T Nation

Intervals and LBM


Hey guys, wasn't quite so sure where to put this, so I thought the beginners forum would be adequate as it is a question which may have been answered before. If it's in the wrong place, just let me know, thanks.

Anyways, with that out of the way:

I was reading recently and I found an article which illustrated how intervals are far more effective for weight loss than low intensity steady state. Now, while this is far from being news to me, there was one part of the article which caught my interest, here it is:

"Long-term/Chronic effect studies are the true tests of whatever hints and clues we might get from acute studies. The results of trials carried out over several weeks have obvious advantages over shorter ones. They also afford the opportunity to measure changes in body composition, versus mere substrate use proximal to exercise. The common thread running through these trials is that when caloric expenditure during exercise is matched, negligible fat loss differences are seen. The fact relevant to bodybuilding is that high-intensity groups either gain or maintain LBM, whereas the low-intensity groups tend to lose lean mass, hence the high intensity groups experience less net losses in weight [7-9].

The body of research strongly favors high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for both fat loss and lean mass gain/maintenance, even across a broad range of study populations [9-12]. A memorable example of this is work by TremblayĆ¢??s team, observing the effect of 20 weeks of HIIT versus endurance training (ET) on young adults [9]. When energy expenditure between groups was corrected, HIIT group showed a whopping 9 times the fat loss as the ET group. In the HIIT group, biopsies showed an increase of glycolytic enzymes, as well as an increase of 3-hydroxyacyl coenzyme A dehydrogenase (HADH) activity, a marker of fat oxidation. Researchers concluded that the metabolic adaptations in muscle in response to HIIT favor the process of fat oxidation. The mechanisms for these results are still under investigation, but theyĆ¢??re centered around residual thermic and lipolytic effects mediated by enzymatic, morphologic, and beta-adrenergic adaptations in muscle. Linear/steady state comparisons of the 2 types tends to find no difference, except for better cardiovascular fitness gains in the high-intensity groups [13]."

So, according to this article, intervals are very good at sparing LBM. Do you guys agree?
Can I go crazy with intervals in a cutting cycle (not any time soon) and not stand to lose too much mass?
Opinions/Answers are appreciated, thanks



Depends who yo talk to, I guess.


Yeah I suppose so, that's partly why I asked the question. Most of the articles I've read on this site led me to believe that low-intensity fasted cardio (i.e. walking) is the best way to minimize muscle wastage. Lonnie Lowery's articles especially. Does anyone have anecdotal evidence with intervals not reducing LBM?


both are useful and better than spend your day sitting over your ass.


Did we read the same article?

Fix your diet and you will not care about loosing LBM. And also

"Put simply, cardio intensity should match your carbohydrate intake."

Take BCAA"S, MAG-10 and fix your diet.


Muscle wasting away is very much to do with a poor nutritional approach. People drop their calories far too low, and/or eat an inefficient macro-nutrient ratio.

Keep your protein intake right ->> at least 1g per lb of body weight every day spaced out evenly

Adjust carbohydrates for higher intensity days ->> EAT MORE CARBS, LESS FATS

Above all, don't raise the rep range too much on your weight training. MY rule of thumb is at least one exercise for each body part where I fail/come one short of failure exercise between 4 to 8 reps.

With that said, don't start doing crazy amounts of cardio either.