T Nation

Drop Calories or Continue Cardio?


Okay.....here's my question, I've been taking in about 2200 calories while on a carb cycling approach, and doing 20 minutes of HIIT in addition to all my training. I've been steadily losing 1 lb a week, with hardly any strength loss, lookin lean and mean, everything is going well.

But my question is, if I drop another 200 calories, to just 2,000, should I continue to do the cardio? Or do you guys think I'd start wasting my muscle away? Any thoughts?


I would only change one variable at a time to see what happens. Drop your cals if you prefer and see if your strength drops as well. If you feel the cardio is interfering with you, drop that. You can always keep your cals the same and add more cardio. Just a thought.


From experience I think calories is the way to go. Exercise, especially HIIT, is very stressful on the body when on a low carb calorie deficiet. It's tempting to increase activity level when losses slow but increasing HIIT could be counter-productive. I'm on a CKD and I have now slowed to 1lbs loss a week so I know how it feels.
I'm trying to shave off another 100-150 calories per day and increase my walking. But my weight sessions, including 2xlactate sessions per week, will be the max.


Drop calories. If you must, drop fat and compensate with protein. HIIT really requires carbs so if you continue those sessions with your lifting, you'll need the carbs!

The most muscle sparing macronutrient is protein son! What's your macro breakdown?


One of the most forgotten facts of body physiology.


well...here's the thing, I'm taking in 2200 calories, and following Shelby Starnes and Justin Harris's carb cycling lay out. I was thinking of droping the calories, just 200, which is a serving of peanut butter, which won't be missed that much, cuz I throw it in a blender with my Metabolic Drive, so that's an easy option. I could add a little bit more cardio, but who the hell wants to do that? HAHA.

My training is intense enough that I don't really wanna do anymore. Yeah Phatkins I agree, I need the carbs after the HIIT, because that's a mistake I've made in the past, doings tons of HIIT and not having enough post workout nutrition and my muscle went "bye bye". I think this week I'm just gonna keep everything exactly the same, but cut out the calories.


why are you worried about calories, shouldn't the emphasis with shelbys carb cycling be the macro's not the cals?


if you're dropping a pound a week why change anything?


Most people include cardio either just to Eat More OR have a larger deficit. Its not Compulsory, but has lots of benefits (like of course. Eating more).

I understand the need to take action, but when you hit a wall rather than "not losing enough fat". Doing too much too soon, is what alot of people do and it is truly horrible when you are at the point down the road where you say "mmm Increase cardio to 4 hours a week now. OR drop cals to 1500".

Also, when doing a carb cycle, you are measuring on the same day each week right? One of my idiot friends actually measured on the High Day, And the day After the high day (When there is obviously still quite alot of water retention), then denounced carb cycling forever. I smacked him with a slice of whole wheat toast of course.


Try keeping cals the same, just eat 200 more cals right after workout, especially protein.


Add exercise as much you can before subtracting calories. IMO


Why am I counting calories? (All sarcasm aside, seriously) To quote the old saying, "do what works best for you" I've found that 2200 has been a good sweet spot, and carb cycling has worked the best for me in terms of losing fat, staying lean and muscular, staying strong, and feeling great. So I guess that's the answer there.

Tayjeremy....Yeah, I guess that is true, I haven't hit a wall at all really, I've been checking my weight continually every wednesday morning after a medium day, and I've gone from 200 to 195 steadily. I just got the idea in my head that maybe if I dropped another 200 calories and kept everything the same, than I'd speed up the process, but in reality, I think my decision will be keep everything the god damn say way it is, maybe replace 100 calories from fat with 100 cals of protein. See how that works.


Any type of dieting will require tracking calories (be it low fat, low carb, carb-cycling).