Welcome to Week 3's edition of M&F/Q&A, in which Justin Grinnell B.S., CSCS, NASM-CPT answers questions you post to our Facebook page. Every Thursday you can find a new thread on Facebook in which we ask for your training and nutrition questions, answering three of them right here the following Thursday.

So, start asking over at our Facebook thread now, and check out our answers to last week's questions below.

I am looking to build muscle, and workout 4 times per week. Two of those sessions are cardio. Should I drop a cardio session and add another weight session? –Gary Harvey

To optimize your muscle building capabilities you should focus on your weight-training program. The only way you're going to build muscle is if you place a significant amount of stress on each muscle, and then let it repair and grow with proper rest and nutrition.

Dedicating two days to cardio, and only 2 days of weight training won’t be enough to stimulate enough muscle growth.If you are concerned about gaining bodyfat, or getting out of shape cardiovascular-wise, you should make sure your diet is in check. As for the cardiovascular conditioning, try the split below.

Using a split that involves full-body workouts, and upper-body and lower-body workouts allows you to superset non-competing muscle groups. This leads to great metabolic effects for fat loss and muscle gain, while staying a very conditioned lifter without having to do a bunch of cardio.

Day 1: Full-body
Day 2: No lifting
Day 3: Lower-body
Day 4: Upper-body
Day 5: No Lifting
Day 6: Full-body
Day 7: No lifting
Day 8: repeat

What are the benefits vs. drawbacks? Also, if I do them, should I do HIIT/Abs in the morning w/lifting in the afternoon, or vise versa?  –Shaun Tucker

Training twice in one day can lead to great gains if executed correctly. If poorly executed, there will be pitfalls. Before you decide to dedicate yourself to training twice a day, go through this checklist.

    Are you getting 7-9 hours of sleep each day?
    Are you eating 5-7 times per day?
    Are you paying attention to your post-workout nutrition?
    Are you drinking at least a gallon of water a day?
    Are you consuming 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight?
    Are you someone who recovers well from intense workouts?
    Do you have minimal stress in your life (job, family, etc.)?

If you answered yes to most or all of these, then you could be a good candidate to train two times a day. You must make sure that your nutrition is sound, and recovery from stress is optimal. Otherwise you run the risk of overtraining and taking two steps back instead of forward. It's never fun to see someone work hard in the gym and see no gains.

As for the cardio or weights in the afternoon: start off your morning with a good dose of BCAA’s and water, and get your cardio in first in the morning. After fueling your body with a few good meals throughout the day, you should be ready to hit the weights harder in the afternoon, than first thing in the morning.

How can you incorporate dynamic kettlebell workouts into a traditional bodybuilding split? –Justin Rabin

The key to not losing the new mass you have gained is to eat plenty of protein and healthy fats during your training period. I would also advise taking BCAA’s before, during, and after your runs and lifts to prevent muscle tissue breakdown, and help preserve as much tissue as possible.

Running, especially long distance running, while great from strengthening your heart and lungs, can also eat up your hard-earned skeletal muscle. But with proper nutrition and weight training, you will survive the attack until your next mass-gaining phase.

Since you are unable to dedicate as much training volume to your weights as you would normally, you should focus on the heavy basics 2-3 days a week.

Exercise                              Sets        Reps
Bench Press                       3-4         6-10
superset w/
Deadlifts                               3-4         6-10
Weighted Pull-ups              3-4         5-8
superset w/
Front Squats                        3-4         6-8
DB Skull Crushers             3            8-15
superset w/
DB Hammer Curls             3            8-15

Note: A rest period of 1 minute is allowed between exercises in each superset.