Q & A With Chris Zaino - Part 7.

In this issue of Chris Zaino's Q & A, you will learn all about cardio, how to break a plateau with creatine, if surfing is a good cardio and much more...

I have this huge debate over cardio. I am reading about all these studies that say I should do it at certain times, waiting a certain amount of hours in-between sessions and training. With my work schedule it is pretty tough to be able to position my schedule around the ultimate times to perform my cardio.

I really want to improve, so will I really be suffering if I complete my cardio after I train? Am I going to lose all the muscle I have gotten already? I really can only get to the gym 1 time per week. I just wanted to get your thoughts on this matter. Thanks in advance.

Hi Pat, thanks for the question! I understand how it can be tough when there is so many different approached to when and where to do cardio. You also have to think what is realistic. That is, you have a life other than the gym. Some people forget about that. So, if you only can get to the gym on certain days, or you cannot go to the gym twice per day, than doing cardio after training is fine.

Yes, it would be best to split cardio form weights. Yes, it is preferred that it would be better on muscle if you did it on non training days. How about if you are like me and train every day? I am not going to do cardio one day a week, I would look like crap! I personally have done it, before breakfast and it worked great. I have done it after training, it too also worked great. Bottom line, cardio will help you burn more calories than you take in. This will lead to a reduction in body fat, if your nutrition plan is on track.

So my answer to you is, do it whenever you have the time, and when it is most convenient for you. Our bodies' are so much more intelligent than we are. The body knows what to do. If you want to do cardio after training, I do not think it would hurt to throw down some glutamine before you hope on the cardio. SO do not get discouraged or even waste time and energy stressing over it.

I feel that all these "studies" make people more like a heard of cows, stressing over every little aspect of training, nutrition, and cardio. Believe it or not, stress is the most counterproductive thing you can do. So relax, grab your music, magazine, etc., and do your cardio whenever you want. The benefits of cardio will always weigh out the bad. Take care.

I am a big fan of yours and would like your opinion on a few things. First off, I have been thinking about taking creatine for awhile now but my parents are skeptical saying that it will do nothing but make me look a little bigger by filling my muscles with water, and that I was too young anyway (I am 16 years old).

I have heard that water retention is one effect of creatine, but I was wondering if it would still be a good idea to supplement with creatine to help me break my bench press plateau. I was also wondering if you could look at my work out and tell me if you think I am over/under training.

    Day #1 - Chest (25 sets)
    Day #2 - Legs (21 sets)
    Day #3 - Shoulders (21 sets)
    Day #4 - Back (25 sets)
    Day #5 - Biceps/Triceps (24 sets)
    Day #6 - Rest

* I also do some form of cardio every day, alternating from high and low intensity.

I always consume at least 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight and I consume 3,000 calories a day. (I am only 125 pounds right now). Lastly I was wondering if it was OK to consume less calories on rest days, and if so how many?

Well, I can tell you are serious and want to make the most results you can. So please, trust me on the following recommendations.

Creatine is a good supplement. you do hold more water in the muscles, but that causes many physiological effects that will lead to muscle growth. When a muscle is super hydrated, the protein synthesis and recovery is increased. Also the extra water creates better leverage, to allow for better lifts in the gym. Do you need Creatine right now?

By looking at you routine, I think there are some things we can change that will give you the boost you need without the addition of creatine. I personally did not try supplements until I was 18 years old. You really want your body to go as far as it can with good nutrition and the bare essentials (Multi vit/mineral, protein powder and most of all FOOD!). You are doing way to much in the gym.

Danny, you are 125 pounds! I would first reduce all cardio. 20 minutes 3 times a week MAX on non-training day. The only reason I want cardio in there is mainly for your heart conditioning. IT is the most important muscle we have. This will allow your performance in the gym. Your body part split is good, but your sets are way too high. I would back down on the number of sets per body part by 50% or more, and increase my intensity on each one. After you have warmed up the muscle properly, these are my recommendations for how many main sets per muscle group:

    Chest, shoulders back legs: 9-12 main sets per body part
    Triceps, biceps: 6-9 sets per body part

Do not decrease your caloric intake. Make sure you have a protein source in each meal. Your young right now, so all I am concerned with is that you are getting protein with each meal, as far as carbs, eat whatever you like, trying to keep it as clean as you can, but calories must stay up there. I would also recommend s few tablespoons of peanut butter per day. Just to ensure you are getting some healthy fats in there. If you want to take flax oil, great! I just know at your age, I would opt for the peanut butter.

Should you eat less on non-training days? My answer for you would be no. Remember, you are also recovering and recuperating on those days as well. So keep your calories the same. Keep training hard!

Hey Chris, I am a 23 year old student and I am going on your advice at Bodybuilding.com about staying lean while gaining and wanted to know if you feel that surfing for two hours four times a week is enough for the cardio part. Thank you for your time.

Hi, Thanks for the question. Many people may think that if you are not on a treadmill, precor, or running on a track, you are not doing cardio. The main thing that cardio will help you out with in attaining that lean physique is calorie expenditure. So surfing for 8 hours total a week is definitely going to be burning up some calories due to the enormous amount of activity. The best cardio routine for a person to do is a cardio routine they enjoy.

If you love surfing, by all means surf away. You are going to burn calories, and at the end of the day, if you burn more calories than you consumed, you are going to lose fat. That being said, your diet has to be in top notch order as well. You do not want to eat too little and provide the chance to lose too much muscle. So monitor your body fat and your diet. Make adjustments accordingly. Take care!

Find out how many calories you are burning in
over 600 exercises, click here!

Well, there you go, just some of the variety of questions that some of our readers have. If you have any questions or topics that interest you, and you would like to see discussed please E-mail Chris Zaino at cz2000@aol.com.

Note: This is part seven, click here for part one!
  click here for part two!
click here for part three!
click here for part four!
click here for part five!
click here for part six!
click here for part eight!
click here for part nine!
click here for part ten!
click here for part eleven!