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Best Cardio for Fat Burning



I'm currently doing Chad Waterbury TBT and progressing nicely so far.

My gym open's at 6.30am which I'm wanting to take advantage of by doing some cardio in a morning and then my lifting in an evening.

When I've trained in the morning I've found my performance both at work and in the gym has improved so I'd like to get into a routine.

My problem is the conflicting advice I've had on fat burning cardio and was hoping to get a steer from you guys. I've used these forums a lot in the past but never taken the time to register until now.

One piece of advice I've had was that the best cardio to do for fat burn is 45 mins on a treadmill at around 6km/ph on 5% incline.

The other piece of advice I've had is to do 5x5 minute hard running on the treadmill.

Both bits of advice were given with such confidence its left me a little clueless as to which one to take.

Any advice guys?



There really isn't a consensus answer to this question--give each a try and find which works better for you.


You'll get as many answers as there are athletes...

But I can tell you what works best for me in a contest prep:

1) I believe cardio is important and I don't get in shape without it. I think the main goal doing cardio is to increase energy turnover. There is nothing magical about any form of cardio.

2) Though I need cardio to get in shape, I still try to keep it to a minimum. I prefer to keep my weight lifting volume as high as possible.

3) I start by doing 1-2 sessions a week. Of which one would be a HIIT session of about 20 minutes and the other one a steady state session for 45 minutes.

4) After 4 weeks of prep or "when needed" I start to increase the amount of cardio I do. I usually end up doing 2 HIIT sessions and 2 steady state sessions a week.

5) On top of that, 6 weeks out or so I often add 15 minutes walking at 15° on the treadmill after my weight lifting sessions. Those walks are very, very easy and just meant to increase energy turnover a bit.

6) I never, ever do cardio in a completely fasted state. I found that to eat up muscle mass quickly.
So when I jump out of bed, I have a cup of black coffee with a scoop of whey protein isolate mixed in.
During the cardio I sip on a BCAA drink (20g BCAA).
This way, I still profit from the carb depleted state my body is in, but don't burn muscle mass.

7) I can't bear more than 2 HIIT sessions a week. Did up to 7 in the past but it burns me out. I believe the impact on the nervous system is significant.

8) I try to do as much NEPA (non-exercise physical activity) as possible. This includes not taking the car but walking to the next store, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.

Cheers, PA


I can't agree enough with the HIIT being extremely taxing.
I used to do it 4 times a week and weight lift the other 3 days, this was during what I call the dark ages because I didn't know anything.

It was a fat loss phase which actually turned out to be an extremely effective muscle loss phase. :frowning:

Needless to say I haven't done HIIT in the two years since, if I was to do so I would do it maybe once or twice a week. These days I'm usually only jogging for about 10-15minutes once - twice a week. It depends on how much I am actually training in the gym.

Right now that works out to be 6 sessions in the gym a week push/pull/legs, AM and PM workouts one for strength and one for hypertrophy. For a relative beginner/low intermediate like myself it works extremely well as a form of cardio as well as a general lifting program.

I've tried splits, total body workouts and none of them quite work like two a days for getting lean whilst gaining muscle. (Granted a lot depends on diet as well)

-- Speaking of diet,

Currently I workout mon/tue/wed & fri/sat/sun I'm typically in the gym for 45 minutes each session, maybe slightly more on pull day as the back is my weakest area.
I'm gaining weight and losing size on my waist, I'm taking photos and size measurements every two weeks. Things are going well.
Overtraining isn't going to happen to someone at my level even with this amount of lifting as long as diet is fine.

Typically my diet is as follows on workout days.

Wake: Oats, 1 pint of Milk, 1 bowl of Vanilla Yoghurt - if I can stomach it I have a bacon and egg toasted sandwich too.

Snack: Super shake - 3 eggs, 1 banana, 1 pint of milk, 1 tbsp jam, half cup yoghurt 1 tsp l-glutamine powder blended up.

Lunch: tuna + mayo bagels and 1 pint of milk

Snack: 3 boiled eggs + 2 Flameout pint of milk

dinner: Whatever is cooked for everyone in the house, burgers = 3 half pound burgers, pizza = a whole pizza, so on. and a pint of milk

Snack: super shake

Snack: Another bagel and a pint of milk!

before bed: two Flameout, yes more MILK!

It seems to be working right now, once I reach 200lbs I'm going to be eating a lot more chicken, veggies and stuff like that and cut down on the milk. But its cheap and keeps me going right now during the training sessions I'm doing.

On a non training day I cut out a few of the later in the day snacks and drink less milk...
Keeps carbs and fats lower, protein drops off a bit too but I'm getting some whey protein soon so that'll be in check.


I do two HIIT sessions... on my double days where I lift a.m. and do cardio p.m. then I have two days steady state right now its forty-five minutes on the stairmill (that heinous asshole of a moving staircase) on just level five or six which is about 3.5 miles.

So basically I'm just agreeing with above poster.


People have had success with both, a combination would probably work out effectively like many of the above posters are using (2 sessions of HIIT, 2 of moderate intensity, and hell, throw in light 2 walks for added effect if you need to increase the amount.)

To reach EXTREME conditions (BB Stage) you might need to try something a little more... Extreme. But just to "get in shape" you shouldnt need more than 3-5 sessions a week of good, heavy breathing cardio.


No matter what cardio I do, I need to suffer a little (= heavy breathing cardio) doing it to really get rid of bf.
I don't know why, but just sitting on a bike and working up a sweat for 45 min doesn't seem to do the trick for me. I'm not talking all-out HIIT, though.

So, to really help with fat loss, my cardio needs to be somewhere in the middle between long steady-state sessions and all-out HIIT.


I like the way ParagonA explains it,.. I make use of a combination of HIIT and Steady State myself when prepping for a show. Factors like time of day performed, macros allotted, whether you're using carbs or keto-dieting, and whether you're 'assisted' or not all play into which one (or what combo of both) will provide you the best results.



Same here FF. I can keep the session time to 30 minutes or less, but must 'bump' the intensity up a bit to get results from steady-state type work.
Overall; I do a variety of cario/conditioning work throughout the training week.


HIIT - pardon my lack of knowledge but I'm assuming that would be High Intensity Interval Training (bracing myself for the scorn!)

What type of stuff is that? The 5 minute sprints I've been advised to do?

I'm guessing that the best way to go about matters would be to do a couple of those and also a couple of the steady state stuff?

In terms of my nutrition I'm taking the following

PHD Pharma Whey x 3
Fish Oil - omega 3 12000mg a day
Surge Recovery after lifting
Matrix ST every day
Milk Thistle tablets
Superfood tablets
Multi Vitamins

Trying to eat as much white meat as possible like Turkey and Chicken as well as good fat stuff such as Almonds, fish etc.

My only thing is that my diet feels very repetitive as I'm not sure what stuff I can venture onto.

Really appreciate the feedback guys.



I've been doing an additional Waterbury routine in a morning which is 60 pull ups and 100 press ups every day, seems to be really adding size to both parts slowly but surely

Anyone else done this? Seems almost too simplistic!



I've been doing an additional Waterbury routine in a morning which is 60 pull ups and 100 press ups every day, seems to be really adding size to both parts slowly but surely

Anyone else done this? Seems almost too simplistic!


Stu what would you suggest for someone who is on a keto diet with 1 refeed day per week and is "assisted"?


I find that most competitors who diet on low carbs or ketogenic diets fare better as far as optimizing muscle retention by sticking to longer bouts of steady state cardio. Remember that High Intensity work (intervals) uses glycogen for a primary fuel source, so rapidly depleting your stores via interval work, can lead to excessive breakdown of muscle tissue in order to create glucose for the body.

The 'assisted' aspect deals with the increased level of protein synthesis/turnover in the body. Yes, some AAS users can benefit from higher intensity work, but when you're looking at someone the size of say Ronnie Coleman, it's a hell of a lot of work for the guy (who averages over 275 lbs) to do much of anything, let alone worry about a little extra EPOC.



I was a fat child, to be a lean man I have to do lots of cardio. It doesn't really matter which, just get it done. I favour elliptical as it allows my joints to stay pain-free for the lifting. It'skind of fun, you can zone out and i'm trying to write a book by brainstorming during cardio.

Too much HIIT will make you weaker, due to nervous/muscular effects, I don't know. But after doing HIIT on VLCD (very low carbs) your body will sort of scream at you 'stop! this is a bad idea!


Thanks stu, insightful as always


So around twenty minutes of cardio would be the recommendation for HIIT?

Just wondering - does it make a difference to do cardio in the morning vs at night?
I've heard people comment on both, but haven't heard a majority lead to one side. Thoughts?

Also - If I'm just taking BCAAS before cardio, is that enough? Or would you recommend having protein before and bcaas during the workout?



I usually average 20-25 mins per session of HIT work. And as I mentioned earlier, Interval work is fueled primarily by glycogen. As such, I down my Finibars and Mag10 on days I'm doing intervals just as I would on a weight training day (although I do keep my total cals a bit lower on those days).



here's my HIIT, which i do once a week on wednesday, the day between my upper-lower body 4-day split. (Mon/Tues & Thurs/Fri)

Jumping Jacks + Front claps
( front claps are like a jumping jack with arms extended out front with a "fly" motion, and legs scissoring forward/backward instead of out and in) 2 jumping jacks + 2 front claps = 1 rep, for 15 reps.
Shadow box for ~1min
repeat that twice, and finish off when another round of Jumping jacks and front claps. these movements are all supersetted, 30 seconds rest max in between.

Once i finish that bitch, ill do 10 minutes on a "ski" machine (elliptical+arms)

then another set of the Jumpingjacks/front claps/shadow boxing
sometimes ill switch out shadow boxing for pushups

then one more 10 minute stint on the ski machine... totals to about 25-30 minutes of suck

keep my HR ~145-155 and it's relatively low-impact, doesnt seem to do too much damage to my legs, and its a good stretch for the arms.



I recommend staying away from cardio until you see a fat decrease from diet alone.