T Nation

Lonnie Lowery's Article

Lonnie, thanks for the honorable mention in this week’s article. No T-Man or -Vixen worth their salt should have a dog that isn’t as cardiovascularly fit as they are. LOL!

I do have to tell you that I enjoyed this week’s article, especially since you put into words so articulately information that I’ve only just recently figured out! I’ve been dieting and manipulating body comp for the past two years. And it’s taken all this time for me to come to the conclusions you have re the cardio; i.e., that maintaining activity levels is important, but that hours of cardio (especially at higher intensities) can work against the acquistion of LBM.

For the last few months I’ve been testing a high-low carb cycling approach to dieting that involves NO cardio. Much to my surprise, I’ve actually put on a few more pounds of LBM while dropping my BF%. Does life get any better?!?!? (Very big grin)

A year ago you couldn’t have talked me out of my cardio because I was convinced the cardio I did was critical to my achieving my body comp goals. In addition to my daily 45-minute cardio session, I was doing resistance training 4 times a week @ 1 hour per workout. That was a 9.25 hour investment per week. Currently I’m only working out 40 minutes 3.5 times per week (2 hours and 20 minutes per week). Workouts are intense, but effective (EDT).

I still believe cardio has its place and that cardiovascular fitness is a part of vibrant health, however, more than ever, I believe that achieving our body comp goals involves a DIALED IN DIET and working smarter, not harder or longer.

Thanks for a great article and great insights!!! Wish I had listened to you a couple of years ago. (grin)

Thanks for the kind words, Terry.

Although I agree completely about the health aspects of aerobic training (how could anyone not?) I too have cut it recently specific to body comp purposes.

For a long while now, I have been doing four 60 min. gym sessions weekly with about a third (20-25 min.) as T-mill or bike between my warm-up and post-weights “fat burning”.

I now lift FIVE days weekly (40 min. each), like the VERY OLD days, with zero gym-time cardio. I love it. I have no measurments to prove it except that I weigh no more after many weeks doing this, I am fuller and more muscular and LOVE reaching directly for the iron as I walk into the gym… not to mention LEAVING when the weight work is done!

That’s a drop from 240 minutes total gym time per week to 200 min. - but an INCREASE in time spent “under the weights” of 40 minutes weekly (it was about 160).

…now I’ll make myself a bit of a liar…

I also casually walk to the coffee shop four times per week (20-25 min. each way with my laptop) to write T-Nation stuff. I acknowledge that it’s aerobic exercise but I could easily do it every day with little impact on my lifting. I can’t say that of my former gym-time “cardio”. Hence, it’s hard to call it “cardio” and I sure as heck feel no stress response from it.

…Just some personal observations on this lovely midnight computer session…


I had to chime in here also.

I having recently made some changes in my diet and cardio for a bit of a change with great results.

Loved the article LL and it helped add some solidity to my findings as of late.

Do to a recent ankle injury I began doing weighted walking for 45mins a day instead of my usual moderate and HIIT cardio sessions. I found while not exactly cardio work it is great @ burning off some fat and saves my F’d up knees and ankles (do to childhood accident)It is actually a little relaxing mentally also, and seems to be more anabolic than catabolic. Just load up a back pack (not fortunate enough to have an X Vest) and go.

Then over the past month during this bulk I have made the addition of adding a 1/2 serving of LC Grow before the walk, instead of completely fasted state. I have found that I can still burn the fat, while preserving/adding LBM.

Furthermore it has aided in faster recovery from my w/o’s . The walking really pumping the blood to the legs. You can target different areas by simply adjusting your step and posture during the session, You may look a little silly though. I also use the time to stretch my upper body.

The only negative I have found is the stares. LOL “Look at the freak in the Test. T-shirt and iron plates in a back pack walking like a duck, what the hell” But who gives a #$%^. If it works do it.


Hi TT,

Could you give more detail re the carb- cycling please? I am starting something based broadly on T-Dawg 2.0 but with more attention paid to the size and frequency of refeeds. I am hoping to manipulate leptin levels in an effort to avoid bodyfat plateaus. Is that similar to the carb-cycling you’re trying?


Will-of-Iron, it’s a huge topic, one I’ve been studying and testing for a few months, now, with great success. CC (Carb Cycling) can be used when bulking or cutting, and is one of the few diets I’ve tested that increases the odds that you can put on (a little) LBM while dropping BF.

There are 3 types of days 1) Virtually-No-Carb (VNC) days, 2) Low-Carb (LC) days, and 3) High-Carb days.

VNC = 20-30g carbs per day
LC = 1g x TBW per day
HC = 2g - 4g x TBW per day

Protein and fat stay constant from day to day. You’d be safe to use 1.5g x LBM for protein and .4g x LBM for fat.

The manipulation lies in how you cycle. And how you cycle depends on your workout schedule.

Rules are that there are never 2 VNC days in a row, nor are there 2 HC days in a row. Additional “rules” are that you only work out on LC or HC days, never on a VNC day.

The approach does not incorporate cheat meals or refeeds, but it’s not needed because the HC days do what a refeed would do for you.

Finally, carb choices are from quality/clean sources; oatmeal, brown rice, oatmeal, green veggies.

Those are some of the highlights. My recommendation if you want to discuss this in more detail is that you start a CC thread. Let me know if you do, and I’ll stop on by.

As you know I’m working out with a powerlifter. I told him it has been my experience that by lifting weights my body losses fat much better than if I do cardio.

I knew this to be true for myself but it flys in the face of the conventional wisdom of most PT’s.

I asked him if I should start doing cardio to increase my fat loss. Here’s what he said. This is based on what Dr. Yessis and Yosef told him. He said if I wanted to do cardio I should only do it for 5 minutes. He said do 10 yard sprints until I can’t breath any more!

The reason was if I did them more than this my strength would drop dramatically. He says he doesn’t do cardio, although if you looked at him he’s built like a sprinter. He’s cut and dense.

He has his nutrition dialed in too. He trys to eat 8 meals a day. He doesn’t take any supplements except vitamins. His preworkout carbs comes from nature’s candy bar, the banana.

He can’t take pro hormones, steroids, or things like Tribex because of the drug testing of his powerlifting organization the WDFPF. He’s says that they randomly will walk into the gym and take blood and urine samples. Plus given that he has 3 world records, it would DQ him for life in that federation.

So it seems to get more and more conclusive that cardio zaps strength and isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

But when you are deadlifting at 30 reps, that’s probably the best cardio I’ve ever done. I’m sure my heart rate is right up there.


Thanks TT.

Stupid question TT, does TBW stand for total body weight?

I have a great deal of respect for Lonnie and T-Terry. My feeling though, is that through some version of HIIT, say every other day, one’s cardiac performance, resting heart rate and capacity for lifting, particularly circuit lifting, would all be significantly better. True, the LBM would decrease some but I think the benefits of true “rib-expanding, hard-effort” cardio (say, hill running) would overcome any 5 lb. loss of muscle. Maybe a circuit of repeat deads, squats, benches and rows done with a 30 sec. rest would equivicate to a strong cardio session. I have a feeling most people like to eliminate hard cardio because its difficult systemically, just like the compound lifts like deads&squats. That’s NOT your attitudes, I realize…but just a general observation.

FNF, I’m one of those people who believe that there’s no such thing as a stupid question! (grin)

Yes, sorry, TBW = Total Body Weight

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask!!

Scipio, the beauty of manipulating body comp is that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Not only do different approaches work, we’re all biochemically and physiologically unique and respond better (or worse) to different approaches.

HIIT burns some serious fat and calories for hours after HIIT was conducted. It’s highly anabolic, too.

I proably shouldn’t be speaking for LL, but I’m sure he limits his carb intake and prefers to save glycogen stores for working out/resistance training.

My situation is that there have been times in my life that the time I put into working out (cardio & weights) equaled a part-time job. Most people have families, jobs, social obligations and other responsibilities and can’t figure out how to fit in the hours and hours I’ve spent working out into their already overbooked schedule. So what I did was experiment to see how little I could do yet still get the results I wanted.

My personal beliefs are not that different from yours. I feel cardio is a useful tool when it comes to managing/manipulating body comp and reducing BF. I also feel HIIT plays an important role in cardiovascular fitness and that cardiovascular fitness should not be ignored or neglected.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject!!! That’s what T-mag is all about.

Thanks TT for the insight…yes, time is a factor for me as well. As an older athlete (53 now) I really enjoy the strength that weights have given me. I will continue to think that upping my bpms to the 150-165 range will help my heart strength as I get older…thx.

I have always included cardio via low-intensity longer duration as well as HIIT in my cutting cycles with decent results. Prior to the start of my recent cutting cycle (eight weeks ago) I suffered a badly pulled groin muscle which prevented me from doing any cardio whatsoever. I had to do it with only weights, caloric restriction and a thermogenic.

To my surprise, I achieved a 6 mm. ab skinfold (down from 16 mm. in seven weeks). My last cut over the holidays included a tremendous amt. of cardio and a three-week Cheater’s Diet/EDT cycle, and I only made it down to 8 mm. Basically I’ve been doing 1.5 g. protein/lb bw, 5-6 meals daily with carbs anywhere from 50-150 g. and the Eight Keys program from Dave Tate. Supplements include EC, fish oils, flax, protein powder and C, E, and selenium. Carbs come from green veggies, mixed beans, oatmeal/oat bran and dextrose post-workout. This is by far the best cut I’ve ever achieved…the last time my ab skinfold got down to 6 mm. I was 153. This go-round I am 162…yes I know I’m a runt!!!

Anyway my point is that cardio helps but like Don Alessi said a while ago, many use it as a crutch. Follow a solid baseline diet and get a good training program and you’re money.

Forgot one supplement…ALA and R-ALA.

Monty, that is so cool!!! Congrats on the fabulous results; your best ever.

Boy, as long as we’ve been playing the game, and we’re still figuring things out. I think that’s what makes it so much fun.

Did you submit pics for the cattle call?

Hey Terry!!!

Good to see you’re on here… Yep, funny how the older I get (31) the better shape I get into! Not too often that happens.

I didn’t submit pics for the Hot-Rox thing as I wasn’t using it for this cycle, but I have used it before with outstanding results. Budget’s been kinda tight so I had to use EC (Primatene tabs and NoDoz) for my thermogenic.

I was really hoping that T-Mag would do another challenge but it doesn’t sound like the demand is there for it.

Monty Ritchie

I was really hoping for a new T-mag challenge, too.

I enjoyed being part of last years contest.

To add to LL’s “NEPA’s”, when you are cooking breakfast in the morning and you have a minute down time throw in some jumping jacks or knee to chest plyos, this may not make your downstairs neighbor happy buy your waist line will benefit. This can also be done whenever. Such as when you have to go to the bathroom, I suggest people do it after they go wee wee for sake of the next person that has to use it. Anytime you can throw in a little extra NEPA do it. Instead of walking up the stairs to your car in the parking lot run up to them and park a floor higher or go up then dow then up again. At the end of the day you could burn a 100 or more cals just by occuping your few minutes down time and doing a tiny bit extra. Look at your daily routine and schedule and see what and where you can fit in these litle calorie burners!

Did you end up finishing the last one?
I was doing well and ended up quitting about four weeks in. I have regretted that ever since and would kill for another shot at the title!

Sorry, Monty, but you wouldn’t win this time 'round because you’re too darn cut, ripped and shredded. You have to be able to show a dramatic enough change to win the prize!!! LOL!