off some of it? I don't know what your metabolism is like, but if you already have a high metabolism, then it wouldn't even matter if you skip most/all the cardio for awhile.
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    Feb 18, 2014 7:39 AM GMT
    mark_z saidGreetings everyone!

    Ever since I was in middle school and began swimming competitively, I have always maintained very good shape. As a result of this habit of perpetual cardio and core training, I also do not really know where to start in terms of building muscle and mass, which is an area I am hoping some of you may be able to help me with.

    What I am currently doing is hitting the gym 7 times a week. Each day, I always run 4-5 miles @ 1 mi/7 minutes prior to my workout. I then typically do a core routine of sets of 50 abdominal exercises and push-ups before lifting. In terms of lifting, I usually focus on different groups/day. Usually lats/back, chest, legs/shoulders, biceps. I have no rest days.

    The issue: right now I seem to just be maintaining a toned muscle build (my picture is pretty much where I am at).

    What I want: I want to build significant muscle in the chest/arm/shoulder and leg area, while still maintaining a trim waist (I am currently a size 27). Are there any suggestions as to a routine/habit I should get into?

    Thanks guys!


    You're clearly in great shape.

    There's a simple rule: if you eat more than you consume, you'll gain. Just the opposite, and you'll lose. Your body find set points (mine is usually around 210, but, I can nudge it a bit higher if I eat non-stop. It's harder for me to nudge it down).

    So, simply stated, you either need to eat more, or cut back.

    Because you're in such great shape now, and...you like it, my vote is for you to eat more.

    Everyone needs a rest day. Resistance training is extremely intensive. Without tons of calories, and chemicals, you're going to end up going backwards before you know it.

    Read up on sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. The trick is in the calories, their composition, and NOT over training.

    I used to be much like you, in my 20's, riding 40 miles on my bike, then lifting weights, and stretching for hours. It wasn't until I put in LESS work than I actually got bigger. (I was 185 in high school, and had the 5'th highest strength index in my school. I've been studied by several organizations, because, well, most 5'5" guys don't begin carry around the mass I do.) At 28, I had a resting heart rate of 43. I get how much you like it.

    Eventually, other priorities, like working, or a relationship, will come into play, and you'll probably spend less time doing it.

    If you wanna' be bigger, you gotta' eat more often, more calories, including fats (ploys and monos), carbs, and adequate protein.

    In your case, less would be better.

    When I coach guys, I usually have them back off, and they start seeing better results. It's very, very, easy to overtrain with weights. It's that intensive.

    Follow your passion. You have your whole life to get big.
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    Feb 19, 2014 5:33 AM GMT
    Like some people have said, 7 days a week is too much in terms of building muscle, unless you're focusing on different muscle groups on each of those days, and still that's a little too much. Like another said, I would do cardio/abs at the end of weight training if you really have to do cardio. A 3-5 day split (depending on your weight lifting experience) would a good place to start with cardio days and rest interspersed in between those split days.

    Eating is essential, as well. Unfortunately, if you want to gain muscle, you have to increase caloric intake. You have to choose: bulk or cut. You really can't do both and reach the goals you want. If you want to gain muscle, you'll have to sacrifice a your body fat % a little and expect small gains in BF. But you'll also see noticeable gains in muscle bulk/mass. Then when you've reached the size you want, you can start to cut to whatever BF% you want and just maintain that muscle mass until you decide to bulk more or cut more.

    In terms of doing weight lifting at the gym, to target hypertrophy a rep range of 8-12 with 3 sets is the "standard". However, the weight you choose should be such that you can't do more than 8 or so to ensure you're taxing the muscles adequately. When you are able to do 10, it's time to move up in weight. The key is progression. Working in the lower ranges and volume helps with gains in both sarcoplasmic and Myofibrillar hypertrophy. With this type of training, rest is important to allow your body to repair the microtears produced by weight training (good thing as that helps to stimulate muscle growth). However, it's been shown some active recovery the day after is helpful in repair, this means something like light cardio or light physical activity of some kind.

    Another person mentioned intervals training. This would also be a good idea. Perhaps replacing one of your runs with a HIIT substitute. Anaerobic interval training has been shown to help with hypertrophic gains. Compare the sprinter and the marathoner. Who's more muscular?

    Summary:
    -increase caloric intake (cut or bulk)
    -reduce training days to 3-5 days/wk working muscle groups 2-3x per week (depending on your goals)
    -work in the 8-10/12 rep range for ~3 sets (tweak to fit your body and goals)
    -include rest days and perform cardio in between workout days or after workout
    -substitute a cardio exercise for HIIT


    But don't cut out cardio completely. I'm a big proponent of cardio for health reasons. If you look at the heart of an endurance athlete vs the heart of a weight lifter, completely different. But you have a great body right now, and it can only get better from here.

  • Feb 23, 2014 3:34 AM GMT
    Hey,

    You look great and already have a good amount of muscle on you.
    First of all--overtraining is a term that is overused. Being overtrained is an overall symptom of neural fatigue, almost like a feverish feeling. That being said, you ARE training too much in order to GAIN MUSCLE. Ben Pakulski has some eloquent videos on what overtraining really is, in case you want to check those out.

    If you do a conventional bulking cycle, and limit your cardio to 2-3 times a week (or remove it completely), you will easily put on mass. Some fat will come along with it, which can later be taken care of on a cutting phase. Your waist size will increase, but only slightly.

    If you are really concerned about leanness, or maintaining your small waist, then I would suggest carb-cycling or perhaps intermittent fasting. Depending on your caloric intake and/or approach, you can put on muscle mass with a minimal increase in body fat. Newer research suggests that IF and carb-cycling might even be more efficient that regular bulk/cut cycles. I can write about this for days, so I won't go playing devil's advocate and what not.

    "yoursweetguy's" post is by far the one you should be taking home. His bullet points are certainly what you should be doing. I would add (or subtract) that cardio isn't really a necessity. Is it helpful for blood circulation, general well-being? Certainly. Will your hear or circulatory system (and fat gain/loss) suffer from not doing cardio at 21 years of age? Absolutely not. Even if you decided to do no cardio until you were 25 and only bulk and lift weights, you'd be more than fine. I might get bashed for this, but there is substantial research backing my claims.

    All in all, great advice from the above posters. I'm new here and love seeing that there is a gay fitness online community.

    Best of luck!