Sprints Vs. Cardio

OK, when it comes down to it, which one is better for losing fat and mainting muscle for cutting up? I hear all this stuff about sprints, but i’m pretty sure all the competitors do hours of cardio to cut up before a competition. What are your opinions guys?

bump, id like to know as well…

It’s entirely dependent upon the individual. When I jump rope, sprint, heavy bag train via HIIT - I do get significantly leaner and contest ready in a snap without having to sacrifice valuable LBM. However when I perform “long term” cardio on the bike, treadmill, or even run, I get all flattened out.

However, if it's a bodybuilding competitor and they are 5-weeks out from a show and not that lean yet - either it's time to bag it or pick up that cardio and risk losing some muscle. But it also depends on if the competitor is "juicing" or is drug-free. Lots of factors to consider.

Sprinting or “anaerobic training” as its really know as is the best way for fat loss. High intensity cardio is better for fat loss. Dan Duchaine had said (God rest his soul), that cardio dont for a short duration (no more than 20 min), at 85% HR max first thing in the morning not only causes growth hormone release, but is also glycogen sparing. I know people will say that it burns muscle. The answer is yes, hence the reason for the short duration.

Patricia…just wondering if you do your HIIT and jumprope sessions in the am or after training or as a separate session. I am preparing for a show myself and have done well up to now by simply manipulating diet. However, I feel like I’m just about to hit a plateau and need something to kick me back into gear in terms of fatloss. Any ideas?

maybe its all in your head.

Compare the physique of the average sprinter to that of a long distance runner and I think you will find your answer fairly quickly.

I tell you what - what really has kicked my ass into precontest mode was martial arts training. I would usually stop the MA training like 5-weeks out due to the fact that I can’t focus on the MA as I would like. However, even at 5-weeks out, the MA really leans me out, maintains the muscle and I’m well on my way. Wild.

As for heavy bag training, since at a gym I was training at had a heavy bag, I would add a 20-minute session after a workout. For instance, if I had trained legs, I would focus on kicks (on the bag) for about 20-minutes. If it was a upper body workout, then I would just punch for 20-minutes. Granted, the heavy bag was done only 2-days a week.

I jump rope first thing in the AM. If I'm going to train later, I don't jump rope for more than 20-minutes. Longer sessions are for my off days. The heavy bag sessions really help with the upper bod, while the jump rope really helps with my legs, especially calves. See where I'm going with this? I would start with the jump rope and really monitor (using the mirror) your progress at this point. How far out from the show are you?

You said it before I could. That is the best example. Sprinters will do a little distance work just for conditioning and it is not much at that. They train for speed and power. Most of the guys have better physiques then BB. They have definition in their Quads that is remarkable. And their calves, forget about it.

Although I am all for sprinting for fat loss I think the argument comparing physiques of sprinters vs athletes of long duration sports is invalid. Sprinters are usually genetic freaks and would look much the same way even if they did no training whatsoever and the situation is not quite the same for the long distance athlete.

Kelly- I have to disagree with you re: sprinters being genetic freaks. In the past I have done my share of distance running (10k, military etc). I have always noticed that my legs flatten out and lose definition when I train for distance. conversely, I have recently begun sprinting 1-2x per week. In the few weeks I have done this, I have noticed considerable growth and improved definition- and believe me, I am far from a genetic freak. So I will be sticking with sprints during an upcoming cutting phase and will hopefully be able to replace distance running with sprints for fat loss and heart benefits.

Kelly, I disagree with you to some degree. I think that people’s physiques resemble the type of training that they do. I heard Charles Poliquin say that a hammer thrower has very much the same muscle fiber make-up of a sprinter. Also that a hammer thrower has the best 30 meter acceleration next to a 100 meter sprinter. This would account for 30% of the race. Yet a hammer thrower looks nothing like a sprinter. I think to be a successful athlete, I think genetic make-up has huge implications. There is something to be said about the intangible or the X factor. Meaning work ethic and how bad the athlete wants it.

I can’t beleive people still claim sprinting is better. Fact for getting lean and maintaining muscle long term low intensity is better. Please read John M Berardi’s thread. FACT: PRO BODYBUILDERS DO NOT SPRINT THEY WALK ON THE TREAD A FEW HOURS PER DAY AS DO MOST NATIONAL AND EVEN LOCAL COMPETITORS.

Does anyone here see any benefit to using Surge after a 20 minute sprint session(while in ketosis)? I’m considering using at least 1 scoop after, but money would like to dictate otherwise. I’m willing to let a few $bucks go if there would be a significant advantage. Another question when you do a 20 minute sprint session do you count 20 minutes of actual sprinting or 20 minutes including rest? For example i’ll Sprint for 1 minute and then walk for 2 minutes, using a 1:2 ratio. I’ve always counted it with Rest, but would like to clarify to put my mind at ease.

im gonna second on what kelly said and on the environment side of the coin, distance runners perform one hell of a lot more “cardio” than BBers tryin to get into shape.

Pro bodybuilders also use T3 and growth hormone to cut bodyfat. I know I didn’t drop below 10% until I started sprinting. I was jogging before that and was in a rut until I sprinted.

I guess what I was trying to say was that comparing the physique of a sprinter vs that of a long distance runner and trying to make an exercise recommendation just based on this appearance is unfair. I am definitely all for sprinting and other HIT methods for fat loss but for reasons other then just seeing that a sprinter looks muscular and a distance runner doesn’t. You could take the an elite sprinter and have him train more like that of a distance runner (some talented american football players still do this)…and take an elite distance runner and have him train like a sprinter and at the end the sprinter would in all likelihood still “look” like the more muscular athlete though I dont doubt the distance runner would gain muscularity from this type of training.

I am sorry but Ed is right. Myself, Mufasa, and even good ol John M Berardi have posted on this before-duration always wins over intensity. Your point about Pros is mute. They do use those drugs and if sprinting was better for fat loss or less catabolic they would be sprinting BECAUSE a pro bodybilder will do what is best for losing the most amount of fat while keeping the most amount of muscle-It ain’t sprinting on or off drugs PERIOD.

Thanks for the info, Patricia…I’m going to give the AM skipping a try. I like the idea that it can help with my calves (always a problem), plus it has a lot of carry-over to the various sports I play.
Right now, I’m just over 7 weeks out from the show. I’ve never done one before, so I’m trying to get as much info as possible. My BF is about 7.5% right now (measured by calipers) and had been going down simply through manipulation of diet. However, I don’t want to drop cal’s any further right now, so I’m going to add in the cardio and see what happens. If you’ve got any other tips, send them my way! Oh, and sorry everyone for ambushing the thread!!

Ed, the reason bodybuilders dont sprint is because THEY ARENT ABLE TO. They may have some and I do stress some anaerobic capacity, but sprinting in the form of running is way too hard on their joints. It actually requires some athletic ability (what a novel idea). If you notice how they walk (like they have been riding a horse all day), can you imagine how funny or scary it would look to see one of those monsters on a treadmill? You will either laugh your ass off, or, cringe at the sight of every muscle in the lower body cramping or even tearing.