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Tag Archives: cardio

  • Drinking a Protein Shake After a Cardio Workout

    It is very common to question whether or not you should consume a protein shake after a cardio workout. Protein shakes are typically associated with a post-weights workout drink to enhance muscle growth. But what about a cardio session?

    Rather than dealing with whether or not you should have a protein shake after your cardio workout, let's actually consider what a protein shake is. A typical post-workout protein shake (whey based protein powder - for example, whey protein concentrate and/or isolate), if highly refined source of dietary protein extracted from cows milk. The benefits include:

    1. A higher quality source of protein
    2. A purer source of protein
    3. A faster absorbing source of protein

    Whilst it is common to assume that a protein shake is necessarily designed to build muscle (after all, protein shakes and bodybuilders tend to go hand-in-hand), you may be missing out on many benefits by not consuming a protein shake because of this assumption. These high quality, fast absorbing proteins are highly effective in:

    1. Boosting the immune system
    2. Enhancing recovery
    3. Enhancing your fitness
    4. Enhancing fat oxidation (or fat breakdown)
    5. Obviously, enhancing muscle development

    Of course, your training needs to be specific to your goals - a protein shake will not aid in you accomplishing your goals if your training is not appropriate.

    Following an intense bout of cardiovascular exercise, your body will be in a state of recovery. A protein shake will encourage the recovery process by providing your body with the appropriate nutrients needed to repair damaged cells. A faster recovery will encourage a greater fitness improvement response. It will also facilitate fat loss and minimise muscular breakdown after your workout.

    Of course, protein powder in isolation may not have the greatest benefit in a post-workout shake (be it cardio or weights). By combining this with a fast-acting carbohydrate source, insulin release is encouraged which enhances protein uptake into cells. Examples could be dextrose or waxy maize (including BSN Volumaize).

  • The Benefits of Cardio when Building Muscle

    If you want to build muscle, do you perform cardio? I know there are plenty of people out there who swear black and blue that cardio is definitely not going to assist in building muscle. In fact, many people would suggest that cardio will necessarily hamper muscle gain. I disagree.

    There is plenty of research out there to suggest that cardio, nutrition and resistance training can work together to symbiotically enhance the muscle building process. In fact, there are several specific advantages to cardio that are often overlooked. High intensity cardio can:

    • Enhance your weight lifting performance
    • Improve your fitness to further improve lifting performance
    • Boost your general health (this is an obvious benefit to building muscle)
    • Induce anabolic hormone secretion
    • Develop your mental strength and focus in the weights room

    And of course high intensity cardio has the added benefit of significant fat loss!

    But I don't want you to take my word for it. I recently published a comprehensive review of a number of studies on the benefits of cardio when building muscle, entitled "Cardio & Bodybuilding - Good for Muscle Growth?"

    This month, Australian IronMan (a leading Australian bodybuilding and fitness magazine) just published this article on pages 94-96. You can buy it at your local newsagent or alternatively read the online version of "Cardio is Not the Enemy"

    At the end of the day, if you want to obtain maximum results, you need a balance between all aspects of training. This includes cardio, nutrition, weight training and recovery.

  • What will result in greater fat loss and muscle loss, HIIT cardio or low intensity endurance cardio?

    HIIT cardio will result in significant fat loss - far more significant than 60-70% max heart rate. Lower intensity exercise utilises fat as a primary energy fuel source during exercise, but the net adipose tissue (fat tissue) breakdown is far greater with HIIT cardio over a 24 hour snapshot.

    Meanwhile with regards to the breakdown of muscle mass, HIIT cardio can actually produce an anabolic effect with regards to muscular hypertrophy (building muscle). Of course, significant amounts of HIIT cardio (or any cardio for that matter) will result in significant muscle atrophy (breakdown). But this simply is achieved through a caloric defecit - and could be just as effectively achieved through a diet deficient in calories.

    It's very easy to get confused on this topic, particularly with the infamous "fat burning zone"...gah that is something I have a real beef about.

    For more reading on the subject, check out these articles:

    The Fat Burning Zone

    (Begin with the one above, it's an article I had published in several fitness/bodybuilding magazines and provides a more general overview on the topic. The articles below analyse the subject in greater detail.)

    Myths Under the Microscope - Fat Burning Zone

    Myths Under the Microscope - Fasted Cardio

    Myths Under the Microscope - Final Discussion

  • I am about to begin a training program and am 30kg overweight. After reading one of your articles, I am not sure if I should attempt HIIT cardio. What would be your advice?

    Thanks very much for your question.

    Just to clarify to anyone reading this Q&A, I do not for a single second believe that high intensity interval training (HIIT) is a waste of time.  I am a very strong advocator of the very significant health, fitness and weight loss benefits of this form of exercise, as is very apparent throughout this website.

    However, I do not believe that it is always suitable for the beginner to jump head-first into such a demanding exercise regime.  There are a two major reasons that I have for stance:

    • HIIT is very intense and requires a lot of mental and physical toughness.  A person that goes from a low-activity lifestyle to a contrasting HIIT exercise regime can often be extremely discouraged by the unexpected toll it can take on your system.
    • Your body does need time to adjust to increased levels of activity.  HIIT is an advanced form of training that will place your body under extreme physical stress.  Your body may have trouble adapting to such a demanding form of exercise in such a short period of time.  This can pose health risks.

    Therefore I would not recommend that you begin HIIT straight off the bat.  Whilst it is desirable to lose the weight as quickly as possible, it is also important to consider your health and the long-term sustainability of your training program.

    As a general guide, I would recommend that you begin with a relatively low intensity exercise routine to allow your body a chance to become used to the increased physical demands. It is hard to advise a specific length of time based on the information provided.  You should begin with enough intensity to break a sweat and feel worked, but not too much that you feel like you're going to fall over and collapse :).  From there, it is important to continually up-the-ante, so to speak.  Gradually increase the demands of the exercise program (through duration and/or intensity).  Eventually you will reach a level where HIIT will be a much more viable option.  You may want to read an article I published on this subject, entitled The Art Of Adaptation 

    Before you begin anything, I highly recommend that you consult with a personal trainer to aid you in your weight loss efforts.  A relatively small financial investment is negligible when you consider the invaluable benefits a personal trainer will provide - namely very specific advice on how to achieve your goals in a safe, effective and sustainable manner.  I offer these services both online and face-to-face - click here for more information.

    I hope this is of help!

  • I am dieting. I am also running for an hour 3 times a week. But I am not losing any weight!

    Quite simply, if you're not losing weight, this would suggest that your caloric intake is similar to your caloric expenditure.

    If you consider calories in versus calories out, if calories in is greater (eg. through eating), expect to gain weight. If your calories out is greater (eg. through exercise, metabolic processes etc.), expect to lose weight.

    That said, two major aspects of your training would require attention:

    Number 1 - your diet. If you decrease the calories in your diet, this will decrease your caloric intake and thus assist in weight loss. Your current intake may be too much. Other tweaks may be in order, such as meal timing, meal frequency, meal sizes etc.

    Number 2 - your cardiovascular exercise. If you perform more cardio, you will increase your calories out and also assist in additional weight loss. In addition to this, have you considered high intensity interval training (HIIT) as a form of cardio? Whilst it may not be suitable for the beginner, it is definitely something worth striving for. Some studies have shown fat loss to be 9 times greater than endurance cardio. Check out the following article for more information:

    The Fat Burning Zone

    Losing weight is relatively straight forward. However, it does take some trial and error to find out how your body reacts to different training and diet programs.

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