T Nation

Conditioning Vs. Cardio: Contest Prep

As of right now, I am 3 months into my “contest prep.” I have dropped from 271lbs @ 5’9" to 210lbs. My goal is to be sitting at 165lbs and around 5% bf. However, I am finding constant dread in doing cardio. I do cardio 7 days a week so that I can keep my food intake "higher."I alternate between HIIT on the bike and on the stair-master. No matter how hard I push, I just do not feel satisfied after my training. I push my HR to 85% of my max HR and still feel as if Ive accomplished nothing. Sure, i burned 700 calories, but I want to feel as if Im dying, walking out of the gym. I also find that this dissatisfaction has lead to lesser motivation in all aspects of my training.

That being said, I have thought about incorporating strong-man/circuit oriented conditioning in conjunction with my bodybuilding training. For instance, I might finish out shoulders by doing a 20-30 min circuit consisting of: 500m row, 1 bear complex (Power-Clean,front squat, thruster, back squat, thruster),and 10 hanging leg raises. Repeated w/o rest. Or after a day of deadlifts, i might do a 20 min circuit of farmer’s walks for 100 ft, 10 kbell swings, and a 25ft atlas stone carry. I know this may sound absurd to most, but something of this caliber is what I’m looking for in my training.

My question(s) is, would doing conditioning for this alloted time, 5 days a week, be more beneficial to my prep than traditional cardio? I prefer not to identify as a bodybuilder, but rather an power-builder. I thought training of this sort may also cater to my goals more than cardio.