You can always add in some cardio after you’ve finished bulking up. Or perhaps after you’ve gotten your newbie gains, at which point your muscle gains will slow. If you’re already lean and skinny with a fast metabolism, you probably don’t need dedicated cardio in order to keep your gains lean. Furthermore, trying to raise your g-flux is just going to make it harder to get into a calorie surplus, so it might get you into more trouble than it’s worth. Your body still needs all the same nutrients for bulking.
After all, you’re training for extreme endurance and extreme strength. You’re training for adaptations that are at opposite ends of the strength-endurance 50 cent sit ups continuum. The exact number of calories you burn with cardio exercises will depend on your starting weight and fitness level.
If your primary goal is to gain muscle then focus on that. Yes, you need to strength-train to build muscle, and cardio is important for health. So, for example, if someone had a maintenance level of 2500 calories and wanted to create a deficit of 20%, they’d figure out that 20% of 2500 is 500.
While this can be a fantastic way to add some oomph to your workout, it can disrupt your sleep. If you use caffeine, be sure to schedule your workouts for earlier in the day well before bedtime. You also need to achieve progressive overload, which means progressively lifting heavier and heavier weights.
However, if you’re trying to do both lifting and cardio in the same workout session, perhaps it’s better to combine your lifting with a HIIT cardio routine. Because the adaptations they produce are more similar, they’ll be less likely to produce an interference-effect. The concern with doing your cardio before lifting weights is that it will make you tired. If you hop on a stationary bike for some HIIT or go for a jog on a treadmill, it’s going to be harder to do your squats and deadlifts afterwards.
Marco Walker-Ng is the co-founder and strength coach of Outlift, Bony to Beastly, and Bony to Bombshell, and is a certified trainer with a Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences from the University of Ottawa. His specialty is helping people build muscle to improve their strength and general health, with clients including college, professional, and Olympic athletes. Shane Duquette is the co-founder and creative lead of Outlift, Bony to Beastly, and Bony to Bombshell, and has a degree in design from York University in Toronto, Canada. He’s personally gained sixty pounds at 11% body fat and has nine years of experience helping over ten thousand skinny people bulk up. The second thing we need to consider is what type of exercise we should do to get our heart rate up.