Cardio for hard gainers: What, When & How



Hard gainers listen up! This post is a definite read for you!

So you are hitting the gym, working consistently, lifting heavier weights, sleep eating… got it all under control. But what about cardio?

I know the information out there ins regards to doing cardio is VERY confusing. Some trainers are adamant that everyone, young, old skinny or not, should do cardio while others are DISTINCTLY against it.  So which is the way to go?

I personally think the RIGHT type of cardio has its place…. But not for everyone! What I mean is not everyone NEEDS to do cardio or should. Here are my advice on cardio for weight gain!

Let’s start with your goals and body type.

cardio for weight gain
Do The right type of cardio for your body! (Copyright

 Scenario 1:

You have a sluggish metabolism and are looking to lose 15lbs or more while putting on some lean mass.

If you are a female who is mostly trying to lose body fat (have 15lbs or more to lose) and are just looking to gain a few lbs I would suggest doing some cardio! Best way for you ladies is to do intervals or HIITs within your workout or on its on. I would recommend starting with 20 minutes twice a week and only add time or days if you are not seeing results. You could also opt to do steady state cardio in the mornings (for about 3 days a week!)

Scenario 2:

You are “skinny fat”! Naturally slim but have some belly fat! You are looking to lose just a few lbs but mostly looking to build some curves!

If you are a fairly slim girl who just has a some belly fat to lose but are mostly looking to tone up, I would suggest doing a couple of day of HIITs or including interval training workouts. I would be careful of overdoing the cardio though as there is a chance you can reverse your hard work in the gym and LOSE muscle mass.

Scenario 3:

You are a “hardgainer”! You find it hard to put on any kind of weight and are naturally slim AND very lean. You are looking strictly to put on some weight!

If you are had gainer, aka a girl who is naturally slim AND lean, I would advise you against doing cardio. I think your aerobic system will be best trained using fun drills like tabatas and superset in your weight training workout. The danger with you ladies is that chances are you have a high metabolism… so burning extra calories doing cardio can be detrimental. Why? Let me go into a little more details.

When we are doing any kind of aerobic exercise, our body relies on liver glucose (or what you just ate), muscle glycogen and fat store for energy. Those of you who are naturally slim and lean will burn through liver glucose and muscle glycogen much faster leaving your fat and muscle cells. Now, if our body had to choose, it will get rid of muscle BEFORE it gets rid of fat. This is because muscle is an active tissue that takes energy to be maintained. So when energy levels are all time low (aka when doing cardio for 30 minutes or longer) your body has to make a choice It can choose to preserve the fat stores that will help you “stay alive” and continue working out or preserve your muscle that DRAIN energy. So often times, it will get rid of it!

This is not to say that you should NEVER do cardio. I think some planned intervals can be beneficial for training your energy system but I would be cautious in overdoing it.

If you are a hardgainer, I would recommend eating well and saving your energy to push hard in the gym. If you are looking to build curves, weight training is your answer!

Unsure where to start? Pick up a copy of my muscle building meal plan and workout program and get on the right path to building curves!

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