T Nation

Big Boy Cardio

I am wondering what the bigger guys on this board have found to be most effective, cardio wise, for dropping fat. I know a solid diet is a must in the fat loss game. My question here is about Cardio.

Do you prefer long duration 45-60min? Shorter sessions 20-30? What frequency ? And what time of day ? Post training or totally separate from lifting? I am specifically looking for opinions of bigger guys that have cut down. Meaning you weighed over 250lbs . I am asking because after my next and last powerlifting competition in about two weeks I will be transitioning into more BB style training . With my first goal being to get down to around 15% BF from about 20%.

my ABSOLUTE best results ALWAYS come from “survival” cardio…sprinting, speed roping, or long durations of plyo work. I have never seen anything from long stays on an eliptical or treadmill. Long duration running really only helps me if its outside in the heat.

I like to throw the roping in between sets of whatever lift I’m doing

plyometrics are a finisher for me f I’m not roping on a particular day

sprinting is a whole day by itself like an off day

recently, complexes are proving beneficial as well

I believe, at least NOW, in beginning a diet with NO cardio. I think you need to establish that trend of fat loss before even putting it in. I personally haven’t even added cardio yet but dropped about 20lbs. When I do add it, it will start at about 30min of steady state cardio (using a bike or treadmill) per session about 3 days a week and go up from there until I am doing it daily.

Jumping into doing cardio daily from the very beginning is like just saying good bye to your biceps.

[quote]

Do you prefer long duration 45-60min? Shorter sessions 20-30? What frequency ? And what time of day ? Post training or totally separate from lifting? I am specifically looking for opinions of bigger guys that have cut down. Meaning you weighed over 250lbs .

I am asking because after my next and last powerlifting competition in about two weeks I will be transitioning into more BB style training . With my first goal being to get down to around 15% BF from about 20%. [/quote]

In my experience I have had the best results from steady state cardio. I started out at 295 and eventually got down to about 215 in about six months. I won’t give the credit to simply cardio however since I also lifted religiously. I ran 2-3 miles at about 70% of my MHR, which ended up lasting 20-30 min.

As with most other 250+ people, cardio such as HIIT and sprints were really hard on my joints. On the other hand I ended up getting IT band syndrome from long bouts of cardio as well.

As far as when I did my cardio; I always did it mid-morning/afternoon after I have had a couple of meals in me. I did that for the sake of not burning a bunch calories on an empty stomach.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
I believe, at least NOW, in beginning a diet with NO cardio. I think you need to establish that trend of fat loss before even putting it in. I personally haven’t even added cardio yet but dropped about 20lbs. When I do add it, it will start at about 30min of steady state cardio (using a bike or treadmill) per session about 3 days a week and go up from there until I am doing it daily.

Jumping into doing cardio daily from the very beginning is like just saying good bye to your biceps.[/quote]

Okay, if that’s you in your avatar then I’m going to hang on your every word from now on! I always like your no bullshit attitude and answers, but DAMN you a big mother fucker…

[quote]Braunbeck wrote:

[quote]Professor X wrote:
I believe, at least NOW, in beginning a diet with NO cardio. I think you need to establish that trend of fat loss before even putting it in. I personally haven’t even added cardio yet but dropped about 20lbs. When I do add it, it will start at about 30min of steady state cardio (using a bike or treadmill) per session about 3 days a week and go up from there until I am doing it daily.

Jumping into doing cardio daily from the very beginning is like just saying good bye to your biceps.[/quote]

Okay, if that’s you in your avatar then I’m going to hang on your every word from now on! I always like your no bullshit attitude and answers, but DAMN you a big mother fucker… [/quote]

And another one joins the Xmen

I’m 255 now, down from 265 about 6 weeks ago.

I’ve been walking on the treadmill for 30 mins 4 or 5 times per week, with most of it done at 10% to 15% incline. Like 2 mins at an incline, 2 mins down at 3 to 5%.

I do the stairmachine instead sometimes…only 20 mins but pushing harder for a minute and back off for a minute.

I’ve always been a fan of intervals before steady state. Obviously both will have some benefit, but like PX said, you always want to get away with as much as you can diet-wise before throwing in cardio. Any cardio can be catabolic (and require some degree of recovery) to some extent. The line often used is to include “as little as possible” while still moving towards your goal. As you’ll see (and was mentioned), the heavier individuals may not be able to take some of the pounding that can entail during difficult higher intensity sessions, possibly why so many IFBB competitors make use of steady state work, Personally, last year I found that even the eliptical machine bothered my lower back during some higher speed sprint sessions, and have since switched to the recumbent bicycle.

S

[quote]Professor X wrote:
I believe, at least NOW, in beginning a diet with NO cardio. I think you need to establish that trend of fat loss before even putting it in. I personally haven’t even added cardio yet but dropped about 20lbs. When I do add it, it will start at about 30min of steady state cardio (using a bike or treadmill) per session about 3 days a week and go up from there until I am doing it daily.

Jumping into doing cardio daily from the very beginning is like just saying good bye to your biceps.[/quote]

True. Maintenance cals and just hitting your regular routine will help you lose some poundage. Then when you hit a plateau of fat loss, cut more cals(only 100-150 every 2 weeks or so), THEN add cardio on your OFF days. Make sure maintenance cals are lower on your off days too, as you will need less carbs on the days you are not workin out.

I would second most of what Prof X said. You want to drop as much body fat as you can with a proper cutting diet then gradually add the cardio. As far as different types of cardio goes. I personally like early morning cardio best, (pre-breakfast on an empty stomach) either in the form of brisk walking or the stairmaster. Personally I find the stationary bike less effective as it removes much of the midsection from the equation but i also find it superior in leaning out the inner portion of the thighs which is the area that holds the most fat.

[quote]RommelKorps wrote:
I would second most of what Prof X said. You want to drop as much body fat as you can with a proper cutting diet then gradually add the cardio. As far as different types of cardio goes. I personally like early morning cardio best, (pre-breakfast on an empty stomach) either in the form of brisk walking or the stairmaster. Personally I find the stationary bike less effective as it removes much of the midsection from the equation but i also find it superior in leaning out the inner portion of the thighs which is the area that holds the most fat.[/quote]

Thanks for your inoffensive screen name.

I’m not huge but if I was going to do cardio, it would be incline walking.

I don’t believe bodybuilders should indugle in much cardio of any type. Fat loss should be a function of diet. Using exercise to purge calories is bulemic behavior IMO.

well… fat loss isn’t the only reason to do cardio

endurance + heart health. i’ve also heard it boosts metabolism

I echo X on the diet part of the equation. Beyond that, I mix in sprinting, complexes and skipping rope. In your case, I would also say steady state cardio if you don’t find it too boring. It works for me when I use it, but I generally find it too boring and time consuming for the time and space I have to work in and the traditional treadmill gives me shin splints over time. I also employ more intense cardio because I need to be in shape for a possible career change in the near future as well as contemplating semi-pro football, again or looking into strongman competition once things in my life get more settled, so being conditioned for that comes into play as well.

In general, I wopuld say use as many methods as you can to keep your body off balance and to provide you with more options so you don’t get bored. A whole lot of times, the key to effective cardio is finding what you like and can stick to on a consistent basis.

I used to be on the same page with what X and Stu said because when I was lighter that was what worked for me too. However, Now that I’m heavier and been dieting again (from 276-264 in ~4 weeks) I just cannot handle using the diet as the only fat loss tool, I feel like total shit if I do so. So I started doing cardio 3x/week steady state in the mornings and now I’m doing it 5-7x so I can still lose fat while eating a little extra. I do it shortly after I wake up and down 25g protein before I go to stave off some of that muscle loss.

Cardio actually makes me feel better. Gives me time to think in the mornings and wakes me up.

I agree with Stu in that high intensity type cardio would be good for many people until you get to a certain point of bigness… I think it’d be too hard on the joints at 260+.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
I believe, at least NOW, in beginning a diet with NO cardio. I think you need to establish that trend of fat loss before even putting it in. I personally haven’t even added cardio yet but dropped about 20lbs. When I do add it, it will start at about 30min of steady state cardio (using a bike or treadmill) per session about 3 days a week and go up from there until I am doing it daily.

Jumping into doing cardio daily from the very beginning is like just saying good bye to your biceps.[/quote]

That’s a good idea, it saves the person a lot of wasted time because your diet could be outweighing the amount of cardio that you’re doing. If the lifter jumps straight into plenty cardio, they may be confused as to which to alter when fat loss comes to a halt (increase cardio or decrease calories?).

But then again, it depends on your metabolism. If the person had a relatively fast metabolism (like a “former skinny boy”), then this idea probably works better. But if the person has a slow metabolism, (e.g. FFB) then there’s probably only so far they can go with calorie restriction. It wouldn’t be unusual for a person with a slow metabolism to be down as low as 1500 cals/day for them to see results…after which their only other option is to rely on cardio.

[quote]Bricknyce wrote:

[quote]RommelKorps wrote:
I would second most of what Prof X said. You want to drop as much body fat as you can with a proper cutting diet then gradually add the cardio. As far as different types of cardio goes. I personally like early morning cardio best, (pre-breakfast on an empty stomach) either in the form of brisk walking or the stairmaster. Personally I find the stationary bike less effective as it removes much of the midsection from the equation but i also find it superior in leaning out the inner portion of the thighs which is the area that holds the most fat.[/quote]

Thanks for your inoffensive screen name. [/quote]

seriously, what a prick.

[quote]Sarev0k wrote:

[quote]Bricknyce wrote:

[quote]RommelKorps wrote:
I would second most of what Prof X said. You want to drop as much body fat as you can with a proper cutting diet then gradually add the cardio. As far as different types of cardio goes. I personally like early morning cardio best, (pre-breakfast on an empty stomach) either in the form of brisk walking or the stairmaster. Personally I find the stationary bike less effective as it removes much of the midsection from the equation but i also find it superior in leaning out the inner portion of the thighs which is the area that holds the most fat.[/quote]

Thanks for your inoffensive screen name. [/quote]

seriously, what a prick.[/quote]

Nothing wrong with Rommel he was a great general and part of the conspiracy against Hilter.
/Hijack

When doing Steady State Cardio how hard do you guys make it?