Anabolic Aerobics - Part 2
In the previous article I went against the grain and explained how cardio can increase gains in muscle and keep unwanted body fat to a minimum in the process.
The key word there being, can. There are a number of things that need to be addressed before you can get the maximum results.
The first is cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone secreted in response to stress
(in our case exercise). Cortisol's main objective is to liberate energy from
tissues for use during these periods of stress . It doesn't have a preference on
what tissue it gets it from, but it does seem to favor muscle tissue rather
heavily . The amount of cortisol released is directly related to the intensity
or degree of the stress. It seems that after about 20 minutes of high intensity
work, cortisol levels shoot through the roof. With that said, for high intensity
(85-90% VO2 max) cardio to have the most benefit in its muscle building/fat
burning properties, sessions should be kept under 20 min.
This is where so many go wrong. As I stated in the previous article, cardio
creates the same anabolic state and window of opportunity as heavy weight
training. Sucking back a few grams of glutamine just won't cut it. To make this
as effective as possible, a pre & post work out
supplementation protocol should be followed, very much in the same fashion
as most do for weight training sessions.
First and fore most is our good friend, insulin. Keeping insulin up in the
period surrounding a cardio session is critical. Having Insulin and
carbohydrates present before and during a cardio session seems to slow the
muscle destroying action of cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. This
aspect single handedly slows the start of Gluconeogenesis. Gluco = sugar/blood
sugar, neo = new, genesis = formation or creation. It means the formation of
blood glucose from non - carbohydrate sources, or in most cases, muscle protein.
This is exactly what we don't want.
Secondly, protein should be added to the mix. High intensity cardio uses a lot of
muscle groups and makes use of a lot of the type II fibers. The same ones we use
during weight training. This action alone will be drawing the glucose and amino
acids directly to every last one of them. Cardio accelerates the rate of protein
synthesis and break down. If you don't address which protein is added, its going
to hurt you in the long run (6,7). This is what most bodybuilders attributes as
"burning up muscle".
Creatine should also be included into the mixture as well. Although the exact
reasons aren't fully understood, creatine has the unique ability to preserve and
even accelerate muscle growth in times of caloric restriction and a negative
nitrogen balance . I would be lead to believe its has much to do with its cell
volumizing properties which leads to greater protein synthesis. If you are one
who uses creating before and after weight training an does cardio in the
evening, I would recommend that a small 2g dose before and after should be
enough. Or 5g only to the post work out supplementation.
Glutamine is another supplement I suggest to add in at this time. Aside
from its anti-catabolic properties and its ability to accelerate protein
synthesis, an 8g dose replenishes glycogen stores with out added carbohydrates.
And is even more effective when carbohydrates are included . So, we have
dextrose, whey protein, creatine, and glutamine so far. This is very similar to the supplement composition that
not only minimizes cortisol secretion and lactic acid build-up over continual
training, but it also maximizes the Anabolic hormones.
Namely, we are taking advantage of insulin, IGF-I and Growth hormone 7. I
think that it's very important to get these nutrients in at this critical time
and as soon as possible. Secondly I think its important that the protein and
carbohydrates be liquid in nature. Solid foods simply take longer to digest in
the stomach. The longer we need to wait for the nutrients to be delivered to the
small intestine for absorption, the more tissue breakdown can occur.
More over, after intense training, the rate that material is actually dumped
into the small intestine from the stomach is much slower. So liquid supplements
are highly sought after at this time. I would also recommend taking some
anti-oxidants after cardio as well, like vitamin C, E, beta-carotene, alpha
lipoic acid, NAC, etc. Most free radicals are nothing more than un-paired Oxygen
molecules. So I think it is safe to say aerobic exercise will create more of
them than resistance training.
You're probably thinking a meal replacement that would fit the bill at this
time, but there is only one problem. Most MRP's are comprised mainly of casein,
which takes a very long time to digest. Whey hydrolysates, isolates and
concentrates, in order of preference, are what should be taken in the period
immediately after any work out. The longer it takes the nutrient to get into the
blood, the more muscle breakdown can occur. Whey is a much faster "acting"
protein than casein.
First and foremost is the protein issue. As the work load increases, so does
the need for proteins. Both strength and endurance athletes are instructed to
intake amounts of protein well above normal requirements. When you combine the
two, the demand is even higher. Throughout the data I have read there was one
common occurrence. The people who did both cardio and weight training seemed to
gain more muscle and loose more fat, but they were in a negative nitrogen
balance (6,7). Don't skip on the protein folks, simply adding calories from fat
and carbs will not, I repeat, will not increase gains in muscle (6,8). Imagine
how much muscle these people would have put on if they had consumed enough!
The second, and maybe the most important part, is the composition of the rest
of your diet. More specifically, how to use the glycemic index in the correct
manner to maximize your results. There are a number of articles on this web site
on the GI. My advice is to read them, know them and love them! But, I can direct
you to one of the most complete lists I have ever seen at
Most of us understand the importance of carbohydrates that are High on the GI
after a work out. But many don't realize just how important foods low on the GI
are during the rest of the day. Just simply by adjusting your food intake to Low
GI foods outside of the 3 window of opportunity, you will have not only greatly
reduced muscle tissue break down, but also increased fat oxidation. And a diet
with a large amount of low GI foods increases nitrogen retention even during
periods of restricted carbohydrate intake (18).
As I talked about in Part I, fat oxidation is already accelerated from
the high intensity cardio . But combining that with low GI foods and you are
basically throwing napalm on the metabolic fires. This is an example of what a
Bodybuilders "Food Guide Pyramid" should look like. We keep the refined and high
GI foods up and the top of the pyramid because they are only for those critical
times around workouts.
Next on the list is mod GI carbs and starches such as, oatmeal, pastas, some
certain forms of rice, barely, etc. I like to include these in the end of the
3-hour window. Next comes the protein and supplement portion. Milk, meats,
poultry and of course Whey. Don't exclude milk. I'll have to refer you back to
Big Cat's article on milk. But I have also found that milk raises the level of
circulating IGF-I and helps to prevent some forms of cancer. So drink up.
I know many people like to use whey only for post workouts because its
assimilated so fast and leaves you hanging. But, if taken WITH meals and not as
a meal replacement its extremely effective. By taking whey with meals, it
ensures the presence of insulin and puts you in an absorptive state. Doing so
almost guarantees that the why will be channeled to muscle tissue rather than
oxidized as an energy source. I also include other supplements in the category.
Things like creatine, glutamine, CLA, fat burners, and so on are very beneficial and are a bigger part of the
overall diet than people realize.
Last on the list are Low GI foods. Vegetables in their many forms are
very low on the list and should be used often. And you can virtually eat as much
as you want. In fact, many of them have a negative caloric value. Meaning it
will take your body more energy to digest them than is actually in the food.
This is kind of a way to trick your body into thinking its getting more calories
than it actually is.
However, lets get one thing straight. We aren't trying to overly restrict
calories here. In fact that could be detrimental to the entire process. The data
shows with out a shadow of a doubt, that people who participate in high
intensity weight training and cardio, use the GI properly are leaner and have
more muscle when they ate their normal healthy diets (6,7,18)! Even leaner than
people who "diet" in the true sense by limiting calories (20). I've included
MRPs to the bottom rung of the latter because they are a staple in a sound diet
and are very effective in fat loss endeavors.
They are also low on the GI. I know maltodextrin is common in most and is
regarded as being HI on the list. However, I took it upon my self to test it out
personally. I have a little blood glucose meter and took some test readings. My
fasting level is about 85mg/dl. A single MRP raises it to about 125 mg/dl. On
the other hand eating potatoes or rice will elevate it close to 190mg/dl. So I
think they are a much safer bet.
THE TESTOSTERONE ISSUE
Single bouts of high intensity have been known to elevate testosterone
levels post exercise. However, as we continue to train day after day, levels
drop off continually with every session (7). So it's our job to fix the problem
with our diet. This is why I've included essential fats/oils to the bottom rung
of the pyramid. The amount of testosterone is directly correlated to the amount
of saturated and monounsaturated fat in our diet. Polyunsaturated fats seem to
have a negative impact . And saturated fat really has no function other than
storage, so there's no need to try to include it in your diet. So keep the olive
oil, nuts, and flax seeds handy. But I would include CLA and maybe an EFA
supplement as well.
SO NOW WHAT?
In the last article I show that it is in fact possible to loose body fat
while gaining muscle mass. The biggest obstacle is to forget what the numbers on
the scale say. The goal of a "bulking" phase is go gain the maximum amount of
muscle in the shortest amount of time. This article gives you an idea of how to
manipulate your diet to do just that. And you now have more reason to do cardio
during you bulking phase than not. No I'll give a couple examples of how to go
about pulling all of this information together.
|Three Day Split Routine
||Train Every Day - Twice
|6:30am - High GI breakfast
(commercial breakfast cereal), whey & milk.
||6:30am - High GI breakfast
1(commercial breakfast cereal), whey & milk.
|8am - Pre-work out (weights or
cardio). Dextrose, Whey, Creatine, Glutamine (drink this during warm up
||8am - Pre-work out. Dextrose, Whey,
Creatine, Glutamine (drink this during warm up sets).
|9am - Post work out. Same as Pre +
||9am - Post work out. Same as Pre +
|9:30 - Solid food meal +High GI
||9:30 - Solid food meal +High GI
|10:30 - MRP.
||10:30 - MRP.
|12:00 - Moderate GI foods + Whey
||12:00 - Moderate GI foods+ Whey
|Low GI meals for the rest of the day.
||Low GI meals.
|Night Time - Follow my first article
"Building Muscle 24-7"
||4:30 - 13 min Hi intensity cardio.
||4:45 - Dextrose (optional), creatine,
glutamine, whey + anti-oxidants.
||5pm - Low GI Meals.
|* On a 3 day split, you might lift
Mon, Wed, Fri. And do Cardio Tues, Thur, and Sat (if you are
ambitious). The main idea is to employ this method for every work out cardio
or weight training.
||Night time - Follow the strategy I
outlined in my first article "Building Muscle 24-7"
Also "cycling" the amount of cardio you do, in volume and intensity, seems to
further stimulate the fast twitch (the big ones) muscle fibers to grow . So it
may be a good idea to not only include a wide variety of cardio machines and
activities to hit all the muscle groups, but to also take a break every so
often. If you are doing 3 sessions regularly, near the end of your training
blocks, cut back to 2 for a week. The next week cut back to 1, then the last
week just do 1 moderate/ low intensity session, then take an entire week off of
training all together.
One final suggestion is to keep the meals in the hours after your first
training session very low in fat to keep things moving smoothly and quickly. A
light sprinkle of crushed flax seeds on your solid food meals should rally be
enough at this time.
Of course, these are just samples and suggestions. You can modify, as you'd
like. But this illustrates the type of timing that is involved in making it all
work. This approach to training and diet produces an internal environment
conductive for maximum muscle growth. I know that the idea of cardio building
muscle probably goes against everything you know. But there's to much evidence
to deny it. I know it may be even harder to believe that doing as little a 13-15
min of it is going to benefit you in your fat burning and muscle building
efforts. I think the biggest mental obstacle is the fact that everyone misses
the big picture.
It is true that we are not going to use fat as a primary fuel source during
high intensity cardio. However, for the next 24 or more hours fat will be
oxidized at a much higher rate. This "after-effect" simply doesn't happen with
normal cardio. So now you need to ask yourself, "would I rather burn fat for
30-45min, or burn fat for the next 24 hours?"
DEFINING INTENSE CARDIO
I've stressed the point of 85% to almost 95% of VO2 max, but that's something
that is very hard to determine. What I think is a better concept is the "Comfort
Zone". This is what normal cardio feels like, you know you can keep it up for 40
min or more if you really wanted to. Intense cardio leaves the comfort zone in
the dust. The health industry refers to it as an oxygen deficit. You're lungs
start burning and your body feels like its on fire. You have to stumble your way
back to the car when your done. Much like John described in his response. Not
everyone like that feeling and its something you need to get used to.
As bodybuilders, wear not endurance athletes, thee is no reason to do the
lower intensity, long and drawn out cardio work anymore. This is very similar to
lactic threshold work, in fact you will probably cross that point at one time or
another and have to stop briefly. But that's what it should be like. You've
probably lived by the "No pain, no gain" adage for a long time, you might as
well apply it to cardio.
REAL WORLD RESULTS
So, all the science mumbo-jumbo doesn't float with you? You want to see how
it works with some "real" people? Well. Before writing this article, I had
advised a number of people to construct their diets and work out plans in such a
manner. Here is a sample of the responses I received:
Zach - 3yrs. Previous training: "I used to
eat a ton of meat and the cheapest whey protein I could find, with as little
carbs as possible and a lot of fat (came with the red meats). My daily caloric
intake had been about 2400 to 2800 per day. I have in the past year switched my
meat intake to only white lean meats (chicken breast, turkey beast, etc....). My
protein supplementation, which had previously been all cheap brands of whey
protein, has been switched to hydrolyzed whey protein isolate. I have added a
great deal of carbohydrates, low GI except right after working out at which
point I opt for higher GI carbs. I have cut out almost all fats and have
supplemented with CLA. My current daily caloric intake is about 1600-2000???"
I used to lift Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Each workout would last
me about 1 and 1/2 hours. Each body part was worked twice per week. I also used
to aim for positive failure at about 8-12 reps, stressing perfect form not
allowing my body to move like it wanted to. I used to always perform a great
deal of isolation exercises for muscles like my biceps and triceps. I have since
switched to training each body part once per week, lifting 6 days a week, with
short 1/2 hour sessions???
Cardio has been the biggest change. I used to perform 3 super long cardio
sessions on the days I didn't lift. Generally distance runs of anywhere from
10-20 miles. I have since switched my cardio to 6 days a week, all the days I
lift, and do about 20 minute sessions of the highest intensity I can maintain in
that time frame???
Prior to making the switches I have listed above, despite my efforts I was
soft looking, albeit fairly strong. I had a good deal of body fat, blaming
"genetics" for not being able to achieve a six-pack. Despite my young age, I had
been unable to pack on the muscle like many of my peers who at this age could
seemingly train any way they wanted and get results. I stayed with about 18
percent body fat for what seemed like forever.
After the switches I gradually made over time, I went from 18 percent body
fat to and 9 percent body fat, gained 5lbs in total weight while achieving the
six-pack that I thought "genetics" had been denying me. I went from envying the
guys my age who seemed like they could do everything wrong and make progress, to
the guy that they came to for training advice??? (that's a 20lb increase in lean
body mass for those of you with out a calculator).
Comments: The most important things I have learned is that genetic
limitations do not really exist. The basics that are so widely accepted amongst
bodybuilders are the true limiting factors that have been so inappropriately
dubbed "genetics". Training right gets you results, if your not getting results
fast, or not getting them at all, your not training right, it is that simple???
The second greatest discovery I have found is that I haven't any need to go
through a uncomfortable bulking phase in which I stuff myself, and a horrible
cutting phase where I starve and lose 1/2 of my hard earned muscle!!
Bodybuilding is about gaining muscle and losing the fat, why not do both at
once!!! Even eastern philosophy believes that nothing in extremes is lasting,
moderation is everything. Why go for super high cal diets and super low cal
diets when a moderate to slightly low cal diet is so much kinder on your stomach
Jim with over 20 years of training had to say:
"This past Dec. I was disgusted with myself. I weighed 235 and size 38 pants
were getting tight."
Background: From age 18 to 35 I trained 4 to 6 days (reps as high as
20 but mostly 8 to 10) a week and was in very good shape. Then I got married,
had a kid and let myself go. About two years ago I had a serious back injury
from training to hard too fast and not stretching enough. A year ago I tried
doing cardio more than weights and lost 20 pounds. At 217 I was lighter than I
had been in many years, But when I looked in the mirror I just didn't look that
Back to December, I knew there had to be a way for a busy person like myself
to get results fast. I searched on the internet and found this site and you. I
have been training 4 days a week with the 4-6 rep range. I have had tremendous
strength gains. When I started I couldn't to the 90 lb dumbells once and now I
can do the 100 lb for 6 (I have out grown the dumbbells in my gym will have to
use barbell). I know you advise against doing cardio (rowing, interval
running/walking on treadmill, stairmaster) after lifting but I do it any way and
it has been effective for me.
As far as supplementing, I use whey protein and creatine and that is it. Diet
is better than it has ever been. No junk food. Eat every 3 hours and immediately
after waking up.
Current statistics: I am 40 years old, 6' 2" and I now weigh 230lb and
can fit in size 34 pants although my legs are too big most of the time for that
waist size. I look better at 230 than I did at 217. My wife loves the changes I
have made in my body. She has just ordered a personalize license plate for me."
Name: Brad Year training: 2
Background: "Well, I started to gradually gain a significant amount
of weight every year. During the course of my freshman year I realized I wanted
to lose weight and sadly went at it the every wrong way. I would not eat a
healthy breakfast, fasted at school, and basically stuffed my self when I got
home. I did not loose any weight through out the whole year."
June 2001 - September 2001: I committed myself to lose weight at all
costs. And again without proper guidance I slipped into my bad habits. I hardly
ate anything, did endless sit-ups, and ran around my block religiously. In the
end after the damage was done. I was 5'9", lost over 30lbs and 4 inches in my
waist. Needless to say I lost a significant amount of fat and muscle mass due to
this escapade. I was a walking skeleton. I was so thin I could see my ribs
through my chest and back for the first time.
Oct. 2001- Present: After finding this Message board I decided to
start bodybuilding. I started to eat healthy for the first time in my life. 6
small meals a day. Low glycemic meals throughout the day and high GI meals after
working out. With the help of a friend I started to love working out for the
first time in my life. Everyday I would visit this message board(@home&school)
and read your posts.
I took all the information you contributed on this board and basically based
my life around it. Everything from high intensity cardio( 10-13 minutes of pure
fun :), the time I eat( every 2-3 hours), how much I eat( 198g carbs, 280g
protein), when I lift (3:00pm), how I lift(4-6rep range, 5 days a week training
2 muscle groups a day), to just plain out how I look at my self.
I have been supplementing with creatine, hydrolyzed whey isolate and
glutamine (bracketing method), Nytro-Pro40 meal replacements, & Dymetadrine
Xtreme. My gains within these few months have been Phenomenal!! My arms gained
1.5 in. at least. And I gained 40lbs+ to my max bench so far!
Current: I've put on over 20lbs of lean mass and kept a 32in waist!!!
I am really excited about the progression in the years to come. Thanks Eric for
showing me the way to my new passion in life."
"I think the biggest thing I've taken away from you is the intensity
principle and a true understanding of failure. Unfortunately, I can't tolerate
the short, intense cardio sessions you recommend - they just tear my insides
apart, and I feel like I want to double over and die half-way through; and not
in a good way either - but at least after trying a couple sessions, I know I can
push myself a little harder on the longer, less intense sessions."
As far as lifting goes, I've been able to break through a few slumps by
lifting more intensely. I can make size and strength gains again when it comes
to biceps. I've been increasing weight every session for squats and forearm
curls - I'm still waiting to reach the true weight I can work with for these
exercises, but I need to give my back a chance to adjust for squats, and my
wrists a chance to adjust for forearm curls to the increased weight. Though I'm
still waiting for these weakest links to catch up, I have been pushing my self
with more intensity to reach failure so that the exercises are still effective
for the muscles they're supposed to work.
"I've been able to push myself harder and force myself to really work for
true failure - except flat bench, for some reason this has gone from being one
of my favorite exercises to one of my least favorite; I think I've just allowed
the fear of dropping it on myself to creep into my subconscious, and I need to
drive it out somehow. I'm still relatively new at this, so in some aspects, I'm
still fumbling around; but I have picked up a lot of information from you to
continue experimenting and fine-tuning with my plan."
So there is a little sample of what just a few months of application of my
theory can accomplish. If you are truly committed to building the most amount of
muscle, high intensity cardio work seems to be surfacing as the as a factor just
as influential as nutrition. Now with all of that said, you can no longer you a
bulking phase to exclude cardio from your training. If you are going to exclude
it, at least be honest and say you're just too lazy.
The one thing that came up in all of the responses and more so in the last
one, was the one thing I feel is vital to success in any training style. And
that is the mindset and mental approach you take in everything you do. In my
next couple of articles, I would like to share so of the mental strategies I
shared with these people that have given them the ability to enjoy every aspect
of their training and life. And for a bodybuilder to say he honestly does cardio
for fun is something to take notice of! So take this article as a plan of attack
in your bodybuilding journey. Its time to abandon some of the old school
principles and see what your body is really capable of. And as I always like to
say, when its all said and done, you'll have "Cuts To The Bone".
By: Eric Satterwhite
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