T Nation

Steady State Cardio


In addition to pushing the prowler 3-4 times per week, if someone has bodyfat to lose, what're your thoughts on adding in a few hours of steady state cardio each week? Joey, I'd like to hear your thoughts on this too. Thanks guys.


Proper diet is the number one way to lose fat in my opinion. I have seen good fat loss results from pushing the prowler 3 times a week, but my diet is the biggest factor in any fat loss I've seen.

I do think that for those that hate steady state cardio, the prowler is a good way to get in some sort of conditioning work without compromising strength. It's hard as fuck when you are doing it, but the recovery is fast.

The steady state cardio is just another way to burn calories that doesn't effect recovery or strength for the most part. It's not magic, and not always necessary if the diet is dialed in.

I am speaking from the perspective of someone that prefers to stay in the 10-12% bodyfat range. That's as far as my opinion goes. For those that want to be sub 10%, steady state is probably necessary unless you train 5-6 days a week. At that point, the training itself is burning the fat off of you.


Thanks for your response Joey, I appreciate it. In terms of nutrition, what kind of approach do you take to be in the 10-12% range?


Well, ideally I would like to always be in the 10-12% range, but when gaining, it's hard to do. To get there the first time around I did a diet with a coach named Dave Bair. It was a straight-up carb cycling diet with 5/3/1 as my weight training and treadmill in the morning. The diet progressed over a 12 week period and at the end I was lean as hell, probably 7-8% if I had to guess.

My mistake was that I tried to gain too quickly afterwards and put on too much fat. Now I am leaning out again in an effort to gain the right way, slowly.

My approach this time is a little different. I started by finding my approximate equilibrium carb level, meaning if I eat carbs with just about every meal (less in the morning, the bulk after training), does my weight stay about the same. Once I found this, I cut out the bullshit foods, which for me was any kind of dairy and "fat" foods like nuts, avocados, and olives. Those foods aren't bad, I just had plenty of fats from steak, eggs, and dark meat chicken to support my body. The added fats were keeping me fat. I also began doing the prowler 3 times a week for conditioning.

The next step was to begin to eliminate carbs from the meals furthest from my training time. This was a John Meadows recommendation. Over 2-3 weeks I took them out of the first two meals of the day. This is where I am currently. Read Meadows' articles and sign up for his website for a couple of months. You will learn a lot from him that you can actually apply to yourself easily.

Next, I will cut down on the amount of carbs in my off days, followed by conditioning on my off days.

The key to this is to add activity and/or take away carbs to progress the fat loss. If you want to really do this, don't fuck around. Hit the fat loss hard as hell for 8-12 weeks, and then add carbs and overall calories back slowly so you don't negate all of your hard work. Only use junk food if you have to. This was my main problem. I would pound the milk, PB&Js, and cheeseburgers because I thought it was hard core weight gaining. Nope, it was my inner fatty dictating my eating habits like the fat little turd he is. I should have kept one prowler day in there a week, and eaten cleaner on the way back up. The foods you eat while dieting are the same you eat while gaining, just in different proportions.

Jim thinks dieting is gay, and it is. But, I hate looking sloppy and I don't mind saying that. So, when I get sloppier than I want to be, I diet for a while, with focus, and then get right back to what's important, getting stronger. Also, when you're leaner, you don't gain as much fat when you are trying to put on muscle.

Ok, enough diet gayness, now let's all go listen to Dragged Into Sunlight.


If you have to do that, it means:

  1. Your diet fucking sucks.
  2. You have little to no effort with your Prowler training.
  3. Your strength training is not taken seriously.

No need to add more when you can already just make what you do NOW, BETTER. Do that and you will be happy.


Hey man, just a quick point. There's nothing "gay" about dieting. Nothing is so extreme, and even if Jim did think so, I wouldn't concede to that view at all. I think Jim's beef (and it would be great if he weighed in, really) is that an endless cycle of bulking and cutting like a supermodel, rather than focusing on serious training, is what is to be avoided.

In his book he advocates drinking an entire gallon of milk each day to bulk up. Do you really think he advocates doing this endlessly? For most people that would make them straight unhealthy, or "sloppy" like you said, meaning you've got to diet to some extent to get back to a place where you won't die of heart disease.

Not to mention he wrote about "the yolk", and how it felt when a girl grabbed it and complimented him on it. So not even he is immune to wanting to look good for the ladies. But the point is that it's a byproduct of his focus on strength.

Just wanted to make this point, that we all need to keep things in perspective. It's not strength v. aesthetics v. health... it's a list of priorities.


Totally agree. Calling dieting gay was in jest for the most part. To be great we have to address strength, health, and mobility. Somewhere in there along side lifting has to be proper diet. Well said.


Dieting is for Tuckers like Joey Waters.


I tuck Ohio style and learned from the best.


Diet - it's what people do who don't work hard enough.

I just made that up and am laughing my ass off because the Internet Inch Club will get all mad. Poking fun at diet and Xfit and all that stuff is very amusing. I liken it to poking a rabid bear. The bear gets all riled up and starts to get up/run at you but then realizes both of his legs are broken. The bear then stumbles and falls because he has nothing to stand on.

I'm particularly proud of that metaphor.


hahahaha funny shit; be proud.


A few hours of steady state cardio has a poor return on investment if your goal is fat loss and muscle building. It will be very catabolic, and really doesn't burn that many calories, plus will have a negative hormonal affect for what your overall goals are. Do some hill sprints, or some HIIT. Less than an hour per week total, and will yield much greater results.


What one does for conditioning is entirely determined by the person's physical and mental needs - there is nothing bad about either. One has to do what is right for them at the time. And it goes beyond the so called "science".


Just out of curiosity,
When people say "steady state" what are they referring to? If it is a steady run for miles then I see where it may be catabolic. When I worked with Shelby Starnes a few years ago though he had me walking, sometimes with a vest, on an incline for between 20 and 40 minutes 3x per week - time and intensity varied as needed. I also used finishers after my lower body days i.e. kettle bell swings for tabatas, hill sprints, etc. I never lost ANY strength.

There is just no way freakin walking on an incline - even with a vest - should inhibit strength gains unless you are doing them right before. I also work in a large restaurant kitchen 10 hours per day and sweat and move there. Does that inhibit me too? I don't notice it if it does. I just make sure I get at least 2 days per week OFF - usually after squats and deads.


I love this analogy


Steady state (often abbreviated LISS or low intensity steady state) is typically treadmill, elliptical or recumbent bike at a pace that keeps your HR around 130-140 for a prescribed period of time.

Before I knew better, I typically did this fasted for 30-40 min, 3-4x/week. I didn't lose any strength, but it's poor return on investment in terms of time vs condition. It works OK for fat loss, but really doesn't give the same type of results as investing 3/4 of the time in a conditioning activity like prowler or weighted vest walking.

Poor use of training/conditioning time, IMHO.


I personally have never seen a redution in body fat or even body weight from using the Prowler. Steady state sees to really work for me, plus it has other health benefits as well.


I kept reading that HIIT is the best way to lose fat and get ripped. Only 15 minute or 20 minutes at most, but really go all out. This undoubtedly gets you in great cardiovascular shape but I don't think you burn anywhere near enough calories in 15 minutes, no matter how hard you go, to see real reductions in body fat. Even when combined with high protein, moderate fats and low or moderate carbs, it really doesn't destroy body fat like longer duration (but still intense) cardio.



I am not going to argue with you, but there is tons of research showing that short duration HIIT is better for body composition changes that LISS cardio like jogging, or the elliptical. Notice how many distance runners are just "skinny fat".


He's not talking about LISS, read the 2nd to last word in his post. LISS is walking the dog, running a few miles for time is not "low intensity."