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Cardio For Fat Loss


Hi, I have been watching a few discussions on other boards about which type of cardio is best for maximum fat loss and maximum muscle preservation. Wondering what ya'll think.

Empty tank V Full

Carbs V no Carbs

HIIT V slow walking

45 mins to an hour V 15v mins ECT...

I remeber when T-mag first came out there was an article that dealt with cardio as being really bad for fat loss, I am sure this was cutting edge at the time but whats the new thinking?

Looking for all opinions, thanks.


If it looks / feels like you are training for an endurance event it is not good for muscle preservation.

Simply put... it should be training that you'd never see a XC runner doing.

For me I have always lost fat doing HIIT stuff. This also comes with understanding that even walking at a brisk pace I can barely get my HR to 80BPM.


One last time:

Fat loss is about diet!

WITH a solid diet a smart cardio/weight program can dramatically reduce time needed for fat loss.

WITHOUT a solid diet you can live and breath working out and not make significant progress in fat loss.

That said--shorter, more intense cardio will tend to help maximize muscle retention. It doesn't hurt though to add in one or two longer--slower sessions in to your routine. Mix and mingle in different durations with differing intensities to help fight overuse and to aid in boredom relief.

Eat smart


This is it. 95 percent of fat loss is diet. As for cardio, shorter interval training preserves more muscle than the alternates.


Proper calorie intake and the proper percentage of protein-carbohydrates-fat per meal is key for energy utilization, perservation, and recovery.

As with resistance training, variuos cardiovascular traing methods need periodization. An example:

  1. Day One- 45 minutes @ 70%PMHR
  2. Day Two- 30 minutes @ 80% PMHR
  3. Day Three- 20 minutes @90% PMHR or
    10-15 minutes sprint or SAQ work
    before lifting weights.


You said it right here...

I am simply asking what you guys consider in your own words..."Smart cardio"


If you are doing cardio without a heart rate monitor, you are shooting into the dark. Also, an HRM that rates performance and stores data is crucial to quantify gains and determine if your cardio routine is effective. My HRM perscribes routines based on past perfomance and fitness goals. I believe to build strong muscles, the strongest one has to be the one inside your chest. Remember, your heart is only about the size of your fist and supports blood to the entire body. If you are eating properly combined with the proper cardio, you should not sacrafice much, if any, mass. And because of your superior cardio fitness, you'll be able to lift harder.


"Smart cardio..." was part of my equation in this case. What I meant was there is no one perfect way to do cardio or lift weights, BUT if your goal is fat loss you would benefit by doing various levels of cardio for varying lengths of time combined with a smart weight program.

I could sit here and devise a program for you as could alot of guys on this site. You could save us the trouble, and benefit more, if you were to take it upon yourself to go through the archives and read all pertinent articles
about fat loss.

You can't go hard all the time, even though this may be the most time efficient way to achieve your goal. An injury or overtrainiong symptoms would halt all progress. By periodizing your workouts, while still keeping your goal in mind, you will benefit more with less risk along the way.


Easy there turbo, I was just trying to make conversation, as I am not a newby fat college kid looking for an easy way out. I just like hearing differing opinions on this, and what some of the new thoughts were.

Oh and BTW doing a search on this site will eventually yield that article from along time ago by NM, that I think everyone knows these days was way of track.


How can people quanitfy how much of a percentage, of nutrition can be attributed to fat loss? If fat loss is 95% diet or even 80% diet, that would mean that I could sit around the house and eat healthy. Then I could lose fat, or 8 lbs of fat, compared to the 10 lbs of fat I could lose with exercise. Maybe I'm wrong, but that just doesn't make sense to me. I understand the importance of nutrition, but how do you come up with a percentage?


My answer was not assuming you were any such bodytype. My reference to reading the articles was purely the different and deeper cognitive value of reading a full article over me saying this is so.

If you sit around long enough almost all of what we know now about cardio/weightloss/weighttraining...etc..
will be disputed. Just get out and do what you can with what you know now.


I don't think it's so much an exact percentage--80-95% simply means it carries a great deal of importance. I'm also quite sure that --within some range--this would very by individual.

I will stand by the assertion though that diet will affect bodyfat more significantly than exercise amount given the cvast majority of the population. And this will become even more crucial as you near your desired weight.


I believe the point they're trying to get across is that all the cardio in the world wouldn't help someone eating McDonald's 2 for 2 Big Macs (do they even still have that?) for every meal. However, someone changing only their diet can positively change their bodies composition. Of course, everyone knows the best (and fastest) results are attained by doing both. The percentage was probably just used because people respond better to concrete things like numbers than abstract thoughts like "eat healthier and do what you can for excersise."


I agree that diet is very important. I guess it just annoys me when people come up with a number like that from nowhere. Like giving 110% percent, which we all know is impossible.



During a VO2 Max test... one of the ratios shows that you are actually processing 110% of what is avaiable. This actually can go up to 120%. I believe it is O2 in the O2:CO2 at the point of maximal oxygen uptake. This is because excess stored oxygen is being released from the skeletal muscle. So in a sense you are actually giving 110%.


Circuit style weights seems to have as much credentials as any. Check out Staley's EDT for body composition or John Davies' Fat to the Fire series.


I was talking about effort, not physiological functions.
(End of thread hijack)


to answer your question, in my opinion jumping rope is a fantastic choice for fat loss. most people do not go this route or stick with it because it's to damn tough, but those who do it on a regular basis are in great shape and will swear to the positive effect's this form of cardio has on them. remember, it is not easy to jump rope for an extended period of time, try it you will see.


The 'smartest' cardio is simply the one I will do! I am a power athlete by nature, so endurance work is always difficult and less pleasurable for me. So, I enjoy the higher intesity work of sprints, etc.

Howerver, as others have mentioned, like any effort it needs to be rotated. Right now, I am in the gym 3-4 days a week. I will normally due my high intensity cardio work on the same day. Sometimes I take 8 hours between, other times I dont. Depending on what I am working. Sprints followed by hard deadlifts is rough!

Then, on the off days I will rotate in slower cardio (normally long walks) so that i am not tapping into my recovery ability to much. I have tried it the other way where I sprint on the off days, but for me it seems I am always tapping the same energy system in my weights and cardio and not giving any period for rest.

Sometimes, what I find effective is to do multiple moderate sessions through the day, like 15-20 mins of slow-moderate rope skipping in the AM, followed by 15-20 mins of walking/light calisthentics in the PM.


I've started throwing in a Meltdown training day into my week, doing light cardio after my weightlifting workouts. I'm loving it so far. The 2 mile jog after weightlifting is perfect in length, and the Meltdown is just awesome. The endorphins that kick in after you finish are mindblowing. Look up Don Alessi, I believe he wrote the Meltdown Training article.