T Nation

Low Intensity Cardio


I was wondering how long low intensity cardio can be performed for with a 20 gram shot of protein and a teaspoon of BCAA's. The reason I ask is because I've started walking (in this near-fasted state) some 20 minutes to the gym where I proceed to ride an elliptical machine for 60 minutes, then walk back home for another 20 minutes every morning.

All-in-all, that's 100 minutes of low intensity energy system work creating a caloric expenditure of 800-1000 kcals. I'm in the midst of a cutting phase...

Also, would an additional late-night session of equal duration/intensity lead to catabolysis? Any input or thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Peace be with all!

BTW, I'm 225 lbs and my [b]minimal[/b] daily nutritional guidelines include 250 grams P, 175 grams C, & 60 grams F.


Search "100 workouts to ripped city" Dr. Lowery (I believe) wrote an extremely informative article about fasted cardio.


Thanks for the response. I know he touts the fat burning effects of fasted state cardio, and I too ascribe to its benefits, but my question more-or-less is, "How much is too much?"



Anyone have further insight on the matter or shall I be forced to annoy a few T-Nation authors?


I'm no expert, but one thing you might want to monitor is how it feels in your muscles.

Ideally when you are doing this low-intensity cardio, you're expending energy without fatiguing without fatiguing your muscles at all. I think once you start to feel it in your hams or glutes, you are getting to the point where you are inducing muscle fatigue, at which you have to decide if the extra caloric expenditure is worth the fatigue (and thus possible muscle breakdown) that you induce.

Just a thought, you're really the only one who knows your body.


Bro if your burning 800-1000 k/cals in just over an hortu and a half then yopur stepping WAY the hell out of olw intensity. or your addition is off.

if walking burt taht much then I wouldnt survive, id have to eat 10,000 k/cals just to breath let alone hold any mass.

Now if you are doing LOW intensity I think you'd be fine with what your having. But NO way if you are really burning that much. You will for damn sure be losing LBM in a fasted state.


Actually, he may not be far off. I would expect a 225lber to use about 5-6 or so cals per minute walking casually.
That is aprox. 6-750cals and maybe you step on it for a minute or so every 5, you could burn off that kind of cals.

My bigger concern is the diet. I didn't write it down, but if memory is correct you are only taking in about 2300cals. I don't think that's enough. I know you're cutting, but unless you are speed cutting and not concerned with lbm loss, I would eat another 30-40g/fat per day. Possibly even 20-40g/protein more. I mean maint for a 225lber must be around 2300-2500 cals depending on composition. You're starving yourself and your body will eat your muscle and store the fat. This is the opposite of your goals so I think you need to rethink your caloric intake to accomodate youe goals.

That said, I think a good am stroll is great when cutting. I would seriously reconsider adding any more wo accomodating extra cals for that. Even if you still leave yourself in a deficit, better to be deficit of 200cals than 6-800cals.

good luck brother stellar


3.2 speed
12.0 incline on a treadmill at 270 it tells me im burning from 1100-1400 cals per hour( i switch speed from 3.2-3.8)


Great post. I totally agree. One day I walked with the 40lb X-vest for 2 hours in the morning and then another 2 hours w/o it in the evening. During the second session I had to stop not once but twice. Even with only my bodyweight, it felt like my legs were encased in heavy cinderblocks while my pace was a measley 3 mph... I don't think I'll be doing that again! With a cut in calories I also felt dizzy too. Four hours is definitely overkill (for me).

Peace be with you.


The 60 minute sessions as per the Lifecycle ellipticals at my gym quote me as burning anywhere from 675-750 calories per hour based upon my bodyweight and the level of difficulty (ranging in level 5-8 out of 20). My heart rate fluctuates anywhere between 110-125 which I've heard is the optimal range for low intensity cardio.

The figures for the 40 minutes of walking (at around 3 mph) at a bodyweight of 225 was deduced from pluggin my numbers at this site:

That's an additional 300 kcals (for me).

675 [elliptical] plus 300 [walking] equals 975.

Since I've heard that ellipticals / treadmills / stairmasters potentially and erroneously magnify caloric expenditure by as much as 25% more, I tend to be conservative with my actual total expenditure, hence the 800-1000 kcals parameters as stated in my original post. These stats don't even include weight-training 4-5x a week...

My numbers haven't suffered on any lifts as of yet, but when they do, I'll be sure to up the cals.

Peace be with you.


Greetings sasquatch! I'm pretty much through with the double cardio sessions although today I had my BCAA's, a scoop of whey protein isolate, taurine, trib, chromium picolinate, cayenne, forslean, and N-acetyl L-tyrosene. I knocked out an hour on the elliptical, snacked on a cookie dough Metabolic Drive bar, then went at it again for another hour.

Pulled out the Surge and knocked out a circuit of wide grip T-bar rows, hypers, pull-ups, and incline bench presses for 5 cycles. My strength is surprisingly still there but I've only been training as such for the past 12 days on a hypocaloric diet. As of yet, I don't believe I'm being hampered. Maybe I'm deluded, lol. My goal is to drop to 8% bodyfat (currently 14%) - I'm currently "between jobs" and hellbent on succeeding with all the free time I possess.

Glad you all chimed in. Peace be with you.


Well hell I knew I loved my walking/hiking for cardio. just didnt think I was ripping off that many k/cals with it.

Oh and yes that HR should be pretty damn good. Keep it up man sounds like your on track I know upping just the walking, and simple things like standing instead of sitting, sitting instead of lying do a HUGE # on leaning me out.


have you guys ever thought of just running and getting it over with? (the workout). Why do all that walking when you could run a mile in about 10 minutes. I feel that the running speeds up your metabolism longer after you stop working out. Just my experience. I cut 25 lbs of fat running 1-2 miles 3X a week. That totals 30-90 minutes a week doing cardio.


I just tried out that calorie expendatiure calculator (www.drwoolard.com/fitness_calculators/calories_expended.htm)
And to be honest I think those calculations are greatly messed up. Right now I'm 250 at 6 feet tall. I walk all day for my job(construction) so I did some differant calculations, using from housework, to walking(2mph) and regular yardwork. My normal day is 8 hours and the calculator was coming up with myself burning anywhere from 2800 to 3200 cals expended.

If that was truely the case seeing I am only taking in about 3500 cals a day I think the fat would be coming off faster then it is, but then again I could be wrong. Just my what I a thinking on that calculator.


there is NO WAY walking burns 6 to 8 calories per minute, no freakin way. If you have a weight vest on and are walking briskly(4 - 4.5 mph) then MAYBE you will hit 5, but burning 800 calories in an hour and half in not realistic if its "walking"

I would imagine 200 calories per hour to be reasonable if walking around 3 mph. And as far as the "calorie meter" on the machines go, tell it you weigh like 75 pounds less than you do to get a real reading, those things are WAY off. I've been clocked at like 10 calories per minute before, highly unlikely.


Actually, my post said 5-6 per minute. And that is on the cautious side. Who the hell walks at 3mph. So up that to 3.5-4 and then add 55lbs because he gave his weight at around 225.

And as a general rule I subtract about 15% of my actual weight any time I log onto one of those macines.

200 calories an hour! Shit, you burn that on the couch. So, that makes it def. possible for a 225lber to burn much more than that exercising.