by Will Grumke January 05, 2021 6 min read
Cardio is typically a tool most people use to get leaner and lose weight. With that though, we have to differentiate "losing weight" from "losing fat".
Our goal should be to optimize losing fat, not just looking at a number on the scale. If you are looking at getting lean ... putting on muscle should be a priority, not an afterthought.
If you want to be lean and you do just cardio, you aren’t going to get there.
Cardio burns both muscle and fat, not just fat like most people think.
If you aren’t training your muscles at the same time ... you’re going to end up a skinnier, smaller, and just an overall softer version of your current self.
Do you like the muscle tone you have right now when you look in the mirror naked?
Because if you do just cardio ... the scale will change, but your look will not.
Muscle is the most metabolically active tissue in the body, which means it needs calories to sustain itself all throughout the day.
To get that lean look you are after, it will be extremely important for you to be sure to incorporate a fair amount of resistance training.
It’s mandatory, not optional.
Lean muscle controls your metabolism; think of it like your own internal fat-burning machine.
The more lean muscle you have, the stronger your base metabolism will be.
Even right now while I’m typing this blog and while you’re reading it, our lean muscle is burning calories.
Think of how much stronger your metabolism would be if it had an extra 5 pounds of muscle on there … or ten … or … 🤷♂️?!
I think you get where I’m going here.
Do not worry about “bulking up” or putting on “too much muscle".
You would have to train and eat in a very specific and deliberate fashion to do this ... and unless you have the genetics of Arnold Schwarzenegger (if you did, you wouldn’t be worried about getting lean).
Get that idea out of your head right now … because it just isn’t going to happen.
This thought process is how most women think about training with weights and it is completely inaccurate.
The idea that you are going to magically turn into a world class bodybuilder overnight by lifting weights is a lot like saying, "I don’t want to go on a bike ride because I might win the Tour de France."
Muscle is your friend … accept it, embrace it, love it!
Now that you realize that weight training and gaining muscle is the quickest/only way to realize your goal of getting lean, let's move on to your original question.
Here is why …
Glycogen is glucose that is stored within the muscle cell that acts as an immediate energy source, essentially serving as “power on demand.”
Because resistance training relies on these glycogen stores during intense weight training and depletes them, it is important to provide your body with a source of glucose, such as Ignition, to begin the replenishment process as soon as you can after your training.
During intense training, you are not only depleting glycogen stores ... you are creating microscopic tears in the muscle, called micro traumas.
The repair of these micro traumas is what causes your muscle to grow back bigger and stronger.
You tear it down and it builds back stronger every time. This is what the whole concept of training with weights revolves around.
Ignition is designed to be taken post-workout (weights) to begin the glycogen replenishment process (it can also be taken pre-workout, which I will explain in a minute).
The most important function of Ignition is that it floods your body with glucose, but along with the large amount of glucose comes an extremely high insulin spike that serves two purposes:
Research has been done that shows this concept (glycogen, insulin & amino acids together) is the most efficient way to begin recovery from an intense weight lifting workout, and begin building bigger stronger muscles.
The most important concept to understand here in regards to what you are asking about is the word insulin.
Insulin is a nutrient delivery hormone that helps transport nutrients to where they need to go.
It also tells the cells at those locations to accept and store the nutrients upon arrival.
The thing about insulin is that it drastically inhibits lipolysis (fat loss). You cannot burn fat with high insulin levels, it's physiologically impossible.
In very simple terms, insulin turns off your ability to burn fat temporarily (it’s a storage hormone).
Since much of the fat calories burned during cardio exercise actually happens AFTER you are finished with your cardio session, it doesn’t make much sense to turn off your body’s ability to burn fat directly after your cardio exercise, does it?
Especially because your body didn't use glycogen as a main energy source, so it does not have the glycogen stores to refill. Simply put, it doesn't need to put gas back in the tank.
This is the answer to your original question as to why not to use Ignition pre/post cardio. It basically jacks your insulin up too high and your body can't burn fat.
Resistance training and endurance event training are obviously a different beast. The goal would be to cover a certain amount of ground as fast as possible.
In this case, keeping glycogen levels topped off during a “cardio” exercise would be beneficial, because the main goal is performance ... not fat loss.
The best possible way to work the Ignition and Phormula-1 into your training would be to use 1/2 scoop of Ignition with 1 scoop of Phormula-1 in about 5-6 oz of water about 15-20 minutes before you perform any resistance training.
This will give your body an immediate shot of fast-absorbing hydrolyzed whey isolate with an ample kick of BCAA’s & EAA’s in there to support proper muscle function, stimulate muscle protein synthesis, and boost metabolism during your training.
Recent studies have shown that a small dose of high-quality whey isolate pre-workout will “prime the engine” so to speak to further optimize post-workout protein assimilation/absorption.
In addition, the included Ignition gives you a nice kick of rapidly absorbing carbohydrates to power you thru your training.
You’ll notice an increase in your overall endurance as well as better muscle contractions and “pumps” while training.
In addition to pre-workout, and in my opinion even more importantly, you want to be certain to use these same two products post-workout, but in a slightly different dose.
Immediately after training, for men, mix one full scoop of Ignition with 2 scoops of Phormula-1 in about 12 ounces of water. For Women, mix 1/2 scoop of ignition with 1 scoop of Phormula-1 in 6-8 ounces of water.
Now, while this combination works excellent both pre- and post-resistance training settings, I would not recommend Phormula-1 as a daily use, meal replacement protein.
For something like that, you should look into Level-1, our slow-assimilating protein blend.
It was designed with a slower digestion pattern to mimic the digestion rate closer to an actual meal.
This makes it more ideal as a daily use, meal replacement protein, as it provides your body a steady feed of amino acids all throughout the day to keep you anabolic.
Ideally, you should use Phormula-1 WITHOUT Ignition within 30 minutes of cardio training and follow that up with a solid food meal containing protein and complex carbs an hour after the post-cardio protein drink ... and then, you would move on with your normal eating schedule from there.
While rapid assimilating protein, like Phormula-1, will cause a very small insulin spike, it will be small enough to not drastically inhibit lipolysis and the resulting stimulation of muscle protein synthesis will help keep you from breaking down too much muscle.
This method helps you keep muscle catabolism to a minimum, while at the same time avoiding a huge insulin spike that shuts down the fat burning process completely right after your cardio session.
I know that that was a lot of info to throw at you at once, but I wanted to give you all the information you need.If you have additional questions, please reach out to our Customer Loyalty team at 1-800-409-9732 to chat with one of our NASM Certified employees. We would be more than happy to help you reach your goals and make sure you're on the right path!
NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Nutrition Coach, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, NASM VCS Virtual Coaching Specialist, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer