T Nation

morning vs. post-workout

Ok, when speaking about empty stomach, morning cardio and post-workout cardio, is one really THAT much better than the other? I mean, when it’s all said and done, if the same amount of cardio is completed over 10 weeks, yet one does it in the morning on an empty stomach, is he going to see SIGNIFICANTLY better fat-loss results? The reason I ask is because for the life of me, I cannot do morning cardio. I have to get up early as it is and then drive almost an hour to get to work, so it’s just not something that I want to do. However, I am perfectly willing to put in my 30 minutes of post workout cardiom, which up to this point has been mainly low-intensity cardio. My thoughts are to continue with the post-workout cardio but include 2 stationary bike intervals sessions to go along with 3 low intensity sessions on the treadmill or outside. Thoughts please?


IMO, low intensity cardio for fat loss does very little. You need to crank up the intensity and workout at or about at lactate threshold to optimize duration/calories burned/fat burned for continous work. Or better yet, do some serious interval training at a 1:3 work:recovery ratio where you go all out for 30 sec and do moderate work for 90sec.

Another favorite of mine is Bill Phillips' "20 min aerobics solution". You can probably find the description at the BFL website, but if done well, it is a very tough workout. I like to add a few minutes for warm-up and cool-down also.

As for morning vs. post-workout cardio, just do the post-workout cardio. You don't like morning cardio and you will be more likely to miss sessions if you try to do it in the morning. There may be a little bonus to doing morning cardio, but the intensity of your session is much more important than where it occurs during the day.

Jason, thanks for the reply. That’s what I like to hear about morning cardio – dont do it. I’ll stick to my post-workout cardio. I actually did 20 mins of intervals (1:3) tonight and it was hell. How many weekly sessions of intervals can i do? 3? 4? I was thinking 3 interval sessions and 2 regular sessions, or just 4 interval sessions. ALso, can intervals be done after a quad dominant workout. That will be disgustingly painful. Thanks again

Chris - I’d do at least 3 interval sessions of 20 minutes in duration. 2 other sessions of lower intensity could be done to facilitate recovery, but I would do these on off days. I would just do interval training on all of your weightlifting days. On leg days, you could try the rowing machine or one of the elliptical machines with arm attachments so that your legs get a bit of rest.