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Steady State Cardio - Is it necessary?

Steeze

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I've been doing a lot of HIIT body weight plyometrics 5-7 days a week for an hour a day and have admittedly cut down on jogging and the elliptical. I've put on some muscle, but I feel a little less lean than I used to. Weight has gone up about 3 pounds. My diet has remained relatively the same. I used to jog or use the elliptical 5-7 days a week but effectively replaced it with all plyo.

My question is, would I be better off replacing 3 days a week of body weight plyo with steady state cardio to get leaner?
 

not_a_virus.exe

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no, cardio is not necessary for fat loss.

would you rather not spend 5 minutes eating that 1000 calorie burrito or spend 3 hours running off those 1000 calories?

the best way to lose fat is to eat less calories.

cardio can also make things difficult by increasing your appetite, and if you're trying to gain muscle too, too much cardio will work against you since your body will also want to stay thin because a thin body is more efficient for running.
 

not_a_virus.exe

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if you still insist on cardio, HIIT is a good way to save a lot of time (you can burn the same amount of calories as running but you're covering the same amount of distance in significantly less time). getting leaner is just a matter of calories in vs. calories out, so you just have to do your calculations. just be aware that it's difficult to accurately calculate how many calories you're putting into your body and how many calories your spending. those food labels have a bigger allowable degree of error than you probably think so it's always good to overestimate/round up the calories you eat and it's always good to underestimate/round down the calories you think you burned. in fact, if you do the calculations, you really have to be running like 5 miles everyday to have any significant impact on the total calories you burn; if you're not doing this much cardio, you might as well just assume you're doing zero cardio and whatever calories you do end up burning is bonus.

weight is a really horrible measure of fat loss. without access to laboratory equipment like a bodpod, how you look in the mirror is way more accurate, but if you still insist on using the scale, don't weigh yourself no more than once a week; ideally, once a month, as your weight fluctuates daily due to water loss/retention, food in your system, etc. also, a 3 pound difference can just mean an extra 3 pounds of water in your body, so for all we know, you could have gained, lost, or maintained body fat levels.

your muscles may have lost some definition due to increased glycogen and water levels.

just to give you an idea, in about 6 months, i lost about 20 pounds and now have a six-pack and a nice upper body (and still growing muscle). this was all done with just caloric restriction, 4 days a week of lifting weights, and zero cardio.
 

Steeze

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Thanks! At 5'10 in my mid 20s with about 15% body fat exercising 5-7 times per week how many calories should I eat per day to ensure a deficit?
 

Working Stiff

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If your interval training is truly high intensity, I think you'd be better off doing it 3 times a week. 5-7 high intensity sessions every week will be very hard on your body.
Steady state cardio is the best way to improve aerobic fitness, if you care about that. It is also less stressful than HIIT (both physically and mentally)
 

not_a_virus.exe

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Originally Posted by Steeze
Thanks! At 5'10 in my mid 20s with about 15% body fat exercising 5-7 times per week how many calories should I eat per day to ensure a deficit?
good question, but an impossible one to answer precisely without laboratory equipment. we can make some estimates though. 1. you can figure out how many calories you're burning during exercuse with this formula: calories burned = kilometers travelled (it doesn't matter if you're walking, jogging, or sprinting) X bodyweight in kilograms 2. body fat levels are irrelevant as it's your lean body mass that matters. people have roughly the same lean body mass at any given height though, so it's good that you provided that info. 3. there are online BMR/RMR calculators, but they all use different formulas. try plugging your numbers with 5 different ones and get the average of those 5 results. the only way to really know what your RMR is without laboratory equipment is to experiment with different caloric levels and see if your waistline increases/decreases (and you'll have to take measurements no more frequently than once a week; once a month is more ideal - i suspect you and most people don't want to go through this laborious process). what i can tell you though is that at your height, the MAXIMUM POSSIBLE amount of calories you could eat a day without gaining fat is 2660. BUT, that is based on two almost IMPOSSIBLE scenarios: 1. you have built 30 pounds of extra muscle (30 pounds of muscle is an INSANE amount, and contrary to some people's belief, each pound of muscle only burns an extra 5 calories, NOT 50). 2. you are doing the equivalent of running/walking of 5.6 miles EVERY day (i do know people who actually do this, and i think they're nuts and obsessive). since both probably don't apply to you, you'll need to eat less than 2660 calories a day. how much exactly i can't tell you. you'll just have to experiment. but no harm in eating well below 2660, right? the bigger the deficit, the faster the fat loss, and the faster you'll reach your goal.
 

Khayembii Communique

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If you're doing 1 hour of HIIT 5-7 days a week then you're not doing it right. HIIT requires recovery time.

You haven't told us much otherwise. Your weight has gone up 3 lbs. So what? Have you been lifting? Is it 3 lbs of muscle mass or 3 lbs of body fat?

Your diet is the same. Okay.....so what does that mean? What is your diet now?

There are so many variables that you haven't provided us, and we're talking about 3 lbs here, which is about how much your weight can fluctuate in an hour, by just sitting around doing nothing.
 

Monaco

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Some here may call me crazy but steady state cardio is bad for you.

Stick with the HIIT and plyo.

good luck with your mission.
 

tesseract

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i know personally, i need some low intensity cardio in order to slim down.

but no harm in eating well below 2660, right? the bigger the deficit, the faster the fat loss, and the faster you'll reach your goal.
and, dont listen to this as it is absolutely untrue, you to be able to eat for your body to recover and not eating enough is very catabolic.
 

Tooch4321

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if you're doing HIIT more than 4x a week, you're either crazy or you will burnout fast. i tend to do HIIT right after my weight sessions and every now and then throw in some steady state cardio just to mix it up a bit. IMO it's whatever you find that works the best for you that should matter, some people respond to HIIT, some steady state cardio, some high reps/lower weights, blah, blah, blah...
 

jarude

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Originally Posted by not_a_virus.exe
no, cardio is not necessary for fat loss. would you rather not spend 5 minutes eating that 1000 calorie burrito or spend 3 hours running off those 1000 calories? the best way to lose fat is to eat less calories. cardio can also make things difficult by increasing your appetite, and if you're trying to gain muscle too, too much cardio will work against you since your body will also want to stay thin because a thin body is more efficient for running.
I just want to say this is a really bad example. Assuming you're dieting, you shouldn't be thinking about eating a 1000 calorie burrito in the first place
. This whole burrito thing is terrible - nobody is going to eat 1000cals of burrito and then think "damn, time to hit the treadmill to lose fat." A more appropriate example for a weightlifter is "would you rather not spend 5 minutes eating 1000 cals of chicken/healthy fats or spend 3 hours running it off?" The answer would be yes, assuming that's not 1000 calories over maintenance, I would rather eat that chicken and then run it off. I would rather eat healthy foods at maintenance to maintain my current level of lean body mass, and then use cardio to create a deficit. You're right, I wouldn't want to eat a burrito or anything worth 1000 calories, assuming thats 1000 cals over maintenace - and neither should anyone else who's trying to lose fat. Second of all, if you're trying to hold onto lean mass while cutting down, you're still going to need to eat appropriately - eating on a massive deficit like you have suggested elsewhere is going to hurt your muscle gains more than eating at maintenance and then using cardio to drop down. "Bigger deficit = faster fat loss" is not sustainable nor practical - aggressive cutting at say 1000 cals under maintenance is going to a) suck balls hard and b) massacre your lifting gains and c)eventually shit on your metabolism. Finally, saying "cardio will work against you since your body will also want to stay thin" is ludicrous. Really? Any form of cardio immediately turns your body into a running machine that doesn't put on muscle? Brilliant. Its one thing if you take up endurance running and your body physically needs to catabolize muscle, but that takes a long time and a lot of effort. Low-intensity steady state cardio isn't going to hurt you unless your diet is completely out of whack. I don't want to start a slap-fight, since you're clearly set against cardio, but this is a poor way to justify not doing it. Just curious, how much fat have you lost without doing cardio, and how much lean body mass have you retained? Have you compared this with dieting and cardio? Any before/after stats? I'm not trying to hate, but virtually every trainer or source worth its salt advocates careful dieting and cardio to help fat loss - I'm curious to see why you feel this way outside of your burrito example and conjecture about your body wanting to stay thin. edit: I see this "just to give you an idea, in about 6 months, i lost about 20 pounds and now have a six-pack and a nice upper body (and still growing muscle). this was all done with just caloric restriction, 4 days a week of lifting weights, and zero cardio." Good for you mang, how were your lifts during this time?
 

otc

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Originally Posted by JLay87
If you're doing 1 hour of HIIT then you're not doing it right.

FTFY
 

Cool The Kid

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You have to really figure out your caloric needs on your own

Online calculators said my baseline consumption was about 2600 cals a day (5' 10", 195lb at the start of my cut). So I based all my stuff around that. Wasn't losing any weight though; actually gained some weeks. So to maintain I need about 2200 cals. I didn't start losing weight till I took it down to about 1500-1600cals/day after activities and all, and it was pretty tough.

So you have to basically conduct an experiment on yourself and see what your needs are. Even w/all the stats and everything ppl are just different.
 

not_a_virus.exe

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Originally Posted by jarude
I just want to say this is a really bad example. Assuming you're dieting, you shouldn't be thinking about eating a 1000 calorie burrito in the first place
. This whole burrito thing is terrible - nobody is going to eat 1000cals of burrito and then think "damn, time to hit the treadmill to lose fat." A more appropriate example for a weightlifter is "would you rather not spend 5 minutes eating 1000 cals of chicken/healthy fats or spend 3 hours running it off?" The answer would be yes, assuming that's not 1000 calories over maintenance, I would rather eat that chicken and then run it off. I would rather eat healthy foods at maintenance to maintain my current level of lean body mass, and then use cardio to create a deficit. You're right, I wouldn't want to eat a burrito or anything worth 1000 calories, assuming thats 1000 cals over maintenace - and neither should anyone else who's trying to lose fat.

Second of all, if you're trying to hold onto lean mass while cutting down, you're still going to need to eat appropriately - eating on a massive deficit like you have suggested elsewhere is going to hurt your muscle gains more than eating at maintenance and then using cardio to drop down. "Bigger deficit = faster fat loss" is not sustainable nor practical - aggressive cutting at say 1000 cals under maintenance is going to a) suck balls hard and b) massacre your lifting gains and c)eventually shit on your metabolism. Finally, saying "cardio will work against you since your body will also want to stay thin" is ludicrous. Really? Any form of cardio immediately turns your body into a running machine that doesn't put on muscle? Brilliant. Its one thing if you take up endurance running and your body physically needs to catabolize muscle, but that takes a long time and a lot of effort. Low-intensity steady state cardio isn't going to hurt you unless your diet is completely out of whack.

I don't want to start a slap-fight, since you're clearly set against cardio, but this is a poor way to justify not doing it. Just curious, how much fat have you lost without doing cardio, and how much lean body mass have you retained? Have you compared this with dieting and cardio? Any before/after stats? I'm not trying to hate, but virtually every trainer or source worth its salt advocates careful dieting and cardio to help fat loss - I'm curious to see why you feel this way outside of your burrito example and conjecture about your body wanting to stay thin.

edit: I see this "just to give you an idea, in about 6 months, i lost about 20 pounds and now have a six-pack and a nice upper body (and still growing muscle). this was all done with just caloric restriction, 4 days a week of lifting weights, and zero cardio." Good for you mang, how were your lifts during this time?

1. that wasn't my point - if you want to burn 1000 calories, then it makes much more sense to not just eat an extra 1000 calories than to eat it and then burn it off. that's what most people do.
2. there's no such thing as "healthy" and "unhealthy" food. if you eat too much of something, that's when it becomes unhealthy.
3. diet doesn't affect muscle maintenance - the quality of your workouts do.
4. no, you're wrong - your body simply will adapt to lots of cardio by staying thin because a thin body is more efficient at running long distances. i never said anything about muscle being catabolized, etc.
5. i never said i was "clearly set against cardio."
6. in about 4 months, i lose about 20 pounds while gaining 3 inches in my shoulder circumference doing zero cardio while lifting weights 4 times a week. these kinds of results are consistently observed in people of all shapes and sizes in different physical conditions.
 

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