T Nation

Daily Cardio & Becoming Bigger/Stronger/Leaner?

Hello all,

I have been studying many bodybuilders, watching their videos etc. I am trying to improve my education, my knowledge and look for commonalities / trends so that I can better myself and my body composition.

One curious thing I noticed was daily cardio advocated by Kai Greene, Jay Cutler, and Evan Centropani. These guys say they do 30-45mins fasted every morning, regardless of season.

I myself decided do the same exact thing, and I noticed that I got a little leaner while putting on muscle mass, in addition to improving my cardiovascular base. So that’s a positive, my two cents = cardio is good. It does lead to a bit of exhaustion early on in the day but I am typically able to fix myself by training time

But I was wondering two things

1. What do YOU all do for cardio, if any? LISS? HIIT? What speeds? What machines do you use?

For me, I incline walk on the treadmill, 3.7mph at 10% for 45mins. Do any of you guys do something similar?

2. Why is it that the go to “daily” cardio for BBers is LISS and not sprints, jogging or HIIT?

I’m a pretty young guy, and while the results have been good, it feels a little silly to be WALKING on a treadmill. I mean, I read articles on here by coaches like Jim Wendler and Christian Thibadeau talking about doing sprints, especially the latter on body composition and I feel like a pansy over here speed walking, plus it feels just plain wrong. One thing I want to make clear., I don’t consider myself a pure Bodybuilder, I don’t train like that- my goal is simply to become bigger, stronger, leaner, more athletic. But when you think of a big, strong, lean person, don’t you think of an athlete? Do athletes really walk on the treadmill?

TLDR: Should I get my ass outside and run every morning (Jogging or HIIT Sprints) if I think I can eat enough to handle it, or is LISS a better alternative for something I can do daily? What are you all thoughts? Experiences?

I do realize that yes, doing more cardio is not OPTIMAL for the art of “bodybuilding”, but that’s why I clarified I am not trying to become an IFBB Pro, I just wanna be jacked (muscle muscle muscle lol)

Even if your making a joke. Probably would not want to quote a certain individual at the moment. Since some might get the wrong idea.

Yeah,… Ronnie Coleman doing his daily walking cardio on the treadmill, Dorian Yates doing his brisk walking cardio around his neighborhood every afternoon… too bad they didn’t have access to the latest articles online, they might have done well as bodybuilders.



@swolagani for your goals, you should probably do which you prefer.

High-level bodybuilders prefer LISS for, likely, two reasons. Realize I say “likely,” because I’m not one and I don’t know any. Anyway:

  1. There is an interference effect from varied activities. Hard running absolutely will make it more difficult to maintain mass on your legs. I’ve seen this even in my own self at my own low level of development back when I could run farther than the bathroom without dying.
  2. They’re using cardio to lean out, which implies they’re dieting. The levels of body fat they diet to are no joke. I used to want to die all the time when I was wrestling, and I was probably only getting halfway there. Doing anything more than LISS is going to create deeper inroads to recovery for which they don’t have the tools at that time.

There’s probably thoughts around LISS improving recovery, but I really think being in shape is what improves recovery; LISS just takes less of a toll on the way there.

Whenever i hear people say Low Intensity Steady State vs high intensity interval training as the two options and which is better, i tune out. There is a great amount of stuff in between. You need to define what you call liss and hiit. I consider people walking on the treadmill or hanging out on the stepper wasting their time.i workout in the 120-140 hr zone. How many calories do you burn walking on the treadmill? What is your heart rate? What are you trying to accomplish?

I don’t recommend running. Something low impact on the joints is ideal. I’ve known many overweight people over the years whodid LISS cardio and are still overweight today. Walking on the treadmill reading a book, on the elliptical with their eyes closed…

I’m more in the “Stronger/Leaner” category. I do incline walks on the treadmill, ramping up by 1 mph and 1% with each lap starting as low as 3.3 mph and 3% (if morning fasted cardio because I’m old and creaky) or as high as 3.6 mph and 5% (evening cardio post jiu-jitsu training when I"m totally warmed up). My top end is about 3.9 and 9% for a couple of laps. Nothing impressive. I’ve always had weak cardio. But it’s definitely helped me lean out.

I think @jackolee was doing low intensity cardio twice a day in the final lead up to his latest physique competition. Some interesting insights in his training log.

I do both.
I mix up high intensity throughout my weight training, and keep my steady state running for ‘off days’

Probably not optimal for maximal muscle gains, but great for me

1 Like

After I smoke myself in the gym, I feel like I could eat a ton and it’ll all be muscle. I hope that wish comes true some day.

Lately, I’ve settled into higher intensity conditioning on training days. I’ve started supersetting everything a la Alpha’s training programs. I add a weight lifting MetCon or do sprints to the day, too. On my rest days, I find myself doing low intensity stuff. I feel the urge to move and burn calories but I don’t want to interfere with recovery.