I'm am doing body building as a hobby with 4 training sessions a week lasting for 60 to 90 minutes. I had good results with an intake of around 3.500 calories per day, the usual low carb diet. My goal is to build lean muscles.

I started to play a game called Ingress a while ago, which requires to travel around town a lot and the fastest way for me is doing this on inline skates. Such an Ingress session can take really long, sometimes more than 6 hours constantly skating around. I mostly play on my off-days, but sometimes even some hours before or after the gym.

As the summer approaches, especially when I am on vacation and have even more time to spare, I expect these sessions to expand further.

Currently I do not see any negative impact on my body building progress, but I guess sooner or later those extended cardio sessions will lead to exhaustion or cut too much into my energy reserves which will decrease my potential for muscle growth.

How should I compensate for this? I don't want to reduce my Ingress playing time but I also want to progress with body building. Is it enough to add more calories to my diet to compensate for the calories burned during cardio? Which types of food are recommended for this? And do I also need to increase the amount of sleep I get if I don't feel tired during the day?

  • Carbs are not bad, as long as you eat the right kind of carbs. I really like the cookbook "Racing Weight", which shows how to get a higher carb diet for endurance athletes without the modern diet encumbrances (refined and empty carbs). As long as you allow for some extra carbs to replenish the glycogen stores you should be fine. Self monitor for fatigue and nap/rest a little more if necessary.
    – JohnP
    Apr 28, 2014 at 17:58

1 Answer 1


It seems like recovery could become a problem for you sooner or later. So let's look at what you can do to keep exhaustion as little as possible and maybe improve recovery along the way.

Minimizing exhaustion:
You say you don't want to cut your cardio/Ingress sessions short, so those are off limits. The next thing to work on would be your strength-building routine. There're some things you can do to minimize recovery demands while still creating a stimulus:

  • Eccentric-less training: By omitting (or limiting) the eccentric phase of a lift, you can work the muscle without increasing recovery demands that much. Olympic lifters do that (they always drop the weight) and they're able to train the same lift every day without overtraining.
  • Omitting accesory exercises: >ou said you're a bodybuilder, but depending on where you are in your 'career' you can cut out some accessory work and still make good progress. If you're doing 3 types of curls, one alone would probably also be good.
  • Get rid of leg work: Don't get me wrong, leg work is important. But if you're skating for hours on end, it's probably not necessary to do 3 Squat/Calf Raise sessions per week.
  • Don't do any other cardio: Probably obvious, but additional cardio has no benefit if you want to gain/maintain weight.

This all depends on your workout program and your current level, of course, so my advice is pretty general. If you provide a bit more information (full workout plan with exercises, sets, reps, weight used etc.) I could give much more detailed advice.

Improving Recovery:
As JohnP already mentioned, carbs are not bad, so I don't know why you would bulk with a low-carb diet. Not only are carbs important for short term energy, but they are also building blocks that should not be left out if you want the best recovery you can get.

In general, eating more would be a good idea. Track your weight and see if you're still making acceptable gains. Once your weight gain slows you might want to eat more to compensate for that. If you've ever done a prolonged cutting phase you'll know how bad recovery suffers once you're not eating enough. If eating more is hard for you, think about substituting a litre of water with a litre of milk. Provided you're not allergic, that's a quick 400kcal fix.

Another point you mentioned is sleep. Normally, 8 hours of sleep a night should be sufficient, but the more you tax your body, the more sleep you need. If you can manage it, try to sleep 9 hours and see how that goes.

Lastly, there's supplementation. Most people will tell you you don't need it and I'd say they're right. If you've got your nutrition under control you certainly won't need any pills or powder to recover from your workouts. Should you want to try anything though, make sure to try one product at a time and assess its effects on your body. Don't do a supplemental equivalent of a roundhouse kick or you'll never know what worked. Things to try would be fast carbs during Ingress sessions, glutamine as an additional component of your post-workout-shake or ZMA for better sleep. I myself supplement carbs, found glutamine to be a waste of money and have never tried ZMA.

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