Ask Lee Bodybuilding Q & A

This week I decided to share with you some of the most frequently asked bodybuilding questions that I get through my Ask Lee e-mail on a weekly basis.  I hope that you benefit from them!

Bodybuilding Question: More Cardio vs Less Calories and Best Heart Rate  
Dear Lee!
You have always been my favorite bodybuilder of all time! In my opinion you had the best quality, proportion and symmetry in the sport! I have your type of build, but of course much smaller! LOL. I focus on quality and form over quantity. I am a personal fitness trainer in Beverly Hills and love your products. I have a few fitness question(s) that I am hoping you can answer.

I have been wondering about for some time now! For getting leaner, what is the advantage of doing more cardio instead of taking in less calories? Also, what is the best heart rate to do cardio at for fat loss and for how long? Thank you very much for any advice and your time!

Thank you for writing in and especially for your kind comments! 

The main benefit of using your cardio to burn fat rather than reducing your calories, is so that you do not lose the muscle size that you have worked so hard to gain! Reducing your calories will result in less energy and less energy results in less intense workouts and not working your muscles to capacity.  Not eating enough to fuel them, will mean that you lose muscle tissue as well as body fat.

By keeping the calories up, you keep your muscles well fed, your energy up for intense workouts and you can simply melt your bodyfat away, preserving your precious muscle tissue. If you are doing a long cardio session (40-60 mins) keep your heart rate on the lower end of elevated. Walk uphill for instance at the highest elevation you can. This is best done alternated with an interval cardio session which would be shorter in duration, 20-30 mins. Start with what you can do for 2 weeks, and every 2 weeks add more time – 5-10 mins per session.  Every 2 weeks you can increase both the time and the intensity to keep you in fat burning mode. I am including for you an article about interval training for cardio that should help

Interval Training Article:

Bodybuilding Question: Vitamin Supplements at 15 Years of Age 
Mr. Labrada, I began to wonder if you thought that it would be neccesary for me to be taking supplemental vitamans at my age.  I am 15.  The reason I htought about this, is because I am beginning ot lift more weight, and i was wondeirng if there is anything I should take for my joints, muscles, bones or any vital organ?

A multivitamin for teens would be a great addition to your program.  A good multivitamin/mineral supplement should contain calcium for your bones.  Keep in mind that your food and plenty of water are your best supplements yet!  If you feel you are experiencing joint pain, then more than likely you are lifting too heavy.  You need a good foundation before you start adding very heavy weights.  People make the mistake of going too heavy thinking they are going to build large muscles that way.  You want to “train” or “coach” your muscles into new growth, not annhilate them. 

You grow at rest time, so be sure and take your rest days.  You also want to vary your rep ranges when you train.  By adding a light and moderate day to your routine, you give the joints and ligaments a chance to catch up in strength.  Keep in mind that connective tissue (ligaments and joints) will not grow as fast as your muscles, so be kind to yourself!  Also I suggest you do rotator cuff warm up exercises before each and every workout.  This is a good habit to get into now while you are young and you can steer yourself clear from any joint injuries. 

By the way, ElastiJoint is an excellent supplement to use if you begin feeling joint pain, but again, ensure above all that you are using perfect form in your exercises and that you are not training heavy all the time.  Also, if the joint pains occur cut back in the weights. 

Happy training and thanks again for writing in.

Bodybuilding Question: Comeback Training Routine
Hi Lee
I am from Bombay, India and have been a regular reader of your newsletters and blog post’s.
and wish to tell you that for me you are “The Bruce Lee of the body building world”.

I have 2 questions:
I am 30 Yrs old and used to work out before but had stopped since the last 5 years.  Due to stopping of the training and drinking I have developed a beer belly.  I want to start working out again to get a fit body.
I have the 12 week programme that you have sent me earlier but I need to develop my upper body in a better way so please give me some suggestions and workout tips.

I am 5″4 inches Tall and weight around 65 Kgs.


Welcome back to the world of bodybuilding and congratulations on making the choice to get fit once again!
Since you already have the free 12 week plan, the food plan should be very clear. We have also included a workout program for you, but I will give you another one so you have options. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Total Body Workout With Freeweights

Legs: Day 1

Seated leg extension with dumbbell-sit at edge of
bench or chair. Place dumbbell between feet and extend
Lying hamstring curl with dumbbell
Back and Biceps: Day 2

Dumbbell rows
Barbell rows
Lying hyperextensions
Standing barbell curls
Alternating dumbbell curls
Concentration curls
Preacher curls using a chair or end of weight bench
Hammer curls
Chest, Shoulders and Triceps Day 3

Dumbbell flyes
Incline press using bench or angles on a chair
Barbell press
Dumbbell press
Push ups
Chest dips using chairs or bench
Dumbbell side laterals
Dumbbell front raises
Delt flyes
Military presses with dumbbells or barbell
Overhead tricep extensions
Tricep dumbbell kickbacks
Tricep dips using chairs or bench

Sets and Reps: Shoot for 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions and rest 60-90 seconds in between sets. Note: For exercises like squats and lunges you may need as much as 2-3 minutes of rest between sets.


Note: Answers provided by Lee Labrada and Kim Webb, CFT.

Yours in Health,

Lee Labrada

Your Lean Body Coach™
Houston, Texas

6 Responses for Ask Lee Bodybuilding Q & A

  1. nick


    July 11, 2009 12:27 am

    hi my name is nick i am just getting back to working out. i workout on chest, bi’s and tri’s on one day but can never get threw a full set cause i get tired real quick. i was wondering which group to workout on first so i can get threw full sets

  2. Stanley Kimmel


    October 27, 2010 7:07 pm

    Is carb Watcher Lean Body meal replacem
    ent gluten free

  3. Allyson


    February 28, 2012 4:44 pm

    My question is in regards to involuntary muscle twitching! I have been following Lee’s 12 week program, my diet is very clean, I am taking several supplements and among them calcium & magnesium. I had eliminated banana’s from my diet but just recently had 2 in the past week, for the potassium…..and yet I am experiencing an uncontrolled & intermitent muscle twitch in my left quad and right tricep. I thought it may have been due to fatigue, similar to an eye twitch so took 2 days off my program, yet the muscle twitch still occurs. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated please! Kind regards!

    • March 6, 2012 12:12 pm

      Hello Allyson.

      This is from an electrolyte imbalance so please be sure to take a multi mineral formula every day and also be sure to be properly hydrated (drink about .66 x your bodyweight in ounces of water per day).


  4. Joey Langenbach


    August 13, 2012 5:21 am

    Hey Mr. Labrada I have a quick question I saw a Facebook post of yours saying you should change up your exercisesto keep your body confused. My question is How long into a workout should you change exercises and how many should I change?

    “I will persue perfection forever.”
    – Lee Labrada

    • Administrator


      August 13, 2012 10:27 am

      Dear Joey,

      You can change exercises either every 3 weeks, or as you get more advanced, change exercises around every time you train. Simply doing dumbbell incline press one day and doing barbell incline press the next for example will bring about results.