T Nation

Best Time to Do Cardio (If Any at All)?


Now, this is generally out of curiosity - I do HIIT on my off days on a Tuesday and Saturday, but I have been reading that's not good for your metabolic rate while resting. But then I read that Post workout cardio is also bad due to cortisol being released because of all the stress, and then theres the morning cardio - the shit people hate to do, makes me feel bad, out of energy and not want to go to the gym, I'm trying my hardest to cut, but I just don't know when to fit cardio in when I'm at Maintenance calories.. Hmmm.

Where do you guys do your cardio?


Where did you read that HIIT is not good for your metabolic rate? If anything, intense cardio work like sprinting will boost your resting metabolism by increasing the number and size of the mitochondria in each of your cells.

I would think post workout cardio would be just fine also, but I never have the desire to do any cardio work after an intense weight training session. I have heard the caloric expenditure of post-WO cardio is a bit higher than just doing cardio alone, but I have no scientific literature to support this. It's just something I've heard on multiple occasions.

Morning cardio (more specifically, cardio after a long fast) is particularly effective at burning fat due to the fact that your insulin levels are very low, but high intensity cardio may waste away more muscle than desired as well. A few of the T-Nation contributors feel that a fast-paced walk for about an hour after waking is extremely effective at shedding fat. More info on that here: http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/the_ultimate_cardio_solution_disclosed

Personally, when I do cardio I like to do a few short sprints in the morning... usually on an empty stomach besides a whey protein shake. I keep it intense and short... at most 30 minutes. I absolutely loathe the boring steady-state cardio. It may be better for fat burning but if you can't stick with something it doesn't matter how effective it is.

If that's you in your avatar, I would recommend not worrying so much about the cardio aspect of training. You're pretty skinny already, and your time would be better served by making sure your giving as much intensity as you can during your weight training sessions. Just do your cardio whenever it's convenient for you. Cardio isn't really a "dealbreaker" when it comes to physique enhancement (although it definately helps).


Morning fasted steady state cardio is pretty great.

Throwing in 10-20 minutes after a weightlifting session for an extra 100-200 calories is just fine too.

Either would work fine IMO for trying to lose fat when eating at maintenance.


good read homie.

I know that HIIT is good for the resting metabolic rate - But what I mean is if you're doing something like 5x5 like me then my legs don't really get to recover by the next day therefore tearing more and more muscle tissue causing your metabolic rate to be slowed by your next workout.

I know PWO is meant to be good, but I suppose there are so many different aspects of it that it's hard to believe one thing - I used to do HIIT PWO, but I certainly did not enjoy that, but PWO it only needs to be done for 10 minutes, on my off days now today I'll probably do 25 minutes of cardio - 5 minute warm up, 15 minutes 1 minute rest, 45 seconds sprint, 30 second jog, 1 minute fast run.

Anyway,m sprinting in the morning - fuck that noise haha. I done that before and almost passed out, super dehydrated and just couldn't do much.

And yeah I like Steady State, I love running a good 4 miles bur I can't do it on a treadmill, that bores the shit out of me, and I don't know how pro bodybuilders can walk on a treadmill for a good hour, just walking, that's not fun.

Hmm, I think I'll do 1 day sprint, 1 day long distance runs. I'll do the sprints on a Saturday so I'll have a day in between and a long run isn't going to fuck my legs up so might as well.

And well yeah it is me, but I'm a bit chunky around my back end more than anything else, I got more pics if you want to see and you could probably help me decide - I'm 16 as well o cutting isn't best, thats why I'm trying to eat maintenance.

I remember you on a few of my posts in the past anyway.


I've had good success with morning low intensity cardio. 3.4 or so on a treadmill.


Hmm... I don't have space for a tread, Possibly walk my dog at a good pace or go for a good run eh?


Yep. Best if you can get to a gym though. I find the treadmill better for walking as you don't stop unlike walking hte street.


Yeah I suppose man, but it's also good when you live right next to a mountain and has a path to go up it and around my valley..

I think I'll use that twice a week, and then just do a HIIT or LISS sesh PWO one day.

I'm considering a bulk since Nate said about it hmm.


  1. Depends on what kind of cardio we're talking about here. If your legs are really sore after doing your program, sprints are not going to be the best option for you. However, walking at a brisk pace probably won't hurt your recovery at all... in fact, getting a little more blood flow to your legs without stressing out the muscle too much may improve your recovery time a little bit.

I know that when I'm really sore after a good training session, if I stop moving around much my legs are much more sore than if I have to go to work for a few hours (I do a LOT of walking around at my job).

  1. I think your over-thinking the cardio thing. As long as you keep up the intensity at the gym, I highly doubt you're going to gain a lot of fat if you missed a cardio session--unless you just pig out on junk food or something like that. My advice would be to just do it when you can and when you feel like it. Don't make it a rigid "set-in-stone" type of thing. Just do it when you can.

  2. Since you're 16, take advantage of your teenage hormones and really eat a shitton of good food and lift heavy and often!! You'll be rewarded very well when you have gained 20 lbs. of muscle on your frame and not much fat at all. Just keep your food sources relatively clean (avoid candy, soda, fruit juices, chips, cookies, cake, and other highly processed foods with a lot of calories and not many nutrients for your body). If you can do this for even a few months you will be surprised how much cardio is not that big of a deal.

EDIT: Oh yeah, and don't forget to get your protein in. A good starting point would be 1.5g of protein for every kg body weight.


Yeah I think I'm gonna take advantage now man, I've really been trying to cut too much and not look at what I really need to do eh?

Yeah I think I'll do 45 minutes in the AM on an empty stomach 1-2 times and once PWO 20 minutes jog or something to finish off..

I'm doing Madcow right now, I really want to kinda follow in the footsteps of Arnold to some degree - Strength first, Bodybuilding after that. :slightly_smiling:

Thanks for that man.

Is Milk classed as clean cals?


I don't do any conventional cardio. Weight training is my cardio.


I drink a lot of milk because I like the taste, but I have a hard time recommending it because it is loaded with sugar. If you drink it, keep it in moderation.


Hmm been drinking about 3 ints a day (6cups) too much?


That's for you to decide.