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SkuNumbers 08-03-2006 08:04 PM

Cardio and Weights together?
Man, I have been trying to get lean for a long time now and it is tough. I really watch what I eat and I do weights 3-4 days and interval cardio 7 days but I just can't apply "the finish." Don't get me wrong, I'm in great shape but I really want a flat stomach. I don't need to be ripped, just lean. I also want to see that definition between my deltoid and my bicep. My question is should I do less cardio or at least skip cardio on days I lift? Is that affecting my lean goal? My lifting usually last 30 minutes and I don't "kill myself" with them. I usually do 4 sets 8 reps with the most weight I can lift or 3 x 10. Can my age (18) affect how lean I can get now?

Willapp 08-04-2006 03:20 AM

Re: Cardio and Weights together?
First of all, what order do you exercise? I would strongly recommend doing weights before any cardio, otherwise you just fatigue yourself for the weight work.

Getting lean/definition is about carefully balancing your diet/cardio/weights. What you need is a high protein diet so you can maintain as much lean muscle mass as possible, whilst restricting your total calories below maintenance level in order to reduce your bodyfat percentage - this percentage is what you need to focus on if you want visible abs and more definition between muscles.

To get visible abs your bodyfat % needs to be below 15%, ideally nearer 10% which is quite low - most slim people still have a bodyfat percentage between 15% - 25%.

I wouldn't recommend dropping the cardio unless you feel it is definitely hampering your weight training, in which case you could simply do cardio on days you don't lift. However, doing less cardio means you will burn less calories and consequently you will need to eat less in order to lower your bodyfat %.

If your weight is fairly constant at the moment, you can work out your maintenance calories by counting the calories you eat each day for 3 or 4 days, then average this out. To lower your bodyfat you need to gradually reduce your calorie intake. You could do this by dropping 200 calories from your daily intake each week. E.g.:

Week 1: 2400 calories
Week 2: 2200 calories

Until you reach a level where you are losing weight. Don't drop too low too quickly though, or your body will think you're starving yourself and start storing fat which is exactly what you don't want. Do it gradually.

Also be sure to mix up the weight training so you don't do the same exercises all the time. Vary the rep range too so that you get best muscle growth. E.g:

Week 1: Heavy weight (but not max), 8 - 12 reps per set. 4 Sets per exercise.
Week 2: Lighter weight, 14 - 20 reps per set, 3 or 4 sets per exercise.
Week 3: Max weight, 2 - 6 reps per set. 4 Sets.

This way you will be targeting all muscle fibers and should obtain maximum growth.

SkuNumbers 08-12-2006 06:46 AM

Re: Cardio and Weights together?
Any other thoughts?

*ChRiStInE* 08-13-2006 11:02 PM

Re: Cardio and Weights together?
Hi Skunumbers

Getting lean has a lot to do with your nutrition. I do competitive bodybuilding so I know this from experience! Nutrition is 70% of the equation, exercise is the other 30%.

When I am leaning up I use rotational calories over a three day period. For example 1700 (high carb/low protein), 1800 (med carb/ med protein) & 1900 (low carb/high protein). I weight train 4 times a week and at the moment I am doing about 10 hours cardio per week. (Vary the cardio too, time wise and what you actually do. The body adapts if you do the same thing all the time)This will more than likely increase as my comp date approaches.

By the way being younger, you should be able to lean up heaps easy!

Hope this is of some help!

Naxis 08-14-2006 02:21 PM

Re: Cardio and Weights together?
Your bottleneck is probably your diet. I don't doubt that you eat clean, but there are probably things you can do to make it better for your goals. What are your stats right now? What exactly does your diet look like? What foods, amounts and times are your meals?

SkuNumbers 08-19-2006 07:16 PM

Re: Cardio and Weights together?
My diet is pretty clean. I usually eat either oatmeal, special k, or an english muffin for breakfast with coffee and a cup of skim milk. At about 10:30 i have a protein shake and raisins. At about 12:30 or 1:00 I eat a lean cuisine or healthy choice meal. At about 3:00 I pick on cold cut turkey and some brown rice crackers. For dinner, it varies greatly but for example, last night I ate salad, grilled chicken, and corn on the cob. I also snack on sugar free ice pops (15 calories each) and no sugar added fudgesicles. Any suggestions?

Naxis 08-21-2006 02:56 PM

Re: Cardio and Weights together?
What are your stats? Do you have a rough idea about how many calories you're eating? Do you get any unsaturated fats in your diet? Do you have any pre/post workout nutrition? When do you workout?

Your diet is fairly clean, but there is room for improvement and it is also dependent on your stats and overall calories.

SkuNumbers 08-21-2006 07:09 PM

Re: Cardio and Weights together?
I am male, 18 yrs, 5'8" 152 lbs. I would estimate that I consume 1500-1800 cals per day. My cardio workout burns 600 (according to the treadmill counter). I generally workout in the evening (sometime between 6:30 and 8:00).

Naxis 08-22-2006 11:33 AM

Re: Cardio and Weights together?
Alright, good info. :) Here's my personal recommendation for you.
1. Avoid higher GI foods like cereal or muffins for breakfast and try to add a little more protein. Maybe oatmeal and an egg, or an egg white omelette or if you really like cereal, Kashi is a much higher fiber and higher protein option.
2. You need to have some unsaturated fats in your diet. Not only is it important for health, but it will help your body to burn its own fat stores. You don't need a lot, but including some walnuts or almonds as snacks, some flax oil in your protein shake, a little olive oil on your salad, flax meal in your oatmeal, or olives with your meats, salmon instead of cold cuts; just one or two of these a day should help get in what you need. If you're cutting, at least 20% of your daily calories should be from fats (mostly unsaturated). Just make sure that if you add some fats, you take calories away from somewhere else in your diet (ideally carbohydrates).
3. Microwave meals might bo okay on the calorie front, but it's low quality food with a lot of preservatives. I know you're probably a busy person, but if you can, precook a few meals maybe on like Sunday night and just freeze them yourself for lunch during the week. Chicken, rice, beans, veggies, whole wheat pasta etc. all freeze fine (or even just refrigerate if you're going to eat it within the week). Then you have a lot more control over the nutrient content and quality of your meal there. The same applies to cold cuts. Yeah, they're technically meat and okay as a snack or in a bind, but it is very low quality meat (low quality protein). With all the processing, fillers and sodium, using real meats will make a significant difference.
4. I don't know what time your dinner is, but you shouldn't have more than 3 hours between meals. If you eat dinner around 6 pm, you're in good sape, but if it's later than that, you should have at least a little snack like jerkey or nuts to keep from losing any lean muscle and to keep the nutrients plentiful.
5. Salads are *fantastic* for meals. I try to have a salad every day, but if you can, 3x a week with a lean meat and lots of colorful veggies will give you a low cal, high fiber, nutrient dense meal that will burn slowly, keep blood sugar from spiking, and assist the body in burning fat. Just keep dinners limited lean meat, veggies and minimal high GI carbohydrates. Sounds like you have that part down. :)
6. You should take a look at HIIT for cardio. Adding an HIIT session twice a week may make a huge difference. It's a short but intense session that really schocks your body and is fantastic for fat burning. If possible, try doing cardio in the morning before breakfast - just keep it under an hour and you're at minimal risk of losing muscle. If that timing won't work, at least do your cardio on an empty stomach (2 to 3 hours after a meal).
7. If you are *consistently* eating that low calorie, you really should have one cheat meal a week. The occasional high calorie day keeps your thyroid from getting sluggish and keeps metabolism up. Doesn't have to be garbage, but it can be if you want to feed a craving.
8. I would also concentrate on building muscle. You are at a fairly low weight for your height and you need to think about maintaining a healthy weight if you want to be leaner. Nothing burns fat like muscle, so it will help you all around. Make sure your weight training is really working for you and consider including a post workout shake with whey and simple sugars.

Thats about all I can think of at the moment. They're just small things that I think will make a big difference for you. Hope that helps.

SkuNumbers 08-24-2006 07:47 PM

Re: Cardio and Weights together?
I've decided to reduce my cardio. I definitely think I've been overtraining (7 days a week, 60 minutes, 600 calories) during the evening. Now I'm doing 30 minutes of cardio before I eat breakfast (HIIT, 300 calories) every other day. I'm sick of being soft, with all this day cardio I've done you'd think I'd be leaner. Also, I haven't made any gains on my bench press since I started in March...I'm embarassed to say I can barely do 10 reps of 100 lbs (I'm 18, 152 pounds). There's just no damn definition to my physique! In terms of cardiovascular health though, I'm strong as hell...I'm never winded and rarely break a sweat anywhere. My endurance is my best athletic quality.

Naxis 08-24-2006 10:10 PM

Re: Cardio and Weights together?
Try lower rep, higher weight once in a while. It will add some of that lean muscle you need. It'll give you a little more size and help you lean out more.
And seriously, do a cheat meal. It seems counter-intuitive, but it really helps.

colossus 08-30-2006 01:40 PM

Re: Cardio and Weights together?
Sku, you're probably doing too much cardio. [[COLOR="Red"]removed[/COLOR]]

Another poster wrote the following: "you shouldn't have more than 3 hours between meals. If you eat dinner around 6 pm, you're in good sape, but if it's later than that, you should have at least a little snack like jerkey or nuts to keep from losing any lean muscle and to keep the nutrients plentiful."

This is common body-building knowledge, and it's true, to an extent. What's important is not the constant replenishment of nutrients per se, but the constant replenishment of protein. You basically don't want to go for more than ~3 hours without ingesting more protein, because your body will go into a nitrogen-depleted state mumble mumble I forget the specifics here mumble. ;-) [[COLOR="Red"]removed[/COLOR]] You can actually get away with three complete meals a day, stuff a bit of extra protein in-between.

So, just make sure your every 3 hours snack is something that contains complete protein. Cottage cheese... yum! Soy... bad! (unless you're a girl).

Dave440 08-30-2006 02:36 PM

Re: Cardio and Weights together?
A few things to add which compliment what Naxis stated:

you burn calories 3 ways

Metabolism (70%)
TEE (Thermal Effect of Eating) - 15%
TEA (thermal effect of Activity / Exercise) - 15%

1. the more often you eat, the more you burn hence, eat frequently. This does of course mean to eat the correct foods as Naxis and others descirbed (more protien, foods with lower GI, etc). Smaller more frequent meals. Don't eat too little or your BMR will slow down and you don't want this to happen.

2. the more you workout and move, the more you burn hence exercise

3. the more lean muscle mass you have, the more your burn hence, lift weights

Your metabolism also stays elevated roughly about 24-36 hours after exercise so workout cardio at least every other day to keep that elevated. The key is not simply only about instance caloric burn (treadmill for x minutes), it's about increasing your overall Resting Metabolic rate whic makes the biggest difference overall. Good luck.

MaxOT26 08-30-2006 03:50 PM

Re: Cardio and Weights together?
[QUOTE=Dave440]Your metabolism also stays elevated roughly about 24-36 hours after exercise so workout cardio at least every other day to keep that elevated. The key is not simply only about instance caloric burn (treadmill for x minutes), it's about increasing your overall Resting Metabolic rate whic makes the biggest difference overall. Good luck.[/QUOTE]

Ding Ding! Excellent point Dave! Increasing your metabolism is the MOST effective way to get lean, and stay lean. Increasing your metabolism comes down to nutrition stratagies (which you have received top notch advice on already) and exercise intensity. If you train like an endurance athlete you will look like one. Exercise (anarobic and aerobic) increases your metabolism, but how effectivly it increases it, depends directly on how intense you train. Stop doing cardio 7 days a week. All you need is 5 at the most. Center your training around weight lifting and building strength. Keep your cardio sessions at least 8hrs apart from you lifting sessions and do cardio session that are short and intense (such as HIIT).

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