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John M Berardi & cardio 2X Vs 1long

Ok I am willing to do 2, 30 min cardio sessions a day. But what about just doing 1, 1 hour session instead. After all, longer duration means the second 30 min I will probably burn more fat than if I waited 4 hours and started fresh right?
Or is the double cardio better because it vamps up your metabolism twice in one day insteaed of once?!

I am betting the one long session is tops (intensity VS Duration!)

John, as I understand it…and this is very basic…after 30 minutes you get into the law of diminishing returns…you can’t keep up the intensity, cortisol is rising, more muscle is being consumed. 2 30 minute sessions will probably be better for keeping the muscle level up.

This is a good debate and I dont think the answer is easily resolved. Im glad you are open minded to cardio as it really can help us out in our fat loss endeavors.

An hour of cardio will certainly burn more fat than 2 30 min sessions (during the sessions anyway). As cardio work increases in duration (around 60-60 minutes), the body relies more and more on fat for energy than for glycogen. At 30 minutes 25% of the total energy burned is from fats. At 60 minutes 36% of the energy burned is from fats. At 90 minutes 45% is from fat…and so on. Therefore more % of fat burn with more duration.

If you keep your intensity low, then you dont have to worry too much about catabolic hormones or muscle loss. After all, to get a appreciable rise in cortisol or epi/norepi youve gotta exceed about 55-60% of VO2 max. Since most bodybuilders couldnt do 60% of max for 30 min much less 1 hour (I know I cant) then I doubt the catabolic hormone theory holds any water.

In addition, during aerobic work the protein loss (which is only a small amount - maybe 10-15% of total cals burned) preferentially comes from non-contractile tissues so you're not losing muscle mass even if you burn 700 cals in 1 hour and 70 of those cals are from proteins (thats a measley 20g of protein or so, mostly BCAA, alanine and glutamine...so if you want to do the duration cardio stuff, sip a drink with some BCAA and glutamine only).

Finally, while the hour seems better for fat loss, dont forget to choose the one that youd rather do. I dont do 1 hour at a time because I like 30 min sessions better. 1 hour bores me to tears! So although 1 hour is slightly superior, Id rather do the 2 30 min sessions.

as a rule of thumb while leaning i try and only do one cardio session (45 or 60 minutes in length) on non-lifting days first thing in the morning after i have a bit of protein. on lifting days (i always lift in the morning) i do my cardio right after my workout (either 30 or 45 minutes in length). more than one cardio session on lifting days tends to flatten me out too much. in general though, i try to steer away from a second cardio session later in the day because once i get anabolic i want to stay that way. of course, staying anabolic requires insulin and burning fat is impossible in the presence of insulin. so if you want to do cardio again later in the day you have to adjust your diet accordingly to effectively eliminate the insulin in your system and allow yourself to burn fat as fuel. as i see it there is no reason to force yourself to go insulin free more than you absolutely have to. since your insulin level is already bottomed out in the morning, why not take advantage of it, burn the fat while your body is primed and return to an anabolic state right after? good news though, if you are doing the massive eating plan then the p+f meals later in the day already set you up to have very little insulin in your system, so your body is again primed for fat burning. so during massive eating 2 cardio sessions per day might work really well. also the longer the cardio session (or if you do multiple sessions per day) the lower your intensity should be. the total calorie expenditure will be less than a higher intensity session (not that much less) but a greater percentage of this will be fat. this method seems to work well for me although your mileage may vary.

To head off the inevitable questions about what is a good BCAA/glutamine only drink, I highly recommend Advanced Genetics’ Glutacene. It’s expensive, but I love the stuff and feel it helps me greatly with recovery from aerobic and anaerobic workouts.

I thought the company that makes glutacene(Advanced Genetics?) went out of business.

You know, John, your comment about what you’d rather do is probably a main reason why people do more intense cardio as opposed to longer, less intensive bouts. I personally would much rather do sprints or interval work for cardio, so if I plan my sessions for doing more intense work I’m more likely to keep up with it. I really hate doing longer, slow cardio, so that is why I avoid it, even though it probably works better. - PJ

That’s a good point. As long as people can admit that they choose different exercise routines based on preference, Ive got no beef with that. If they can readily admit that they may be doing something less than optimal and take full responsibility for it, I have full respect for that. Then when something may not be working they can either choose to make a change or choose not to. There is no delusion.

However, what really bugs me is when people try to provide a justification for their preference by twisting the science out there so that it supports what they WANT to do. It's just like the intensity vs duration debate. The duration probably wins out...but all these people twist the data to support their preferences so that they feel justified in their choice (whether its a good one or not).

But heck, people do this in all endeavors (even in the reverse context)... A fav example of mine is regarding the people with terrible diets who eat something supposedly good for them but the only reason they do it is because they like that food...they say, "Im eating healthy...see, I eat 3pcs of fruit per day"...but if they didnt like fruit, they wouldnt touch the stuff.

Ive got no time for self-congratulatory people who try to convince the world that their inherent preferences are well supported by factual reality. This is just another form of delusion.

JB wrote: “I’ve got no time for
self-congratulatory people who try to
convince the world that their inherent
preferences are well supported by factual
reality. This is just another form of
delusion.” … “But heck, people do this in
all endeavors.”

John I have to commend you on this excellent epistemological and psychological observation. This phenomenon where people twist their perceptions of reality (usually unconsciously) to make it fit their personal preferences, rather than seeing things as they actually are, is perhaps one of the most fundamental of human errors. It has implications far beyond training and nutrition ... It's too bad more scientists don't engage in more study of epistemology.

Thanks Free…great comment about scientists because they are just as freakin guilty as the rest of humanity despite the attempts and objectivity. Ive always been fascinated by human nature/the human condition. In fact as an undergrad I studied psych, philosophy, and health sciences (yep, I was an undergrad a little longer than most). And I took several great philosophy of science courses that really helped me to see thru the lip service of modern researchers once I became a grad student. But more than just academic training, Ive just always been that guy watching people in the background trying to figure out why they repeat the unsuccessful things that they always have done. And why when they ask for advice from someone like myself, they usually fail to take it. It’s as if they arent asking for advice but are asking for validation. Sorry, validation dont live here.

Yeah, after studying some philosophy of science I have been amazed at how ignorant most scientists are about the foundations of their activities. This was confirmed for me a couple of years ago when a sociologist studied scientists. In general, the scientists showed a stunning lack of introspection about how they actually worked. When asked the source of their fundamental breakthroughs in research, most chalked it up to luck, yet the sociologist showed them all the little things they did that improved the odds of their acheiving the insight, stuff whose significance the scientists themselves did not appreciate. I’m sort of hitting the other side of the issue, the tendency of scientists to misunderstand themselves even when they get it right. It’s funny how even when we get it right, we’re wrong!

John, that’s cool that you studied, philosophy
and psych. No wonder you’re a step (or two)

epistemologist: some good points also.

Hey guys, I figured after reading this post I would try for an hour on the ol’ exercise bike. As Mr. Berardi said … “I was bored to tears!” It had nothing to do with physical fitness, and I dare say nothing to do with mental fitness… I just had no desire in me to stay on that bike longer than 30 minutes. Even when I have a good book or good tape to watch. But I’m glad I tried it out.