T Nation

backing off of cardio

What to expect?
I’m trying to buckle down and reduce the amount of cardio I do, since I’ve probably been overdoing it (upwards of seventy minutes a day- don’t hit me, I’m obsessive :slight_smile: ). It obviously wasn’t giving me the results I wanted and I’m always starving, so I’m hoping maybe it’ll balance me out some.

Have you tried HIIT? I like that a lot. Or look at JMB’s Winning Formula. It’s got some pretty nifty requirement/guidelines for cardio to follow w/ the program. (three 30-min HIIT + two 30-min cardio per week)

70 mins of cardio/day…sounds like my college days…I was very obsessive compulsive about cardio. I went to the gym TWICE a day at one point for cardio.

You should end up gaining some lean mass if your diets up to par.

There’s a few women I work out with that say they feel (and definitely look) better when they back off the cardio and just lift heavy. They’ve burned more fat and have become overall slimmer that way.

Agree with Stella. Females tend to believe cardio should be performed everyday. A stereotype yes, but I find it to be often true. I can’t see anyone improving their condition to what I call “excellent” by employing a daily light cardio session for 70 minutes. Unless you are training for a long distance running.

This is purely a mental obstacle that you can overcome. Are you performing the same activity each day too?

Basically, I think that cardio/HIIT should be left for non-training days with most people. Think of it as something to keep your metabolism revved up when you don’t hit the weights.

I do shake it up, don’t always use the same machine or do it in the same workout.
I can’t do anything too high intensity anymore, messed up a knee really badly doing long distance running. It’s gradually getting better but won’t be back to par anytime soon.
Change is good though!! Going to limit myself to just some warm up cardio this week and see how it goes.

Just remember the more muscle you have the more fat you burn. Cardio conditioning like that is good if competing against fellow cardio peps in the gym. I know in cycling the max improvement for conditioning was 4 times a week. Anymore then this and the resultswere more but not that much. Even though I rode more then that, 6 days a week,I was competing. I was doing different things on the bike everyday power stomps,hill intervals,sprint intervals etc… I tell my wife 4 days is enough but she insist on more so she has to change things up during the week. But if you are looking to gain mass then 70 mins a day is way to much. But right now your cardiovascular system is rockin and what is wrong with that?


I found that when I have my knee problems (my knee sucks too sigh), I use elliptical. It seems to work well although it’s harder to motivate on ellipticals since they’re not going to maek you trip and make you stupid if you don’t keep up with the speed. Rowing works well also. :slight_smile:

Have you tried HIIT swimming? I’ve been using it extensively during the Hot-Rox contest and it’s working good. Swimming is definitely a tough workout.

Stella- the elliptical is my FRIEND hehe…been using it a LOT.
Day three of cutting back and wow hey…I’m not fat! :wink: I don’t look quite as flat somehow too…muscles look a little fuller. This is good!

I second machine. HIIT swimming is tough as hell!

Holy moley…70 minutes per day!!! I’m glad to hear that you have come to your senses and have decided to cut back. I used to do alot of cardio (no where near 70 minutes per day) also, and since I decided to cut back and focus on 2 HITT sessions per week and 2 low to moderate 20 minute sessions on the eliptical…I have noticed some more “fullness” to my physique. WHEW…70 minutes!! Yowsa!

CT’s “Running Man” article and other HIIT is a much better idea.

If that doesn’t suit your pleasure, I’d look into some GPP (a la Renegade style) or some rope work and GPP.

70 minutes of cardio training seems excessive, even if you are doing it at a low intensity. And we all know that low-intensity cardio is not the best way to stay lean and mean.

I second Nate Dogg’s suggestion about CT’s “Running Man”. This will cut your cardio/energy-system work down to 10-15 minutes, plus you don’t have to do it every day, leaving you more time for rest, recovery, eating, and more energy for lifting heavy! But I will say, the 10-15 minute Running Man workouts were killer… much harder than my old 40 minute low-cardio sessions.

Or, of course, just take out cardio all together for a bit and see what you think.


Stop that 70-minutes of steady state insanity. At least stop it for 6-weeks, perform HIIT instead and see what happens. I’m sure you’ll experience good results.

And I also agree with CT’s “Running Man”. Choices of HIIT are: jump rope, sprinting, row machine, eliptical.

Patricia, after you get in the water you’ll add swimming to your list of choices of HIIT workouts. Probably after a few laps. That’s how it was for me my first time back in the water after 4 years.

Swimming is seriously an awesome workout and energy speaking, I’d hypothesize that it burns more than running in the same amount of time. Believe me, it’s very hard. The pump you get in your triceps and chest is unreal.

Machine: I would love to add swimming as another option for HIIT; however, I can’t swim. I sink like a rock. I’m a great underwater swimmer, though :wink:

Swimming would be great, if my gym had a pool :slight_smile:
I wish I could do more kinds of cardio…jumping rope, running, everything impact is out of the question with my knee right now. Ugh, back to watching the diet :slight_smile: