T Nation

Getting Lean

My question has to do with getting lean for a bodybuilding competition:
I have been competing on and off over the last 10 years and one of the reasons I still pursue it is that challenge to get better each time, Maybe one of my downfalls is that I try something new, even if it is small each time, but until I come in full and shredded (naturally) I will not be satisfied. I recently helped a bodybuilder for his first show and a strange thing happened, he got it in his head that he would not do any cardio and he would just lean out with diet and 2 hours a day split into 2 sessions of weights. I told him we would monitor his bodyfat every 2 weeks and when he stopped losing fat he would start cardio (this was my way for him to start cardio). He never stopped losing fat and preserved a great deal of muscle. On a side note for his first show he looked better than I have ever looked.
My questions are:
Is cardio overrated or is it a must?
Are genetics the key to getting lean whether there is cardio or not?
Will cardio make you look smaller?
Will different variations of cardio have different outcomes?
Can diet be the only factor?
Do you think drugs in bodybuilding have made this protocol because they preserve muscle while dieting?
30 years ago when drugs weren?t so prevalent they didn?t do cardio, on the flip side they also weren?t as lean.
For the million dollar question:
Is GPP work the answer for a natural bodybuilder to spare muscle while dieting?

It would be great to have some different views from some experienced bodybuilders.

Thanks, Thad

 I'm not the most experienced competitive bodybuilder (2 natural shows last summer) I am getting ready for a show in the middle of June and have two very experienced body builders helping me plan out my cutting. They are wanting me to not do any cardio and just use diet to manipulate fat to help keep all the muscle mass possible. 
 They did say that if I get a couple weeks out and need a little more leanness to throw in some cardio but to use it as a final tool to get totally shredded and not through the entire cutting process.

While i am not a competitve bodybuilder I have dieted down numerous times before. I find that cardio, while effective in helping me lose weight, makes me look flat a depleted. I throw it in here and there if i feel like i have hit a wall in terms of a change in body comp but other than that i rely on my diet to get me lean. Last fall i managed to get down to about 5% BF with minimal cardio. Everything had cuts and striaitions. I even had veins in my abs. It wasn’t too much fun though and i don’t think I want to do that again. Im happy at the 8-10% i walk around with.

[quote]Thad wrote:
…2 hours a day split into 2 sessions of weights.[/quote]

I find this quite interesting.

How hard, intensity-wise, where those 2 1-hour sessions? And where they full-body training?

I plan to start cutting in april, and I really hate cardio. I was thinking of trying something similar, but I am wondering what would be the best way to burn a lot of calorie while preserving as much muscle mass as possible AND not overtraining.

My current plan was to do a few maximal sets (3x3 maybe) for each bodypart twice a week; and make the rest of the workouts higher rep, lower weigth and never go to failure. Also integrate some GPP like burpees with dumbells, squats thrusts, and similar full-body movements.

His training was very instinctive but basically it broke down like this:
approx 1 hr twice a day
1 to 2 bodyparts
6-10 reps
45sec to 75 sec rest between sets
A very intense guy, after a short warm up he went hard all the way through.
He is a former gymnyst with a great work ethic and very strong, the weights were definitly heavy for most people in those rep ranges.
I’m not saying that this is for everyone, I know he has great genetics and everyones body acts differently.
This is cool to get allot of different experiances from T-People who have dieted down. I would like to see what CT says.

Later, -T

I saw this guy yesterday, he is 5 weeks out from his next show and he is in the 5% range and again with no cardio. I know he is out of the norm but I would really like some more feedback on this method. ( refer back to the original thread) Where’s CT on this??

Thanks, -T