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Too much cardio= weight gain?


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Has anyone had the experience of gaining weight on an overly devoted cardio habit?  I have a six day a week, blended routine, but there is a lot of cardio involved and my weight does not move not matter the calorie restriction. 

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Depending on your routine you could be gaining a tad bit of muscle (based on your blended routine comment). Also, you could also be overtraining which can lead to a plateau in your weight loss efforts. And if you are not eating enough support a 6x/week routine the scale can also stall because your body could think its starving, therefore holding onto the weight...

What would you consider over training?

75 Minutes Elliptical, Gravitron Routine, 45 Minutes Kickboxing on bag, nautilus, Mon, Wed, Fri...Legs, Back, Abs, Tues, Thurs, Sat. Abs, Calves, Upper Body, Free Weights. Tang Soo Do, three times per week. Does this sound like too much? Not Enough? Not diversified?  Any input is appreciatedSmile

How much are you eating?

Well, it seems like you could be gaining muscle (not a bad thing). I wouldn't focus so much on the # on the scale right now. How are your clothes fitting? Do you feel tighter? More toned? 

I also have the same ? as the previous poster which is how much are you eating (and what are you eating)? No matter how much you workout if you are not eating right you will not see the results you are looking for. I heard this trainer tell me you cannot out run a bad diet... 

~Good Luck!

There are three things I always tell people that do a lot of cardio and focus on scale weight.

The first is to focus less on the scale weight and more on your bodyfat%. As you probably already know, muscle gain leads to your scale weight increasing. However, this doesn't mean that you are getting fatter. It simply means that you are putting on lean muscle, which is a good thing. The best way to track your progress is by getting your bodyfat% taken, along with other measurements like waist, etc.. Then get new ones done every few months or so. These numbers in combination with how your clothes are fitting are the best way to judge overall progress. That is why the best mindset to have is 'I want to lose bodyfat" and not 'I want to lose weight".

The second is that you need to focus more on weight training and do it at least three times per week. Weight training is what leads to body transformation and overall loss of bodyfat. Doing a lot of cardio will burn calories and keep your heart healthy. However, it won't really do much for losing bodyfat. The only way to truly lose bodyfat is through gaining lean muscle.

Last but not least,  is that you should cut back on the cardio. Cardio is a component of fitness. However, it has become one that people put way too much focus on. The main goal of doing cardio should be cardiovascular fitness. To maintain a healthy heart, you only need to do 90-120 minutes per week. When you are doing hours and hours of it everyweek, it tends to lead to muscle loss. So while you may be losing weight on the scale, you are losing the wrong type of weight. A good number for cardio is four days per week broken up by doing two days of steady state cardio after lifting sessions for 20-30 minutes a session, and two days of HIIT cardio on non lifting days to attack bodyfat and speed up metabolism. This will be enough to keep your heart healthy, and you won't sacrifice muscle in the process.

Just want to echo what vyperman7 said about focusing on body fat % more so than your actually weight and measurements to. I've gone up 1/5kg this months from a lot of bicycling but have lost quite a bit of fat and my jeans are smaller.

I do some weight training (taebo amped and resistance bands, balance ball, etc).  But I am worreid I will bulk up.  My body is already really muscular and what I want is to get rid of the layer or 2 of fat covering it!  Shouldn't I be focusing more on cardio?  I don't like the elliptical but I try.  MOstly it's taebo and cardio pilates.  If you are already muscular and the fat is just "covering" it is weight training still good to slim you down?

Original Post by jfourth:

I do some weight training (taebo amped and resistance bands, balance ball, etc).  But I am worreid I will bulk up.  My body is already really muscular and what I want is to get rid of the layer or 2 of fat covering it!  Shouldn't I be focusing more on cardio?  I don't like the elliptical but I try.  MOstly it's taebo and cardio pilates.  If you are already muscular and the fat is just "covering" it is weight training still good to slim you down?

 Women wont bulk up. Don't worry. Muscle may weigh more than fat, but look at the difference. See here.

There are acceptions for .01 of the female population.

I feel Melkor lurking. . . he will set you straight as to what you should do.

*lurks*

:-P

 Thing of it is - while in a calorie deficit, it's mostly not possible to gain muscle, but it's definitely possible to lose it and mess up your metabolism if you don't strength train while dieting (Hunter et.al. : Resistance Training Conserves Fat-free Mass and Resting Energy Expenditure Following Weight Loss.)

 You can have localised fluid edemas from the initial inflammation response to strength training that sometimes gets misinterpreted as bulk, but that's not new muscle, it's just your existing muscle retaining extra water for a while.

Very interesting!

75 Minutes Elliptical, Gravitron Routine, 45 Minutes Kickboxing on bag,...

Is that per day?  ...every day?  It sounds like a lot to me, but then when I think about my own weight history, the only time I've really started to get happy with my own body was when I was doing 60 minute treadmill sessions ten times a week coupled with heavy weight training seven days a week and several multi-hour sessions of shall we say a horizontal routine each week.  Removing any one of those three components resulted in a plateau, well I never took a break from the weight training, but dropping either of the other two would result in a plateau of body fat and weight.  (Weight may have even bumped up a pound or two a week.)  This was on a high protein, low carb diet; probably 2500 calories a day.  I was a 30ish year old man at the time.  Oh and sleep, lots of sleep, 8 hours at night and a couple naps through the day.

 

[I was originally replying to say that the quote saying, "Doing a lot of cardio will burn calories and keep your heart healthy. However, it won't really do much for losing bodyfat.  The only way to truly lose bodyfat is through gaining lean muscle," is total BS.  But that seemed too harsh.  Still, I will say this.  Weight training makes nice, tone, shapely muscle and using muscle burns fat.  But if the muscle is hidden under too much fat it can't be seen or felt.  Fat is stored fuel and there is only one non-surgical way to get rid of it, burn the fat by using more fuel than you take in.  That's just physics.]

Original Post by timmytuber2000:

[I was originally replying to say that the quote saying, "Doing a lot of cardio will burn calories and keep your heart healthy. However, it won't really do much for losing bodyfat.  The only way to truly lose bodyfat is through gaining lean muscle," is total BS.  But that seemed too harsh.  Still, I will say this.  Weight training makes nice, tone, shapely muscle and using muscle burns fat.  But if the muscle is hidden under too much fat it can't be seen or felt.  Fat is stored fuel and there is only one non-surgical way to get rid of it, burn the fat by using more fuel than you take in.  That's just physics.]

Well all I can say is that based on everything I have read and my own personal experience, doing an excess amount of steady state cardio leads to muscle loss and doesn't do much for bodyfat loss. I agree that it does burn a lot of calories. However, calorie loss and bodyfat % dropping are two different things.

 I used to do 5-6 hours of cardio a week easy (45-60 min a session 5-6 times per week) and my bodyfat never really dropped. It wasn't until I cut back on the cardio (3 HIIT sessions per week @ 20 min a session) and hit the weights harder that I saw a noticeable difference. So that is why I stick to my original statement that weight training, HIIT cardio, and good nutrition will do much more for losing bodyfat than excess cardio.

i second vyperman...i did that...too much cardio, like everyday and starving myself. what i endedup doingwas loosing alot of muscle.

now im focussing more on HIT and weight training all the way and yes eating healthy and clean.

so try and reduce the cardio and incorporate more weight training.

good luck xx

However, calorie loss and bodyfat % dropping are two different things.

Well, we agree on that.

I used to do 5-6 hours of cardio a week easy (45-60 min a session 5-6 times per week) and my bodyfat never really dropped.

Actually, we agree on this too.  But in my experience, as I pushed beyond 6, 7 or 8 hours a week and into the realm of 20 hours a week the fat fell away at a rate of several pounds a week.  I could not maintain that pace.  I think I did something like 20 hours a week for two or three weeks then 5 hours a week for a month or two then back to 20 and so on.  I maintained weight and gained strength throughout the 5-hour weeks and lost maybe 5 or 6 pounds a week on the 20-hour weeks.  I lifted heavy 7 days per week throughout--one part a day, 12 to 15 sets.

Is your diet the same on the HIIT program as it was when you were doing big cardio?

...

Admittedly I don't know anything about HIIT.  Google.  The first page says "all your strength, fitness and cardio exercise in four minutes a day."  Okay, killed that page and read on.  Now that I get the gist of what HIIT is, I've always done that! But I've used it as a tool to help break through plateaus in cardio and in resistance training, to reach the next level. 

Well, now I am curious in another way.  When you were doing a lot of cardio, how hard were you working?  I always hate myself a little bit while I'm doing cardio but I get proud when it is over.  My clothes are soaked and dripping when I'm done.  My pulse stays at or above 140 most of the session. 

 

Original Post by timmytuber2000:

However, calorie loss and bodyfat % dropping are two different things.

Well, we agree on that.

I used to do 5-6 hours of cardio a week easy (45-60 min a session 5-6 times per week) and my bodyfat never really dropped.

Actually, we agree on this too.  But in my experience, as I pushed beyond 6, 7 or 8 hours a week and into the realm of 20 hours a week the fat fell away at a rate of several pounds a week.  I could not maintain that pace.  I think I did something like 20 hours a week for two or three weeks then 5 hours a week for a month or two then back to 20 and so on.  I maintained weight and gained strength throughout the 5-hour weeks and lost maybe 5 or 6 pounds a week on the 20-hour weeks.  I lifted heavy 7 days per week throughout--one part a day, 12 to 15 sets.

Is your diet the same on the HIIT program as it was when you were doing big cardio?

...

Admittedly I don't know anything about HIIT.  Google.  The first page says "all your strength, fitness and cardio exercise in four minutes a day."  Okay, killed that page and read on.  Now that I get the gist of what HIIT is, I've always done that! But I've used it as a tool to help break through plateaus in cardio and in resistance training, to reach the next level. 

Well, now I am curious in another way.  When you were doing a lot of cardio, how hard were you working?  I always hate myself a little bit while I'm doing cardio but I get proud when it is over.  My clothes are soaked and dripping when I'm done.  My pulse stays at or above 140 most of the session. 

 

As you probably already read, HIIT is 20-30 second sprint intervals as hard as you can mixed with recovery intervals of 60-90 secs. You don't burn a lot of calories during the workout because HIIT sessions only last 20-25 minutes. However, your metabolic rate skyrockets for hours and hours (12-36) after you are done so you end up burning more calories while at rest. With regular cardio, your metabolism only gets raised at most 3-4 hours after you are done. Since your workout is so intense in HIIT, it targets bodyfat better than steady state and the anabolic nature of the exercise helps to preserve muscle better. It also gives you a better cardiovascular workout as well because your heart goes at two different speeds. My resting pulse has dropped considerably since I started doing HIIT.

I will admit that my nutrition wasn't the greatest when I was doing all of that steady state cardio. I was still eating 5-6 small meals and getting enough protein. However, I was only getting 2000 cals a day, my carbs were all wrong (white pasta, sourdough bread, etc) and I wasn't eating that many fruits or vegetables. I was also drinking at least one can of soda a day. I was working hard in the cardio sessions though. I would burn 700-800 cals in one setting with my heart rate as high as the mid 170's.  What suffered the most was my strength gains in the weight room. I was losing weight, but since my strength wasn't going anywhere and my bodyfat wasn't dropping, I have to assume it was muscle weight I was losing.

Wow, I had no idea of the metabolic benefits of HIIT.  How many calories in crow?

 

I have been thinking of doing HIIT on the elliptical but I just feel like I can't get a good workout in only 25 minutes!  Right now I do an hour at a 3 (resistance goes to 7 on mine) or kickboxing.  It just seems like 25 minutes isn't that much.  And is it annoying to be watching the time the whole time for when to go faster and when to slow down, etc....

I like listening to my mp3 player and just forgetting about the time.  What do you think?

I have been thinking of doing HIIT on the elliptical but I just feel like I can't get a good workout in only 25 minutes!  Right now I do an hour at a 3 (resistance goes to 7 on mine) or kickboxing.  It just seems like 25 minutes isn't that much.  And is it annoying to be watching the time the whole time for when to go faster and when to slow down, etc....

I like listening to my mp3 player and just forgetting about the time.  What do you think?

Well, it's not completely necessary to watch the clock.  A lot of people do HIIT outside and don't pay attention to times. 

Just do an all-out hard sprint for as long as you can.  Then drop down to a lower effort until you stop gasping for air and feel that you can do another round.  Do that 5-6 times. 

In NROLFW they say you can continue with regular cardio if you feel you must after a HIIT session.  I believe they recommend you take 5 minutes or so to "reset" and then you can get back on the equipment (treadmill, elliptical, or whatever) and do more steady state. 

So, after the 20 minutes or so of warm up and then HIIT, you could take 5 to get a drink, walk around, get a little stretching in, and then do another 30-40 minutes of steady state. 

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