T Nation

Cardio? or No Cardio?

Before anyone gives me the “Go do a search” number. I have done a search on this topic.

I read a lot about this. Some say cardio helps in fat loss, others say just weight training and diet is the key to the fat loss.

So, can I get some GOOD responses from this please!!

I think it’s pretty accepted that cardio aids in fat loss. Doing cardio burns more than sitting on your fat ass./

I copied and pasted this from a post of mine from a different thread because I’m too lazy at the moment to retype it:

"I may get flamed for this, but unless you care about absoloutly nothing else in your life other than size, I see cardio, aerobics, energy system work or whatever you choose to call it as an essential component of training. Unless you have a definite health issue preventing you from doing it, which is unlikely if you can weight train at anything approaching meaningful intensity, only good can come from a sensible, intelligent cardio program.

It’s beneficial to your entire cardio vascular system, prevents artereosclerosis, increases insulin sensitivity, just plain makes you feel better and will give you better wind under the weights as well. Not even counting that it burns fat.

It’s NO fun, but tough shit, I do it anyway. 3 times a week (sometimes 4 if especially ambitious) I jump on the stationary bike for 6 or 7 minutes to loosen up and run to the park at the end of my street and go around 3 times. About 2.2 miles and 25 or so minutes total including the bike. I go hard enough to be uncomfortable, but not so hard that I’m gasping for breath. I feel great afterwards. Eventually I’ll give HIIT a try.

Until some earth shattering study proves me wrong nobody’s convincing me I’m doing myself anything, but good. I want to be around long enough to see my grand children and moderate cardio like I’ve desribed undoubtedly contributes to my well being."

If you want good responses only, I’d recommend asking this in one of the author’s locker rooms. Maybe ask a couple different ones.

I don’t think doing cardio intelligently will really prevent muscle gains, and will probably help in some way.

Or you could just go with what Tiribulus said.

Do your cardio. Just don’t jog.

[quote]SWR-1240 wrote:
Or you could just go with what Tiribulus said.[/quote]

There’s nothing uniquely “Tiribulean” here. It’s just a balanced, middle of the road approach that I’m sure plenty of other guys follow as well.

We have 6 foot 2 inch noobs here weighing all of 185 doing an hour of cardio 6 days a week and other guys who act like if they put on a pair of running shoes they’d lose a pound of muscle a minute until they took em off.

Cardio is good for anybody who can safely do it, period. Used wisely it’s a useful tool. Of course weight training, especially using certain methods of weight training will also stoke the metabolism thus making the continued storage of fat more difficult as well, but cardio is cheap and effective so I do it.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Do your cardio. Just don’t jog.[/quote]

Why? I’m not saying there aren’t some legitimate reasons in some cases, depending on how you define jog, but what are yours?

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
SWR-1240 wrote:
Or you could just go with what Tiribulus said.

There’s nothing uniquely “Tiribulean” here. It’s just a balanced, middle of the road approach that I’m sure plenty of other guys follow as well.

We have 6 foot 2 inch noobs here weighing all of 185 doing an hour of cardio 6 days a week and other guys who act like if they put on a pair of running shoes they’d lose a pound of muscle a minute until they took em off.

Cardio is good for anybody who can safely do it, period. Used wisely it’s a useful tool. Of course weight training, especially using certain methods of weight training will also stoke the metabolism thus making the continued storage of fat more difficult as well, but cardio is cheap and effective so I do it.[/quote]

Some people take that to mean more is better. Cardio is CATABOLIC. When dieting, it should not be overdone or else you will lose muscle tissue, especially if your diet isn’t in order. I think most people would be better off making sure they are seeing results from their food intake alone before they ever add cardio in as a supplement to their training. From that point they can slowly add it in.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
Do your cardio. Just don’t jog.

Why? I’m not saying there aren’t some legitimate reasons in some cases, depending on how you define jog, but what are yours?[/quote]

I think sprints are great. I think long term non stop running is evil like that kid from The Omen.

Using the excuse that cardio would eat away at my muscle was my convinient excuse for not doing it when I should have been, and that’s how I got to over 25% fat.

[quote]SWR-1240 wrote:
Using the excuse that cardio would eat away at my muscle was my convinient excuse for not doing it when I should have been, and that’s how I got to over 25% fat.

[/quote]

No, you got to over 25% because of HOW YOU ATE. Cardio alone doesn’t prevent people from getting fat. The fattest people I see (along with some of the skinniest for some reason) are always on the treadmills.

[quote]SWR-1240 wrote:
Using the excuse that cardio would eat away at my muscle was my convinient excuse for not doing it when I should have been, and that’s how I got to over 25% fat.

[/quote]

Correction, that wasn’t the only reason I got to over 25% fat, but I believe it had a lot to do with it.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
I think sprints are great. I think long term non stop running is evil like that kid from The Omen.[/quote]

You really think an hour and a half a week split three ways is enough to make an appreciable dent in your gains? I’m guessing that’s what you’re talking about. I view it as a weapon in the fight against aging and for overall health. Burning fat is just one thing on the list of benefits.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
SWR-1240 wrote:
Using the excuse that cardio would eat away at my muscle was my convinient excuse for not doing it when I should have been, and that’s how I got to over 25% fat.

No, you got to over 25% because of HOW YOU ATE. Cardio alone doesn’t prevent people from getting fat. The fattest people I see (along with some of the skinniest for some reason) are always on the treadmills.[/quote]

You beat me too it.

I don’t believe in doing the same boring cardio day in and day out. I think it can be easy for one’s body to get used to, and should have progression to it.

I also like interval cardio better than steady state cardio, but use light cardio (uphill walking on treadmill) when coming off of a highly restricted diet (like the Velocity diet), or when lifting relatively very heavy so you’re not over-taxing your central nervous system with the intensity of the intervals.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
You really think an hour and a half a week split three ways is enough to make an appreciable dent in your gains? [/quote]

I think that depends on several factors like metabolism and goals. I am doing cardio regularly now because I have a goal to reach by Christmas for specific reasons. I’ll be getting another 30min in tonight added onto what I did this morning. I may keep it in maybe twice a week from this point on even after I get there. However, I know that as a kid in high school, it would have held me back (I was active enough). There is no blanket statement for everyone and each case should be looked at individually.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
Do your cardio. Just don’t jog.

Why? I’m not saying there aren’t some legitimate reasons in some cases, depending on how you define jog, but what are yours?[/quote]

Inefficient for fat loss, detrimental to muscle gain and too hard on the knees for the minimal benefit…

Run or walk don’t jog. Or bike, row, etc.

A lot of this based on my experiences doing things like weight training and doing lots of cardio type activities. Also, it is based on the book Advanced Sports Nutrition by Dan Benardot.

From the book, when you do long session of cardio, if you don’t take any nutrients in to match the calories you are burning, your body will burn both fat and muscle as fuel.

From my experience, if you do a lot of cardio, and don’t weight train, you will lose muscle at a much faster rate then in you do weight train. Keep it up for for a while and you will be skinny fat like me.

From the book, if you do take in carbs while doing cardio, your body will burn less muscle. Thus the main protector of muscle during exercise is carbs, not protein.

From my experience, doing cardio to burn fat does not work well since you end up burning muscle also. If you already lift a lot of weights then you don’t need to do cardio to burn calories. After all, why eat, eat, eat for muscle building and then do cardio to burn calories?

Cardio to keep the cardio vascular system healthy may (probably) has benefits for health outside of weight loss. That is, getting on a stationary bike and breathing harder than normal is probably a healthy thing to do.

There are studies that show that sprinting (which is an anaerobic exercise) greatly improves the aerobic system. At the same time it may not hurt much, or even help, muscle growth. Thus look at sprinters who are packed with muscles and long distance runners who have no muscle.

The book Sprint 8 talks about this a lot.

Since I would like to build some muscle while also staying in good cardio shape, I now do sprints on a bicycle. Try sprinting on a stationary bike for 30 seconds going as fast as you can. Then rest as long as you want before doing it again. See how many you can do. Just make sure there is a couch nearby. Studies show a huge benefit from doing just four intervals.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
I think that depends on several factors like metabolism and goals. I am doing cardio regularly now because I have a goal to reach by Christmas for specific reasons. I’ll be getting another 30min in tonight added onto what I did this morning. I may keep it in maybe twice a week from this point on even after I get there. However, I know that as a kid in high school, it would have held me back (I was active enough). There is no blanket statement for everyone and each case should be looked at individually.[/quote]

I guess I was looking at it too narrowly from my own point of view. I see your point about age. If you’re young and active already it may push beyond what’s optimal for making gains at an age where for most trainees (I emphasize trainees) fat and overall health isn’t much of a concern.

Being on the north side of forty and a type 2 diabetic who eats around 4000 calories a day, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

What kind do you do? Also, if you don’t mind my asking, how old are you? To extrapolate from your posts I’d guess early thirties somewhere.

I lost serious fat with cardio and improved my looks and athletic performance. Not everyone will lose weight well with just weights or just dieting. I was doing both with poor results. I added cardio 3X week and my body comp improved fast and stayed improved for a long time. Even after I quit the cardio, It took a long time (7-12 months) for me to start getting belly fat again. I have bulked and will restart cardio soon. I preferred a slower pace cardio. It seemed to stimulate my appetitie much less than HIIT and sprints. Plus it’s way easier. It takes a little more time/frequency, but if it stims your appetite and you have low discipline like I did, then I would reccomend slower work.