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Does Aerobic/ Cardiovascular Activity Cut Into Muscle Gains?

Hi Dr. Bell, my goal is to put on muscle mass. I have been hitting the gym for about 8 months now. I have been doing a 4 day split routine. I like the results I’m getting. However, I had a free voucher for a Jiu-Jitsu class and really enjoyed it. I’m considering going 2 times a week (1 hour sessions). I know this is more cardio training.  Will Jiu-Jitsu (cardio) kill my gains in the gym? Thanks! Ryan

Ryan, Don’t Panic!

Jiu-Jitsu may keep your heart rate high, but it is an Anaerobic Activity and should help, not hurt, your muscle building gains.

I understand your concerns. Many Bodybuilders notice that as their cardio increases, their ability to gain muscle disappears. To avoid this from happening, keep your aerobic exercise to less than 45 minutes/session and to 4 or less sessions/week. You can make great cardiovascular gains using H.I.I.T. Program Design. High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.), can develop cardio fitness faster and safer than traditional Long Duration-Low Intensity Training.


Typically, almost all Martial Arts forms use some variation of H.I.I.T.