T Nation

How much cardio?

Say, hypothetically, that one’s goal was to get ripped. Say, also hypothetically, that that person does not have an aversion to doing 30min cardio every day. Would that imaginary friend of mine benefit from such an amount of cardio? Keeping the cardio separated from the resistance training, of course.


Now, say that anything over 30min cardio -at a time- catabolizes one’s muscle. How about if that person performed 30min cardio at 70% MHR (eg. jogging) in the AM and 20min HIIT cardio (eg. sprint intervals) in the PM, possibly after the strength routine?

This keeps the two cardio sessions at a large distance from one another as well as mixing up the 70%/HIIT. Would this work or would it lead to muscle wasting?

Harkonnen, whatever you do, DON’T do that!! A few years ago I was as determined to rip myself to shreds as you seem to be. To make a long story short, an insane regimen of excessive cardio and weight-training took its toll and I was sick as hell for a month and a half! I learned my lesson the hard way. A couple of years later, I got myself into the best shape of my life without any cardio at all. I know you want results badly, and I know you’re impatient judging by some of your other posts on this forum. Honestly, I don’t think you want to go that route.

Yikes! Thanks for the warning, Chris. The panic induced by your response triggered a memory: I remember three years ago when I was doing two freaking hours of cardio (every day!), preceded by some lame full-body resistance training (again, every day!). I was doing this for like a month or two, and although I got lighter, and lost some gut fat, I don’t remember looking any more defined for all my efforts.

I believe it’s individual, what you’re on, and your nutrition. Right now, I’m doing 5X5 3 days a week, HIIT 3 days a week, 3 days of 20 min cardio (70 %) and 3 days of 30 min cardio (70%). I’m also on methoxy, T-2, and MD-6, and have my calories set at 2000. I’ve noticed no muscle wasting, and I’ve also noticed my arms look much bigger. I feel cardio is more of an individual thing,a nd if you like to do it, it can be helpful to shed the fat.

Harkonnen, as mentioned, you may want to give 5x5 training a shot. Generally speaking, strength training, for reasons beyond the scope of this post, will allow for the retention of LBM to a much greater degree than hypertrophy training, endurance training, etc.

On a personal note, I have noticed that a four-day split has been the most effective in getting my to 6% along with three day of cardio per week.

As far as cardio, I would suggest performing the HIIT sessions in the morning, on an empty stomach, as this will increase daily caloric expenditure, etc.

Also, in terms of getting very lean, some supplements may help. If you add in something that will help prevent catabolism, such as Methoxy-7, 4AD, etc. then you can create a much more severe negative energy balance without losing muscle; in which case you would shed more fat. It's something to consider.

Hope this helps.

So wait, what you seem to be saying is that you’re doing NINE cardio sessions/week? 3 HIIT, 3x20min 70%MHR, 3x30min 70%MHR. I will attempt to increase my cardio; it’s definitely something to consider. Right now I’m doing like 2x20min a week, which isn’t good enough, IMHO.

This is what I had in mind, starting next week. Low carb, moderate calorie diet. RR&D (5x5) MWF. On Tu,Th,Sa I would do 20min HIIT in the AM (possibly skipping rope), and 30min at 70%MHR in the PM. This would mean 3 resistance sessions and 6 cardio sessions/week.