T Nation

Diet vs. Cardio

When I first started lifting I was under the impression that fat loss was a direct result of cardio. In essence, one could have a horrible diet but perform lots of cardio and look ripped and cut. While this may be true to some degree the person who does this will most likely but a cut 160 instead of a cut 230+.

After much time on this website I have noticed a lot of articles about diets used for fat loss that have been published over the years. However, I rarley see an article on cardio.

So my question is:
Is fat loss more influenced by diet manipulation or cardio. If it is diet then what types of cardio have some of you done to accompany it.

Thanks in advance.

Do a search for “Cardio Roundtable”. There are a few articles with this title with some good information on the subject.

I go by a statement I read on here, and have read elsewhere over the years in various other places.

paraphrased–“You can’t outtrain a bad diet.”

So I would be on the side of diet as the main ingredient in fat loss. Of course, this is further aided by cardio, but your main factor will be diet.

As far as types of cardio, this would be dependent on your current situation combined with your current goals. For some interval trasining may be more effective. For others, interval training may actually be counterproductive.

Read CW’s new article: “get lean without dieting”

[quote]rrjc5488 wrote:
Read CW’s new article: “get lean without dieting”[/quote]

Good article but–

we aren’t talking about ‘dieting’ we are talking about diet. The difference is the entire basis of the discussion.

I really believe it is synergistic, but diet has more importance between the two. Personally, diet alone gets me pretty lean, but if I manipulate my energy systems work correctly, I can get even leaner. However, I have also experienced that even if my training and cardio is spot on, but my diet is shit, I don’t make the progress I’m capable of. I see girls who spend ample amounts of time doing cardio and even train with weights a little, but then they go home and eat chocolate. What’s sad is that they are perplexed as to why they aren’t losing weight or “toning up.” I think Chris Shugart said once, “It’s your diet, stupid.”

Sorry for giving you both sides of the debate, but I suppose the take-home message is that, in my personal experience, weight training and energy systems work only take an individual so far. Whether it’s leaning out, bulking, or maintaining, a healthy and CONSISTENT dietary strategy is the primary indicator of whether someone is making progress or not.


I think you can out train a bad diet, to a certain point. I know for me is impossible to get rather lean when my diet is not up to snuff. It took me a long time to realise that too. But once you think about it, look at how much time you spend eating, versus the amount of time you spend in the gym or doing cardio. We have all been told this a million times. Anyone can go to the gym 4 times a week or do some cardio in the morning, but a consistent diet day in and day out is what gets you to your goal, and gets you there much faster.

Cardio = good
good diet = better
both = the shit yo

Diet is 90% of the game.Cradio and diet both will get you cut,but cardio won’t keep lean muscle on when dieting…only a good nutrition plan will.I mix it up a little.Right now I’m cutting for summer and I do low impact cardio first thing in the morning(after having a protein shake).To me,diet is more important for fat-loss,but cardio can help you achieve your fat-loss goals much faster.It’s best to have both worlds.