Getting Serious About Cardio

Can you get into contest condition without doing cardio? Probably not. There have been a only few individuals who were able to do that, most notably Dexter Jackson. Eventually, even Dexter’s inhumanly fast metabolism slowed somewhat with age, and he had to start hitting cardio like the rest of us. Dieting and weight training alone can get you very lean, but “very lean” is considered “four to five weeks out” in these days of clear glute and hamstring striations.


How much cardio should you do? Do as much as you need to achieve your goals. Wow, what a vague answer! That was intentional because there is no magic formula for you to follow. There are general guidelines. The more fat you have to lose and the slower your metabolism, the more frequent and longer your cardio sessions will have to be. Someone who starts off leaner and has a faster metabolism may only have to do a fraction of the cardio that others do.


What usually works is to start from a simple baseline of 30 minutes, three times a week. After about two weeks, you can add a fourth day, then a fifth day later on and so on. Many people will continue to see fat loss at four or five cardio sessions of 30 to 40 minutes each. As long as you are still getting leaner, don’t add more. There are some people who will need to do as much as 45 to 60 minutes of cardio twice a day to reach their fat-loss goals. In most cases they have allowed themselves to gain too much bodyfat, often in a misguided quest for more muscle mass.


What about the intensity? The main debate in recent years has been about which is better, steady pace and longer duration aerobics or higher intensity and shorter duration, a.k.a. HIIT style. It should go without saying that high-intensity cardio, like high-intensity weight training, should not be overly long in duration, but as to which is more effective, the answer is neither, really. I’ve done both and still do, and I’ve known plenty of people who got into fantastic condition doing it both ways.

Be man enough for a wrestle.

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