I'm doing a strength training program, like stronglifts 5x5. I squat 3 times per week, my upper body exercises include bench, overhead press, weighted pullups, and barbell rows. I used to do track and field in high school, and I could just about anything without gaining fat. Now, I have to count my calories otherwise I start to gain weight. What are good workouts that can burn a lot of calories but not hinder my strength training?

-Some ideas: swimming, running, sprints, cycling. But I'm afraid doing too much will hurt my strength gains. Is it better to not exercise on rest days to actually rest?

  • 1
    How many calories do you eat? Seems like you workout everyday but you're gaining enough weight to where you notice/care about? Remember weight is just a arbitrary number that shouldnt dictate your life.. Do you look the way you look?
    – EricSSH
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 17:47
  • I do 15-20 minute hill sprints three times a week and it keeps me lean. If the weather doesn't permit them, I do clean and jerks (maybe 4ish with ~165lbs on the minute for 15-20 minutes, or a few back to back "death by clean and jerk" workouts). I recommend either. The clean and jerk workouts are a blast.
    – Daniel
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 20:23

1 Answer 1


There are two ways of losing calories without raising recovery needs much that I can think of:

Eccentric-less training:
One of the best ways to burn calories (or get additional training volume) while minimising recovery needs is eccentric-less training. The eccentric portion of a lift (or any exercise) puts far more strain on your central nervous system and your muscle tissue. By omiting that portion, you can regenerate way faster from exercise and not impede your main lifts that much. Some great exercises that only use concentric load:

  • hill sprints (walking down)
  • cycling
  • sled-pull
  • prowler-push
  • olympic lifts (drop the weight at the top).

Super low impact cardio:
This is basically anything you can do for hours, without really getting tired. I myself like walking to work and back (2x40min) which burns ~300kcal and doesn't really impede my lifts in any way. This article goes into a bit more detail on the benefits of walking.

  • Thanks for the articles! The second article mentions how its hard to "overtrain" for walking, and you walk about 80 min a day. Do you think a treadmill desk is a good idea? That way you can walk 3 hours a day, etc especially for your rest days while you work
    – 010110111
    Commented May 6, 2014 at 15:36
  • @1mathboy1: Overtraining with walking is hard, but if you have the worst knees ever (like me), you can even manage that (I can only walk about 2-3h a day). With healthy knees, however, I see no reason why you wouldn't be able to walk for 3h a day. If a treadmill desk is an option for you that would certainly save you some time. I myself have no experiences with those, though, as I've never even tried one out.
    – user8119
    Commented May 6, 2014 at 15:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.