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Should Cardio Be Part of A Weight Gain Process?

February 19, 2013 - By Christophe Alarie

Temps de lecture 2 minutes

Should we perform cardio during a weight gain process? The answer is yes! However, there are a few rules to follow in order to get the full benefits of cardio without interfering with muscle mass gain.

Having an adequate food intake
During a prolonged cardio session, energy expenditure is often significant. During a weight gain process, it is vital to maintain a positive caloric intake, that is, to consume more calories than you burn. Eating 250 to 500 calories in excess of your daily needs is necessary. If you add a cardio session to your plan, you will need to compensate to maintain this positive balance at the end of the day.

I advise you to read Vanessa’s article on nutrition for weight gain: http://bit.ly/KIeISg

Having adequate muscular stimulation
To gain muscle mass and volume, muscles must be properly stimulated. A structured training program geared toward adding muscle mass will help in gaining volume. However, during long-term endurance cardio sessions, there is a possibility of muscle mass reduction in order to improve oxygen consumption by the organism. I recommend that you perform more workouts geared toward mass gain than endurance-based cardio sessions.

Aim for low-intensity cardio
There is a model suggesting that in order to limit interference, low-intensity cardio would be more effective in avoiding excessive muscle fatigue and maintaining adequate muscle stimulation for muscle growth. Low-intensity is recommended to avoid changing the type of muscle stimulation for target muscles[1].

Proper recovery
Working out several times a week for muscle growth requires adequate recovery to maintain energy levels. Sleep and nutrition are your best allies for gaining mass. Do not forget that cardiovascular training also requires adequate rest and nutrition. Proper recovery between cardio and resistance training does not hinder muscle growth[2].

By Christophe Alarie


[1] DOCHERTY, D. and SPORER, B. A Proposed Model for Examining the Interference Phenomenon between Concurrent Aerobic and Strength Training. Sports Medicine. 2000, Vol.30 Issue 6, pp 385 – 394.

[2] DE SOUZA et Al. Acute effect of two aerobic exercise modes on maximum strength and strength endurance. Journal of strenght and conditioning research. 2007. Nov;21 (4), pp 1286 – 1290.

Should Cardio Be Part of A Weight Gain Process? is a post from Nautilus Plus. The Nautilus Plus blog aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
Copyright © Nautilus Plus 2013

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