Everybody responds in a different way to cardio when weight training. The impact of food also plays a huge part in how your body reacts to this.
The weight loss and muscle building game – is a frustrating one
Losing body fat whilst gaining muscle is a difficult thing, but not impossible in the least. From experience I would try hard and not combine the two. Reason being is that this can become a spinning wheel situation for months on end. You lose some body fat, gain some muscle, then lose some of the muscle you gained. It’s a never ending and frustrating battle.
It takes hard work and effort to build muscle, male or female. Constantly monitoring your protein intake, lifting weights appropriately, and making sure you get adequate rest in order for the muscle to grow.
Of course, genetic disposition also plays a huge part in this. You will gain muscle according to genetics and your gender. The body requires food to grow muscle, that’s obvious, but how much food is really determined by your body. You will not know the answer to this unless you do some kind of experimentation, and monitor this progress with proper testing.
It’s not that easy for most of the population (especially women) to gain muscle mass and lose body fat at the same time. Your time and energy would be better spent focusing on the main event (weight training for hypertrophy) and leaving the fat loss when you are happy with your gains.
Of course, we always want to kill two birds with one stone.
Nutrient timing is crucial.
If you want to take your journey down this pathway, the application of correct exercise as well as nutritional timing, will help you to become equipped at increasing muscle mass while shedding body fat.
You must be able to take advantage of the bodies hormonal states day by day to plan for this. You could try periods of intermittent fasting (mainly for fat loss purposes) and feeding yourself a lot more on days where you will be weight training – using mostly heavy weights (think more protein to increase your potential for muscle mass). This will be your best bet at combating the spinning wheel syndrome.
How to put this all together
If you want to burn more body fat without sacrificing muscle mass, I highly recommend the combination of low and high impact cardio, in conjunction with your weight training schedule.
Opt to perform longer duration cardio on weight training days. This could be walking an incline on the treadmill for 35–45 minutes. Then on your non weight training days, opt for sprint intervals. Don’t overwork your cardio on weight training days as you won’t have enough energy to lift towards your maximum capacity.
Overall, this means you will be performing cardio about 3–6 days per week. Yes, this is a lot, but if you want results, it must be scheduled into your program.
Cardio is always recommended in the morning, where as weight training is better performed in the evenings. This may or may not be possible for you, but why not give it a try for a month and see if you are getting some results from it.
Because weights are scheduled in the evening, it gives you a lot of leverage to burn body fat stores in the morning from fasting, and replenishing glycogen stores when weight training in the afternoons. This is where your diet comes in, that is also crucial for your results. Low carb, high protein should be your strategy.
This is a tried and tested body building regime that works well for competitors, and it will work well for you.
Remember to schedule cardio and weight training about 6 hours apart for recovery, maximum fat burning and more potential to increase muscle mass and decrease body fat stores.
Good luck, and let us know how you go.