I am 26 years old and my height is 166 centimetre. I used to weigh about 184 pounds two years ago, as a result of which I joined a gym and started working out under the supervision of a trainer. My workout there basically focused only on cardio, core muscles and glutes. After several months, I found my weight to be near about 144 pounds.

After getting a new job and settling down to a new place, I joined another gym pretty recently (~ 4 months) where the trainer suggested that I should start bodybuilding if I am interested. I started bodybuilding exercises under his supervision (-- the majority of which are bulk up ones) for 90-100 minutes a day and 6 days a week, but he asked me many times to not continue any cardio-based exercises at all because he says, they prohibit muscle build up rate or decelerates their growth rate (in other words) and I listened to him. This is somewhat disturbing to me, now, because I can still clearly see a considerable amount of fat in and around my waist, including love handles, chest, thighs and glutes. I also started taking creatine monohydrate after checking seeing some popular forums and take ~ 2gm per day mixed extremely well with 16oz luke warm water. Moreover, I weigh 157 pounds now. Of course, I do exercises which focus only on my core, but these haven't been as effective as I thought they would be and I am now somewhat worried what would happen if I start taking whey protein along with creatine and continue the current workout and diet pattern. I want to avoid fat burners because I have anxiety issues and because of the high caffeine concentration in some of them.

Any valuable suggestion and/or feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks!

  • Are you talking about competitive bodybuilding, or, just general fitness. Do you have specific "bodybuilding" goals?
    – rrirower
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 20:08
  • @rrirower: General fitness for now. However, I intend to re-join the MMA club I was a part of for few months and train so as to fight as a pro after few years of training. But yes, definitely not competitive bodybuilding. Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 19:17

1 Answer 1


What your trainer said you is in part right. Just in part.

First of all you have to understand why it works like he said. Muscle activity i mostly based on contraction, and on firing rate of muscle fibers. When you have a low and constant rate of contraction you activate different proteins inside the muscle and tend to change you muscle fenotype thowards an oxidative type. Vice versa, with higher peaks and stronger contractions you will get a glycolitic type of muscle; and this type of muscle is the one you want to get if you are trying to aim at power/strenght sports and/or hypertrophy ( composed mostly of IIa and IIx fibers ).

The two actors of this tale are the AMPK and the mTOR

What your trainer said to you happens when the AMPK and and some of its downstream transcription factors are activated in a much robus manner than mTOR.

Vice versa, when you practise resistance training ( train with weights ) something different occurs. There is a higher appearance in the muscle of the mRNA ( that indicates at which level a protein is transcribed and this present, in this case ) that transcribe mTOR and other of his downstream targets. This means hypertrophy.

The solution is that you do cardio actually before training with weights. This will be no detrimental at all.

Here is a link to the one of the studies I'm referring to: Exercise-induced AMPK activation does not interfere with muscle hypertrophy in response to resistance training in men.

  • Counter-argument, If he does 30min SS cardio before a barbell routine, he will be more fatigued and not able to put out the same level of power. Less power expended during the barbell routine would lead to slightly less gain than if he did barbell first, followed by cardio.
    – John
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 6:49
  • @JJosaur this is actually wrong. First of all "30min" and "SS cardio" are just arbitrary. You didnt contextualize the two measures. Cardio is a low intesity exercise that does not influence energy systems as phospagens at a critical point expecially if executed at low intensities. Doing as you say is detrimental, brother. It depends on molecular signaling. I can reference that if you want, as I did on my claim.
    – Liv
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 6:55
  • 2
    It's from a non-study standpoint. Based on my experience in working with people, they cannot hit the same lift numbers if they do cardio followed by barbell. Not to discredit your well-explained point, but there may also be more basic psychological/energy-reserves issue at play for some.
    – John
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 6:59
  • I have seen both in my personal experience, but we have to provide the best knowledge on about every perspective possibile. What you are saying is anecdotal: I've seen people slightly impaired and people actually performing better ( this doesnt mean nothing ). My perspective was strictly on molecular biology level and what objectively happens in the muscle tissue of everyone.
    – Liv
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 10:19
  • So how much cardio would not be too much? I.e., should I do cardio so as to only warm up my body or might as well continue for half an hour? Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 5:46

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