Post Workout Cardio
TL:DR Cardio has a short and long-term effect on lowering myostatin. Anomalous study indicates cardio may help spot reduce body fat.
Recently I have been personally re-evaluating my own training regimen. This comes as I prep for the long, cold winter in the north and the subsequent layers of clothing I can now wear to hide my gluttony 'lean' bulk. I've been specifically looking at:
- Optimal number of sets and weight
- Optimal amount of rest and recovery
- Optimal amount of training per muscle group
This was entirely a personal exercise to determine my routine (though I'm always happy to swap routines with whoever asks). As I was doing my reading and taking notes I figured I'd share my findings with the sub. If this kind of content isn't for you, not to worry I was doing this in addition to my regular schedule of writing anyway - stay tuned for an article on libido and PED use, and another on tren, in addition to whatever else pops up. There will be one more post on this particular topic, specific to weight training, while this post covers just the cardio aspect of my research.
Preserving cardiac health while engaging in PED-use should be a high priority for all PED users, and if that is not sufficient enough reason to do some cardio it likely has some benefit to improving muscle gain through cardio's impact on myostatin. Myostatin is the protein that limits muscle growth, so any way of lowering it is good news for those building muscle, especially for those of us looking to stack on a bunch of it in the space of an 8 week cycle. I had previously theorized that the reduction in myostatin is over the long term, rather than having a short-term benefit, but that's not entirely true.
While myostatin is generally lower in cardio trained individuals versus non-trained, there is also a more immediate reduction in myostatin from doing cardio. Subjects experienced a drop in myostatin protein of ~20% immediately following 'moderate' aerobic exercise training of 1200kcal/week at 40-55% peak VO2. Averaged out, that would be 240 calories per cardio session, or the equivalent of about 2.5 miles.
Now I don't know about you, but if I were to do a 2.5 mile run every day before my strength training there's no doubt it would negatively impact the volume I would be able to lift. And that’s what the research indicates for most folks. So maybe doing cardio pre-weight training is a bad idea, but how about post-weight training?
There is a recent study where resistance training of the arms followed by cardio did seem to aid in fat loss in women’s jibbly bits. I.e. arm fat. Not whatever you were thinking. The study is not ideal - 16 ‘physically inactive women’ with a BMI of 27.5 +/- 2.1. This is the classic spot reduction myth, but in this case they were able to show fat lost specific to the arm area.
This study was in 2017, so pretty recent, and they’re going against a bunch of studies that show spot reduction is a myth, going waaay back. One of the most well-known was in 1971 on hypertrophy and arm fat in tennis players, where they established that the arm that players used had a statistically significant increase in muscle over the other, but no difference in the thickness of subcutaneous fat. Reconciling the two conflicting studies, it could be that the strength or resistance workout followed by cardio is key, and that cardio focused activities such as tennis did not adequately break down tissue. Or, the anomalous study of women’s jibbly bits is just that - a fluke, yet to be replicated, and just a coincidence that the women lost arm fat in the manner that they did.
My conclusion is that doing cardio after a strength or resistance training session can’t hurt, is beneficial to lowering myostatin aiding in the building of muscle and might have some impact to fat in a certain area. We also know cardio has other benefits for your health. I’ve personally added 10-15 minutes of cardio after every strength workout in the past week. At the very least I’m consistently getting some cardio in, in addition to my other cardio day(s) which I totally never ever skip. The recent 2017 study will no doubt spark further re-examination and attempts to replicate the spot reduction findings in a variety of subjects, and at which time we will revisit the subject.