How to Add Cardio and Diet to Your Powerlifting Regimen

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    How to Add Cardio and Diet to Your Powerlifting Regimen


    By Adam Signoretta

    To most, the words diet and cardio shouldn’t be in the same sentence because most feel that these two may decrease your strength gains. They can if you don’t supplement correctly. Will diet and cardio help you with your strength? Maybe, maybe not. But they will keep you in the game longer because you won’t be a fat ass and die of a heart attack. I don’t know about you, but I don’t just like to look strong. I want to be strong. I feel a man should be able to lift heavy ****, bust out 10 or more pull-ups, and get up at any given time and bang out two or three miles. This is where that diet and cardio regimen come in. The following program can be for weight loss or bulking, depending on how you put it together.

    I’ve done many diets over the years, and this one is by far the best food wise. It’s also affordable. This diet consists of high carb days, normal carb days, and for those who want to bulk, a super high day. My carbs never drop lower than 100 grams a day. I’ve done very high protein, low to no carb, and high fat diets. All work pretty well as far as getting lean, but they hurt your strength, endurance, and wallet. I was spending $140 a week for chicken alone. To get your super high carb day, multiply by three. To get your high carb day, multiply by two, and to get your low carb day, multiply by one.

    Here’s how you’re going to keep your muscle, strength, and endurance. You’re going to eat more carbs before and after your workout. Loading before your workout will give you more energy for your workout, and loading after will restore your glycogen levels. Restoring these levels will boost energy and muscle growth. To find out how many macronutrients you will have with each meal, divide the total amount by the number of meals you will have except for carbs. To find out
    how many carbs for each meal, divide by the number of meals plus add an additional one. Then take the extra meal and multiply it by one and a half. That result will be your pre- and post-workout meal.

    Here’s an example:


    Normal day
    Amount of meals = 6
    Protein = 270 g / 6 = 45 g
    Carbs = 200 g / 7 = 28 g
    Fat = 50 g / 6 = 8 g
    Pre- and post-workout meal = 28 g X 1.5 = 42 g each

    High carb day
    Amount of meals = 6
    Protein = 240 g / 6 = 40 g
    Carbs = 300 g / 7 = 43 g
    Fat = 40 g / 6 = 6.5 g
    Pre- and post-workout meal = 43 g X 1.5 = 64 g each

    Super high carb day
    Amount of meals = 6
    Protein = 200 g / 6 = 34 g
    Carbs = 600 g / 8 = 75 g
    Fat = none added
    Pre- and post-workout meal = 75 g X 1.5 = 112 g

    If you aren’t doing a workout, you can’t load carbs. So equally distribute them through the day. Don’t count veggies as carbs, and don’t count the protein from carb sources.

    To get leaner now that you have your normal and high day breakdowns done, you have to determine how many high days you’ll have and what days of the week they will fall on. If you want to get lean fast, do 3–4 days. If you have a tough time, do 1–2 high days. You can always change the days as your diet goes on. I start at two days and stay at two days a week. My days are Friday and Tuesday. You should try to space them out at least one or two days apart if possible.

    To bulk up, I recommend 1–2 super high days, preferably on your heavy training days, 1–2 high days on your light days, and 2–3 low days on your days off.

    Cardio
    This is how you’ll be able to do cardio and maintain your strength. You want to break your cardio into three days—a low day, a moderate day, and a high intensity day. On low days, your heart rate should be in your fat burning zone or somewhere around 120–140 beats per minute (bpm) for 20–60 minutes. On your high day, perform interval training. Do intervals of one minute in zone three (150 bpm and up) and then one minute of low intensity for about 30–35 minutes. Your moderate days are the same as the high days, but they’re shorter in duration. Do 10–15 minutes of high intensity followed by 10 minutes of low intensity. Duration and frequency of each day are determined by your goals (whether you want to bulk up or lean out) and also by how many super high, high, and norm carb days you’re doing.

    If you’re leaning out, you can do low intensity on any day, but your high intensity days are best to do the day after your high carb day. The day after your high carb day, your body should be filled with glycogen, which will give you more fuel to burn without burning muscle. This will ensure that you burn fat. I wouldn’t do any weight training on your high intensity days. Load your carbs before and after your high intensity cardio. Moderate intensity cardio would be good to do at the end of your light days.

    Here’s an example of a good split for someone leaning out:

    Sunday: High carb – heavy lower – off cardio
    Monday: Normal carb – off weights – moderate cardio (15 minutes)
    Tuesday: Normal carb – off weights –low intensity cardio (30 minutes)
    Wednesday: High carb – heavy upper – low intensity cardio (20 minutes after weights)
    Thursday: Normal carb – light lower- high intensity cardio (30 minutes)
    Friday: Normal carb – off – off
    Saturday: Normal carb – light upper – low intensity cardio (30 minutes)

    When bulking, your split may look like this:

    Sunday: Super high carb – heavy lower – off cardio
    Monday: High carb – off weights – high intensity cardio (30 minutes)
    Tuesday: Normal carb – off weights – off cardio
    Wednesday: Super high carb – heavy upper – off cardio
    Thursday: High carb –light lower – moderate intensity cardio (15 minutes after weights)
    Friday: Normal carb – off weights – low intensity cardio (20 minutes)
    Saturday: Normal carb – light upper – off cardio

    Here are some ideas for high and moderate cardio:

    · My weighted stair routine from my article “Cardio for the Strong”

    · Kettlebell interval swings or snatches (Do eight reps each arm for 15 seconds on and 15 seconds off for 30 minutes and a total of 480–500 snatches. Or do swings (high intensity) for moderate intensity using a 53-lb kettlebell for 5–6 reps for 15 minutes.)

    · Sled drags

    · Up hill sprints

    · Jump rope (one-minute rounds)

    · Sprints

    On low intensity days, use any form of cardio you want as long as your heart rate stays at 130–140 or under.

    Diet and cardio while powerlifting is going to be like your weight lifting program. It’s trial and error. If something isn’t working, make the appropriate changes and move on. Don’t completely dismiss something because it isn’t getting you the exact results you want. I’ve hit some of my best lifts when I wasn’t doing cardio and eating Mickey D’s, but I felt like crap. But I’m also a bodybuilder, and by following a split similar to this, I’ve hit the same numbers 20 lbs lighter. Just for the record, this isn’t my routine. This is just a template that I feel will increase the average lifter’s performance.

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    Timely article for me, trying to cut down to 220, hovering at 240 right now.

    Thanks!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Future View Post
    By Adam Signoretta

    Here are some ideas for high and moderate cardio:

    · My weighted stair routine from my article “Cardio for the Strong”
    took liberty of looking up weighted stair routine in his article


    Weighted stairs
    Weighted stairs seems to be self-explanatory—run up and down the stairs with a weight vest. But that’s not the way I do it. I don’t really like weight vests. For one, they’re pretty expensive. Ok…that is my only reason for not liking them. If you can’t afford a weight vest like me, use what you have. Kettlebells, chains, homemade sandbags, or whatever other heavy things you have laying around will work. Be creative.

    For those of you who don’t like to be creative or want a good stair routine, the following is a routine I put together when I was training a friend for the firefighter’s physical. I liked it so much I started doing it myself. I performed this routine on a set of stairs that was four flights of 12 stairs each. The routine was broke into five separate days with one day on and one day off. The routine went up and then down, pyramid style, finishing with a deload. Always warm up properly before!

    Day 1 (low)
    This routine was done circuit style. Each progression was performed one time up and then one time down. I rested for 45 seconds and then went to the next progression. After all five were completed, I started back at the beginning. I ran through it three times.

    · Body weight

    · 1, 25-lb chain (it was strapped across my shoulders)

    · 2, 25-lb chains (total of 50 lbs—one across each shoulder set up like Rambo bullets)

    · 2, 25-lb chains and one 53-lb kettlebell (total of 103 lbs; the same chain set up and kettlebells held in rack position or on shoulder)

    · 2, 25-lb chains and two 53-lb kettlebells (total of 156 lbs; the chains were the same and both kettlebells were racked)

    Day 2 (medium)
    This day was similar to day one, but I wanted to up the intensity so I cut out the body weight and the one chain. The same amount of work was done. I went through each three times with a 45-second rest five times with 15 total stairs.

    • 2, 25-lb chains
    • 2, 25-lb chains and one, 53-lb kettlebell
    • 2, 25-lb chains and two, 53-lb kettlebell

    Day 3 (high)
    This was the peak day. It was brutal. I did 15 stairs with the full load with 45 seconds rest.

    • 2, 25-lb chains and two, 53-lb kettlebells (for a total of 156 lbs)

    Day 4 (low)
    After the high day, I took it down to a low day, which was the same as day one.

    Day 5 (deload)
    On the deload day, I ran the stairs with both chains on for a total of 15 stairs with 45 seconds rest.

    • 2, 25-lb chains

    Then repeat the program starting with day one. I’ve seen good results with the stairs. It takes a lot out of you as you’re doing them, but afterward, you feel great. If you can’t find stairs, a hill will do just fine. I wouldn’t recommend doing them the day before legs. It takes a big toll on your legs, and you will definitely be sore after. You can follow the routine as is or make changes where needed. It’s fun and brutal and will make you faster, stronger, and leaner. It only takes 20 minutes to do it. Get it done.
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    Awesome!!! thanks for this.
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    I like your basic idea I did something similar to get myself out of SHW. I made my high carb days on my leg days and on Max effort bench days and wend low to zero on the other days in addition I worked in 3 to 4 HIIT cardio sessions that were 20 min or less.

    this got me down over 30lbs and My total has increased. I think that your approach is very similar and definitely good for those who want to get into a fighting weight.
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    cardio is walkin into the gym out the gym... to the fridge getting up to turn of lights and walking into fast food places. for me lol then i only weigh 180 i dont need it
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    Quote Originally Posted by brownstown89 View Post
    cardio is walkin into the gym out the gym... to the fridge getting up to turn of lights and walking into fast food places. for me lol then i only weigh 180 i dont need it
    You don't do any sort of conditioning? It can actually make you stronger if you do it right. Think interval training, pushing a prowler, and dragging a sled. I do not like steady state type cardio.
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