Cardio: Just how necessary is it for fat loss?

  • nhnelson

    Posts: 113

    Apr 28, 2009 5:32 AM GMT
    Is it effective to try to lose fat with just a lifting routine and proper diet? I mean, I've been doing it for a while, and have seen good results, but I'm not sure if the results will be consistent in the future.
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    Apr 28, 2009 7:55 AM GMT
    There is some controversy about cardio. I have a Men's Health book, The Book of Muscle, by Ian King which discourages readers from doing any cardio. More muscle fibers will hypertrophy if you leave out cardio. On the other hand, all the workout plans here on RJ include cardio.
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    Apr 28, 2009 8:21 AM GMT
    wyrln saidThere is some controversy about cardio. I have a Men's Health book, The Book of Muscle, by Ian King which discourages readers from doing any cardio. More muscle fibers will hypertrophy if you leave out cardio. On the other hand, all the workout plans here on RJ include cardio.


    I tell all my clients this, "someone dies of heart disease every 30 seconds, so as I'm saying this, someone is dying of heart disease. No one ever dies of a small bicep disease." but I digress.

    Cardio is 100% necessary if you're trying to lose fat. The best time for cardio is actually right after your weight training workout. During your weight training workout, your muscles use up all your blood sugar for energy, so you can think of resistance training as "pre-exhaust" for your muscles...When your blood sugar is low, your body has to tap into your fat stores to get it's energy...And that's when you're burning fat. Go for high intensity intervals, rather than low intensity.

    hope this helps!
  • dreamer121

    Posts: 265

    Apr 28, 2009 11:29 AM GMT
    agree with mcpat, cardio is great.
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    Apr 28, 2009 12:03 PM GMT
    pattymcpat said
    wyrln saidThere is some controversy about cardio. I have a Men's Health book, The Book of Muscle, by Ian King which discourages readers from doing any cardio. More muscle fibers will hypertrophy if you leave out cardio. On the other hand, all the workout plans here on RJ include cardio.


    I tell all my clients this, "someone dies of heart disease every 30 seconds, so as I'm saying this, someone is dying of heart disease. No one ever dies of a small bicep disease." but I digress.

    Cardio is 100% necessary if you're trying to lose fat. The best time for cardio is actually right after your weight training workout. During your weight training workout, your muscles use up all your blood sugar for energy, so you can think of resistance training as "pre-exhaust" for your muscles...When your blood sugar is low, your body has to tap into your fat stores to get it's energy...And that's when you're burning fat. Go for high intensity intervals, rather than low intensity.

    hope this helps!


    This is absolutely right. If you want to lose weight do CV stuff.

    One of the confusions here is equating getting big, defined muscles with fitness. I see lots of big guys who are actually very unfit when you do an aerobic fitness test. So you need to do CV work to keep the heart and lungs in good shape ( measure max oxygen consumption every 3 to 4 months) and reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. I advise guys who want to 'bulk up' to do 2 high intensity 30' CV sessions a week. This way they are fit and look great.
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    Apr 28, 2009 12:41 PM GMT
    erm... well

    I don´t normally do "cardio" as a set piece in the gym.

    I do cardio as I walk to and from the gym, as I shop and clean the flat and walk to the metro for a total of about an hour a day (guess who does not live in the USA). If you live in a society where you can do this (not large parts of the USA) then there is no need for "gym cardio" to stay healthy. You need to do things that exercise your heart, but that does not necessarily mean the stair climber (you could climb real stairs instead of using the lift in your apartment building)

    Whether you can lose fat on lifting alone depends what and how you lift. One of my routines is a body weight circuit which is very demanding in CV terms, but is not "gym cardio". I have another which is supersets, that too is demanding and works me anaerobically. If I want to give fat burning a boost then I do a bit of HIIT, but it´s not necessary.

    However, most of weight loss is about eating a diet which is appropriate for you. I seem not to get super ripped without doing HIIT, but I got down to a 31 inch waist without dieting simply from weightlifting and pilates.

    (and also note that there are some people so religiously devout about their 40 minutes on the elliptical that they flip if someone says that it´s not essential).
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    Apr 28, 2009 2:45 PM GMT
    Lostboy saiderm... well

    I don´t normally do "cardio" as a set piece in the gym.

    I do cardio as I walk to and from the gym, as I shop and clean the flat and walk to the metro for a total of about an hour a day (guess who does not live in the USA). If you live in a society where you can do this (not large parts of the USA) then there is no need for "gym cardio" to stay healthy. You need to do things that exercise your heart, but that does not necessarily mean the stair climber (you could climb real stairs instead of using the lift in your apartment building)

    Whether you can lose fat on lifting alone depends what and how you lift. One of my routines is a body weight circuit which is very demanding in CV terms, but is not "gym cardio". I have another which is supersets, that too is demanding and works me anaerobically. If I want to give fat burning a boost then I do a bit of HIIT, but it´s not necessary.

    However, most of weight loss is about eating a diet which is appropriate for you. I seem not to get super ripped without doing HIIT, but I got down to a 31 inch waist without dieting simply from weightlifting and pilates.

    (and also note that there are some people so religiously devout about their 40 minutes on the elliptical that they flip if someone says that it´s not essential).


    Forgive for being pushy but may I ask how you measure your CV fitness? It is important to have an objective measurement
  • calibro

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    Apr 28, 2009 2:49 PM GMT
    Cardio is very important for losing weight, but is also vital for overall health. You don't need to overdo it if you are already doing weights. A simple addition of 20 minutes after weights is enough if you perform at an interval intensity. Also, have you tried fat-burning cardio? Walking is a great form of cardio, burns a lot of calories, and because it is a low-intensity form it is mostly fat-burning (goes after your fat stores rather than the glucose in your blood). Add an hour of walking to your day and you'll be surprised at the results.
  • dionysus

    Posts: 420

    Apr 28, 2009 2:50 PM GMT
    i do about 3-5 hours of yoga and week. and now im slowly adding on another 2-3 hours of running a week.

    but then of course its cardio shape-up or shut-up time for me icon_smile.gif
  • nhnelson

    Posts: 113

    Apr 28, 2009 6:20 PM GMT
    calibro saidCardio is very important for losing weight, but is also vital for overall health. You don't need to overdo it if you are already doing weights. A simple addition of 20 minutes after weights is enough if you perform at an interval intensity. Also, have you tried fat-burning cardio? Walking is a great form of cardio, burns a lot of calories, and because it is a low-intensity form it is mostly fat-burning (goes after your fat stores rather than the glucose in your blood). Add an hour of walking to your day and you'll be surprised at the results.


    So, I actually walk in excess of 5 miles a day, which I should have clarified in my original post. I walk EVERYWHERE. So, that was my main concern, I guess. The time commitment of being in the gym two hours a day and then spending 3+ hours a day in transit seems like it might be too much, so I suppose I'm trying to shave off time wherever I can. But it seems like what I'm hearing is that HIIT is a necessity. I used to do HIIT, but stopped since I stopped riding my bike and walking everywhere. So, I guess I start it again.
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    Apr 28, 2009 6:39 PM GMT
    I could never understand guys who are clearly over weight, lifting instead of doing any cardio. I started back to the gym to lose weight and gain strength. I started with only cardio, lost 30 pounds and then expanded to lifting for muscle growth. I continue to do cardio daily 20 - 30 minutes and then after warmed up, do lifting. It's worked for me and hopefully I will NOT be a statistic in the next 30 seconds!
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    Apr 28, 2009 6:46 PM GMT
    To clarify to the OP, cardio is not essential to fat loss. It's helpful to fat loss, and indispensable to cardiovascular health. But fat loss can come from other habits, including diet/intake adjustments and strength training. Cardiovascular training should be practiced to improve breathing, circulation and heart health...with a side benefit of some fat loss.
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    Apr 28, 2009 6:51 PM GMT
    Not as time effective as diet or muscle building.
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    Apr 28, 2009 7:01 PM GMT
    devontrainer saidForgive for being pushy but may I ask how you measure your CV fitness? It is important to have an objective measurement


    I´m not sure what you mean. I did a VO2 max thing when I used to be a triathlete, but can´t be bothered with that any more. In one sense I used to be "CV fitter" then when I was training 20 hour weeks in 3 cardio activities, but I was not as healthy. What sort of measurement would you like me to have?


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    Apr 28, 2009 7:10 PM GMT
    http://nymag.com/news/sports/38001/
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    Apr 28, 2009 9:52 PM GMT
    mnjock2003 saidhttp://nymag.com/news/sports/38001/


    Interesting. I do think eating the correct diet for the individual is the best way to deal with weight. I wonder what "exercise" means: is the article talking about running (as was the case in at least one of the studies cited). When I started lifting I didn´t change my diet as it was already good, but my body composition changed very fast. Within a couple of months i had a different body (photos in my private pics)

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    Apr 28, 2009 9:59 PM GMT
    Lostboy said
    devontrainer saidForgive for being pushy but may I ask how you measure your CV fitness? It is important to have an objective measurement


    I´m not sure what you mean. I did a VO2 max thing when I used to be a triathlete, but can´t be bothered with that any more. In one sense I used to be "CV fitter" then when I was training 20 hour weeks in 3 cardio activities, but I was not as healthy. What sort of measurement would you like me to have?




    The CV machines in the gym will give you a VO2max easily. It is not as accurate as the physiology lab but it is good for seeing the trend and putting you in a group from poor to elite. Otherwise a step test is simple to do in the gym. Hope this is helpful.
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    Apr 28, 2009 10:23 PM GMT
    devontrainer said
    The CV machines in the gym will give you a VO2max easily. It is not as accurate as the physiology lab but it is good for seeing the trend and putting you in a group from poor to elite. Otherwise a step test is simple to do in the gym. Hope this is helpful.


    Mmm I still don´t see why I need to do this. We did the VOmax at a clinic blablabla back in the day with the triathlon club. It hurt a lot. I am able to do everything I want to: walking for hours in the hills or on the beach, I can run to catch the metro, I can climb up the stairs with shopping and not die at the top. I do occasional tabata or HIIT at the gym and regularly do fairly brutal body weight circuits on timed intervals. I have precisely no interest in knowing my VO2max. I can´t see anything at all is gained by it.
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    Apr 29, 2009 1:53 PM GMT
    The only time I've managed to significantly lose any weight was through walking an hour each day (return) to work. That meant 'cardio' was a part of my life-style.

    Gym-cardio is really, really, really boring, so it's difficult to stick to.

    On the other hand, lifting weights is macho and fun! icon_wink.gif

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    Apr 29, 2009 1:56 PM GMT
    Although some intense cardio stuff looks quite fun, like the dot drill...

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    Apr 29, 2009 2:00 PM GMT
    Cardio is not essential to fat loss but metabolic activation is. There are cases where cardio can be counter-productive to training goals, especially with not enough calories, and way to long of sessions.

    To preserve lean muscle mass, maximize time management, and achieve the best results while improving your cardiac threshold short duration high intensity interval training is a better choice and is vastly more effective.
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    Apr 29, 2009 2:02 PM GMT
    ^ What do you think of tabata training Chucky?

    When I've done it, I quite enjoy it, but I'm not convinced it's actually as effective as just going for a long walk.

    This is from an article online.

    For those not familiar with the Tabata protocol, here it is:
    1) warm up
    2) 20 seconds work
    3) 10 seconds rest
    4) repeat 7 more times


    http://www.muscletalk.co.uk/article-tabata-training.aspx
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    Apr 29, 2009 2:13 PM GMT
    mnjock2003 saidhttp://nymag.com/news/sports/38001/


    Interesting article

    Diet is the cause of 75% to 80% of weight loss . Exercise is 25% to 20%
    http://www.menshealth.com/cda/article.do?site=MensHealth&channel=weight.loss&category=abs.diet&conitem=4d6dc097a96fb010VgnVCM100000cfe793cd____

    When one begins a exercise program he needs to be aware of the increased appetite. He has to stick to the diet.

    The article seems to question the need for exercise...Exercise has many other benefits....exercise can be as effective for mental depression as are SSRIs...atherosclerotic heart disease is reduced.....there is a reduction in the incidence of malignancies especially colon cancer...sensitivity to insulin is increased resulting in better control of diabetes. Exercise can reduce skin aging and reduce incidence of some skin cancers...there are other benefits like a sense of well being..


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    Apr 29, 2009 2:20 PM GMT
    Lost_And_Found said^ What do you think of tabata training Chucky?

    When I've done it, I quite enjoy it, but I'm not convinced it's actually as effective as just going for a long walk.

    This is from an article online.

    For those not familiar with the Tabata protocol, here it is:
    1) warm up
    2) 20 seconds work
    3) 10 seconds rest
    4) repeat 7 more times


    http://www.muscletalk.co.uk/article-tabata-training.aspx


    I haven't done it,but, it's very similar to my routines on the stairs. Sounds perfect. I generally have intervals starting at 90 seconds and working down to 30. I flip flop them...like so
    load | unload
    90 30
    90 30
    90 30
    90 45
    90 60
    60 60
    45 60
    and so on.
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    Apr 29, 2009 2:25 PM GMT
    kneedraggen said
    mnjock2003 saidhttp://nymag.com/news/sports/38001/


    Interesting article

    Diet is the cause of 75% to 80% of weight loss . Exercise is 25% to 20%
    http://www.menshealth.com/cda/article.do?site=MensHealth&channel=weight.loss&category=abs.diet&conitem=4d6dc097a96fb010VgnVCM100000cfe793cd____

    When one begins a exercise program he needs to be aware of the increased appetite. He has to stick to the diet.

    The article seems to question the need for exercise...Exercise has many other benefits....exercise can be as effective for mental depression as are SSRIs...atherosclerotic heart disease is reduced.....there is a reduction in the incidence of malignancies especially colon cancer...sensitivity to insulin is increased resulting in better control of diabetes. Exercise can reduce skin aging and reduce incidence of some skin cancers...there are other benefits like a sense of well being..




    There's some validity, I think to all that, BUT, in order to workout hard you need to eat hard. FUEL the furnace. There's no doubt that exercise has a LONG LIST of benefits. Exercise, stress management, diet, and hormone replacement therapy can make incredible strides in wellness. They work together, however. To little food, and it doesn't work. To little exercise and it doesn't work. To much stress and it doesn't work. To little hormone and it doesn't work.