Massive Cardio Training Guide

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The Best Fat-Loss Cardio Workout Plan Based on Science

If you want to know what the “best fat-burning cardio routine” looks like, you should read this article.

Cardio appears to be an area of confusion for most people when it comes to fat loss and how to best achieve it. Although cardio is not required to burn fat because you are creating a calorie deficit through your science-based diet, it is a good idea to include it.

Why?

Aside from the obvious cardiovascular health advantages, it can also:

1. Assist in increasing the rate of your fat loss. This is especially true if you have low levels of body fat AND/OR if you spend the majority of your day sedentary.

2. Rather than simply eating less food to create an energy deficit, incorporating some cardio allows you to eat a little more while dieting. As a result, you will be able to stick to your diet more effectively in the long run.

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The Frequently Ignored Cardiovascular Issue…

However, even if your primary goal is fat loss, it’s critical that you focus on maintaining as much muscle as possible throughout the process.

This is critical to avoid developing a “skinny-fat” figure after losing all of your weight.

Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks of cardio is something known as the interference effect.

This simply means that “the more cardio an individual performs and the longer the duration of each session, the more it interferes with muscle size and strength gains,” as summarized in a 2011 meta-analysis.

The researchers also noted that certain types of cardio appear to be more effective than others at retaining muscle while maximizing fat loss.

As a result, it’s clear that in this case, more isn’t always better, and not all cardio exercises are created equal. So, in order to see the best results, it’s critical that you properly set up your cardio routine. And in this article, I’ll show you exactly how to do it.

1) High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Cycling (1-2 times per week, 10-20 minutes per session)

For those who are unfamiliar, high intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a cardio protocol in which you alternate between short bursts of nearly all-out effort and longer rest periods between sets. For example, alternate between 20-30 seconds of all-out cycling and 1 minute of light cycling.

When compared to less intense forms of cardio, HIIT has been shown to be superior at improving VO2 max, various cardiovascular health markers, and insulin sensitivity.

In terms of fat loss, you’ve probably heard that HIIT workouts allow you to burn more calories in less time than lower-intensity cardio. While this is correct, the main reason I recommend incorporating HIIT is for its potential muscle sparing properties.

For example, the earlier-mentioned meta-analysis discovered that high-intensity cardio interferes with muscle and strength gains less than lower-intensity forms of cardio.

As a result, it is likely to be preferable to long periods of steady-state cardio.

What is the best type of HIIT cardio?

cardio-exercise-guide

In terms of which exercise modality to use for HIIT, I’d recommend starting with cycling. Several studies have found that cycling when compared to other forms of HIIT, minimizes muscle soreness and damage after a session. As a result, it is easier to recover from, especially if you are not used to strenuous exercise.

Furthermore, as noted in a 2009 paper published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, the range of motion used when cycling is very similar to common weight training exercises such as squatting and leg pressing. That is, it can help you maintain or increase your strength in your leg workouts while dieting.

Having said that, running and rowing are two other viable HIIT exercise modalities. These two exercise modalities, which are similar to common weight training exercises, have been shown to be effective for maintaining strength while dieting. So, in the end, go with what you’re most interested in or have the most experience with.

When Should You Do HIIT?

When it comes to when to do your HIIT workouts, I’d recommend following the advice in this 2016 paper from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

“Performing your HIIT sessions on a rest day or at least after your weights workout rather than before is ideal to prevent a reduction in performance in your weightlifting workouts,” the researchers concluded.

How Many HIIT Workouts Do You Do Per Week?

And as for how much HIIT cardio you should do, I’d recommend starting with one session per week and gradually increasing to a maximum of two or three sessions per week if necessary. Going beyond this will most likely start to negatively impact your recovery from weightlifting workouts, which should always be your top priority. So, ideally, follow the guidelines provided.

2) LISS (1-3 times per week, 20-40 minutes per session).

The main disadvantage of HIIT is that it is quite taxing both mentally and physically, so it should not be used too frequently. This is why, ideally, you should combine it with some form of low intensity steady state cardio (LISS).

And the possibilities for steady-state cardio are nearly limitless.

It could be anything from brisk walking to swimming to light cycling. As long as you’re working at a perceived effort of around 4 on a scale of 10, you should be fine.

What is the best type of LISS cardio?

In terms of what type of LISS is best, based on the findings of this 2009 meta-analysis and for similar reasons as previously discussed, cycling appears to be the best option for minimizing muscle loss. Although there hasn’t been any formal research on this, I’d imagine that the stairmaster would be a viable option as well because it mimics lower body exercises quite well and doesn’t cause much muscle damage.

But, in the end, choose whatever activity you enjoy the most and will be most consistent with, because that is what will provide you with the best results in the long run.

When Should You Use LISS?

As with your HIIT workouts, perform your steady state cardio sessions on a rest day or, at the very least, after your weightlifting workouts rather than before.

How Many LISS Workouts Do You Do Per Week?

I’d recommend beginning with 1-2 low-intensity cardio sessions of 20-30 minutes each. If your progress becomes stalled, you can gradually increase the frequency and/or duration of the sessions.

Overview: The Most Effective Cardio Workout Routine

To summarize the article, here is an example of an initial weekly cardio workout routine for you:

Sunday- No cardio
Monday- LISS Cardio (20-25 minutes)
Tuesday- HIIT Cardio (10-15 minutes)
Wednesday- No Cardio
Thursday-LISS Cardio (20-25 minutes)
Friday- No Cardio
Saturday- No Cardio

However, keep in mind that the ideal amount of cardio varies from person to person and is determined by your overall activity level. However, this is an excellent starting point.

When your fat loss progress stalls (which will happen more frequently as you get leaner), you can begin adding more cardio as per my previous recommendations. Just make sure you do it gradually:

Your goal should be to lose about 0.7 percent of your bodyweight per week, so adjust your cardio routine accordingly and you’ll be on the right track.

First and foremost, you must prioritize your diet and weightlifting workouts. Cardio, on the other hand, can frequently do more harm than good!

Why Should You Do Fasted Cardio to Lose Fat Faster?

Should you do fasted cardio if you want to lose fat faster? How should it be done for the best results? In this article, you’ll find the answers to these questions and more.

If you want to lose fat as quickly as possible, it’s often a good idea to include some form of cardio in your routine.

However, many people recommend doing cardio on an empty stomach to lose fat even faster.

Alternatively, “fasted cardio” is frequently performed first thing in the morning.

And this is something I’ll do more frequently as I lose weight.

Why?

Let’s start by defining fasted cardio in the first place.

What Exactly Is Fasted Cardio?

Simply put, fasted cardio is any cardio session performed after a long period of not eating. For example, if you wake up first thing in the morning and haven’t eaten anything, you’d be in a “fasted state.”

This is when your insulin levels have plummeted to dangerously low levels, which has ramifications for fasted cardio and its effect on the body.

What Is the Process of Fasted Cardio?

Let’s start by discussing why fasted cardio became so popular in the first place, as well as dispelling some of the common misconceptions about it.

Fasted cardio is superior for fat loss because research has shown that: When exercising in a fasted state, your body preferentially burns more fat for energy because your insulin and glycogen levels are low during this period.

In contrast to fasted cardio, when you eat before you exercise, your body preferentially uses more carbs and less fat as energy.

This is primarily what led people to believe that doing cardio while fasting would accelerate fat loss even further. You want to get a six pack as soon as possible, right?

The Untold Story of Fasted Cardio

Although it is true that a fasted cardio session burns more fat……it is critical that you consider the post-exercise period and what happens to your body after the session.

Because studies have shown that, while you may have burned more fat during the fasted cardio session……your body eventually compensates by burning more carbohydrates for the rest of the day.

So by the end, you’ve essentially burned the same amount of fat as if you hadn’t eaten before your cardio.

This was demonstrated in a 2017 systematic review and meta-analysis on the subject.

The researchers discovered that performing cardio while fasted had no superior fat loss effect when compared to performing cardio while fed.

Because the calorie deficit is the most important factor at the end of the day.

And, as I’ve previously stated, while fasted cardio may be especially beneficial for burning stubborn fat……this is only applicable to extremely lean individuals and has yet to be proven in human studies.

So, what is it about fasted cardio that I think you should try?

For a couple of reasons.

How Fasted Cardio Can Help You Lose Fat More Quickly

Although fasted cardio does not provide any magical direct benefits for losing fat faster……there are a number of indirect benefits to fasted cardio that make it worthwhile to at least try.

Fascinating Cardio Benefit #1: It Makes It Easier to Eat on a Calorie Deficiency

For starters, it frequently makes it easier to eat in a calorie deficit.

Your day’s eating window will be shortened as a result of skipping your pre-cardio meal, or breakfast.

This can make dieting easier because your meals are now closer together during the day.

This alone helps a lot in terms of appetite suppression and preventing excessive snacking throughout the day, in my opinion. And for many people, these small changes will result in a lower daily calorie intake.

Several papers have also demonstrated this.

A recent 2019 study from the Journal of Nutrition, for example, compared the daily calorie intake in healthy male subjects who did their cardio either fasted or with breakfast prior to their session.

They discovered that the fasted cardio group consumed 400 fewer calories than the fed cardio group!

The fasted group was able to achieve a calorie deficit by the end of the day, whereas the fed group was unable to do so. And this alone, if done daily, would result in nearly a 1b loss of extra fat every week.

Fast Cardio Benefit #2: It Can Be More Convenient

Another significant advantage of fasted cardio is that it is simply more convenient for many people.

Getting it done first thing in the morning can not only help you get your day started, but it can also improve your mood and productivity for the rest of the day. However, I’ve discovered that it also aids in consistency.

Leaving your cardio for later in the day increases the likelihood that you’ll find an excuse to skip it and push it to the next day.

How to Perform Fasted Cardio

Now, as for what your fasted cardio routine should look like, while this will vary depending on individual circumstances, I’d recommend sticking to the following general guidelines:

• Limit your cardio to low to moderate intensity. Incline walking, light cycling, stairmaster, and other similar exercises are all good examples.

• High-intensity cardio and interval training are also acceptable, but should be used sparingly. This is due to the fact that fasted HIIT workouts cause more muscle damage, deplete your muscle glycogen to a greater extent, and can have a negative impact on your weight lifting workouts if you plan to train later in the day.

• Limit your fasted cardio workouts to less than an hour. This simply helps to prevent any potential muscle breakdown and keeps your performance from suffering as a result. Which, according to research, begins to occur in sessions lasting more than an hour.

What to Eat After a Quick Cardio Session

What to eat after your fasted cardio workout depends on the intensity and duration of your workout, as well as whether you’ll be working out later in the day.

• If you did a low to moderate intensity session that lasted less than an hour, simply follow it up with a meal or shake containing adequate protein (at least 20g). Carbohydrates are optional but unnecessary because you haven’t done much to deplete your glycogen stores. They can, however, be beneficial if you plan on lifting weights later in the day to replenish your glycogen stores. In this case, the timing of your post-workout meal is unimportant.

If you did an intense HIIT cardio workout, you should consume adequate protein afterward, but pair it with some fast-digesting carbs (at least 30-40g). This is especially important if you plan to lift weights later in the day, as you’ll want to ensure your muscle glycogen levels are replenished during that workout. In this case, timing is also more important, and the meal should be consumed within an hour or two of your workout.

The Fasted Cardio Takeaway

To summarize the article, here are the key points to remember:

fasted-cardio-summary

Although fasted cardio does not appear to have any magical fat loss effect, it may be beneficial for you for the reasons mentioned previously.

Overall, you must decide what you will be most consistent with and adhere to week after week.

Because, at the end of the day, doing the work and consistently achieving a calorie deficit through your fat loss diet and training is what matters the most.

How to Work This Into Your Routine

It’s the small details, like whether or not to do cardio fasted, that will allow you to transform your body as quickly as possible… and this is exactly why thousands of members are seeing incredible results with the #UnorthodoxTraining membership program.

Does Cardio Workout Burn Muscle? 3 Cardio Mistakes That Are Ruining Your Gains

“Does cardio cause muscle loss?” If you don’t learn about the three gain-killing cardio mistakes you might be making, it just might.

Cardio, when done correctly, can be an excellent way to improve your health and increase fat loss. Contrary to popular belief, cardio may even be beneficial to muscle growth.

Cardio, on the other hand, can have a negative impact on your gains if done incorrectly.

Does Cardio Workout Burn Muscle?

It is conditional.

According to a 2012 meta-analysis, improperly combining cardio and lifting reduces muscle growth by roughly 31% and strength gains by 18%.

Based on this data, it would seem logical to discontinue cardio altogether in order to maximize muscle growth. However, this is the incorrect mindset to have.

What matters more is how you incorporate cardio into your training rather than whether you incorporate cardio into your training.

Cardio does not burn muscle tissue as quickly as many people believe it does, as long as you consume enough calories and protein.

However, there are three common gain-killing cardio errors to avoid:

Mistake #1: Performing Cardio at the Incorrect Time

One of the most common blunders is performing cardio at the incorrect time.

The most convenient time for most people to do cardio is when they are already in the gym for a lifting workout. If you decide to do cardio along with your lifting, make sure to do it after your weights workout rather than before.

According to a 2016 study, participants who performed a 20-minute cardio session before lifting weights experienced a significant decrease in workout performance.

Participants were put through five different resistance exercises:

• Squat • Bench press

• Deadlifting • Push Pressing

These exercises were performed for three sets of six to ten repetitions at 70-80 percent of the participants’ one-rep max (1RM).

All cardio protocols performed prior to resistance exercise resulted in 9.1-18.6 percent fewer reps performed on average.

For the high pull, squat, and bench press, average power and velocity per set were significantly reduced. The first three resistance exercises had the greatest impact on reps, power, and velocity measurements.

Several other studies have found similar outcomes (study, study).

If you do cardio before weights, you will be more fatigued while lifting. As a result, your strength will most likely suffer, and you will not make as much progress with your lifting over time.

If improving your cardio performance was your top priority, it would make sense to do cardio before weights.

When Is the Best Time to Exercise?

If your cardio session is going to be moderate to high intensity (i.e. longer than 30 minutes), it’s best to do your cardio and workout sessions separately.

Researchers discovered that untrained lifters who performed a 30-minute moderate-intensity cycling session 24 hours after a biceps workout, rather than immediately after, had an almost two-fold increase in muscle hypertrophy in a 2017 study published in the Journal of Sports Science Medicine.

The researchers concluded that this is most likely due to systemic factors interfering with muscle hypertrophy after a workout, which causes muscle damage. These findings imply that separating cardio and lifting workouts is probably better for muscle growth.

This study has some limitations. These findings may not be applicable to shorter and/or less intense forms of steady state cardio.

How long should you wait after lifting weights before doing cardio?

According to research, separating your lifting and cardio sessions by at least 6 hours is generally a good idea. This is something that is difficult for many people so some people prefer to do fasted cardio when they wake up and then do their lifting in afternoon or early evening.

This means you could lift weights in the morning and do cardio in the evening. Another possibility is that you could also decide to do cardio the next day instead depending on your workout schedule or routine.

The researchers concluded that this is most likely due to systemic factors interfering with muscle hypertrophy after a workout, which causes muscle damage. These findings imply that separating cardio and lifting workouts is probably better for muscle growth.

This study has some limitations. These findings may not be applicable to shorter and/or less intense forms of steady state cardio.

How long should you wait after lifting weights before doing cardio?

According to research, separating your lifting and cardio sessions by at least 6 hours is generally a good idea.

This means you could lift weights in the morning and do cardio in the evening. You could also decide to do cardio the next day instead.

Cardio can impair lifting performance?

Researchers from the University of Sao Paulo divided ten men into three groups in order to better understand how cardio affects lifting performance.

• The first group performed four sets of half squats for as many reps as they could while maintaining an 80 percent one-rep max (1RM).

• The second group did 30 minutes of cycling-based high-intensity interval training (HIIT), followed by a leg workout.

• The third group did 30 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) running, followed by the same leg workout.

The total number of reps and weight lifted were then added to compare the total volume and weight completed by all three groups. It’s not surprising that the first group performed more total reps and lifted significantly more weight.

This study does not provide much information about muscle hypertrophy. However, because progressive overload is a primary driver of muscle hypertrophy, the first group is likely to make more gains over time.

Mistake #2: Performing the Incorrect Type of Cardio

Running is what most people think of when they think of cardio.

Running, contrary to popular belief, may be one of the worst forms of cardio. Running, as well as other high-impact cardio exercises like jump rope and sprints, all have significant eccentric components.

These eccentric components cause significant lower body muscle damage, which takes time to recover from.

If your body is attempting to recover from high-impact cardio workouts, it will have a negative impact on your performance when lifting weights, especially with leg workouts.

What Is the Best Cardio for Lifters?

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Lower impact cardio is usually the best type of cardio for lifters.

Lower impact cardio does not require as much time to recover from, so it will not prevent you from lifting at your best. This type of cardio will help you achieve your body composition goals without jeopardizing your weight-room performance.

The meta-analysis I mentioned earlier concluded that cycling while lifting weights caused significantly less of a decrease in lower body hypertrophy than running.

As a result, to minimize cardio’s interference with your gains, focus the majority of your cardio on lower impact exercises with minimal eccentric components.

Cycling and elliptical machines are two examples of low-impact cardio exercises.

• Walking uphill

High-impact cardio is not harmful, and you should not avoid it if you enjoy it. It’s just as important to pay attention to how high-impact forms of exercise affect your recovery.

Mistake #3: Excessive cardio can cause muscle loss.

Excessive cardio is a common mistake that people make.

What is the first thing someone does when they want to lose weight? They do more cardio exercises.

Cardio will help you burn more calories, but it is not the best way to lose fat.

Without doing a single day of cardio, you can lose fat and achieve an extremely low body fat percentage. You can do as much cardio as you want, but if you eat too many calories, you will not lose fat.

More cardio isn’t always better. Cardio can help, but drastically increasing your activity level to burn more fat isn’t sustainable for most lifters.

Isn’t it your goal to maintain and, ideally, build muscle while losing fat? Then continue to train as if you were trying to gain muscle during a bulk.

Adding in some cardio can help you eat more food, burn more calories, and possibly prevent hunger, but it should not be your sole source of weight loss.

The majority of the changes you make during a cut should be dietary.

What Is the Optimal Cardio Amount?

A meta-analysis of 21 studies found that the more days you do cardio per week and the longer your cardio sessions are, the more difficult it is to build muscle and strength.

Cardio sessions that are more than three times per week and last more than 20-30 minutes are not recommended, according to this study. I wouldn’t recommend doing this much cardio. The amount of cardio you do will be determined by how your body reacts to it.

Despite the addition of cardio, gains were still made in this review. This means that while cardio may reduce your ability to build muscle, there’s no harm in incorporating it into your routine if you’re following a proper diet and lifting program.

In fact, when cutting, I frequently go above and beyond my previous recommendations in order to maximize fat loss while retaining muscle mass.

However, if your main goal is to gain muscle and strength, you should be aware that doing a lot of extra cardio can interfere with that.

Maintain Simplicity!

Is it true that moderate cardio burns muscle? Most likely not. Is it true that excessive cardio burns muscle? It may limit your potential muscle growth.

• Perform cardio after lifting weights, or ideally, at least 6 hours after lifting weights.

• To save your recovery and energy for lifting, stick to mostly low-impact cardio like cycling, the elliptical, or incline walking.

• Prioritize weight training over cardio. If your main goal is to gain muscle and strength, limit your cardio sessions to 2-3 20-30 minute sessions per week.

If you’ve made it this far, you must be serious about getting results.

Understanding how cardio affects your gains is critical, but it is only one component of the puzzle.

It is critical that you understand how to properly plan your workouts and diet. This is exactly what you will see if you follow the content on the website or if you become a member of the Unorthodox Training membership program.

You’ll learn how to avoid making critical mistakes like the ones I discussed in this article by enrolling in the Unorthodox Training Membership Program. This is why many of the Unorthodox Training members are having such great success.

How Much Cardio Do You Need to Lose Belly Fat? PLAN IN 4 STEPS!

Do you have a problem with stubborn belly fat? In this article, I’ll show you how much cardio you should do to lose belly fat and achieve your ideal physique.

Do you want to know how much cardio you should do to lose belly fat? So, here’s the truth: Most people who want to lose belly fat approach their cardio routines incorrectly. They fail to account for the various metabolic adaptations they undergo as they: • lose weight AND • improve their cardiovascular fitness… Throughout their diet’s weeks and months. As a result, they will inevitably reach fat loss plateaus. This is a problem. Why? Because belly fat is typically one of the last areas of your body to prioritize fat removal! Instead, your body prioritizes fat loss from less stubborn areas first. As a result, most people reach a plateau before their fat loss has had a chance to truly prioritize this area and burn a significant amount of fat from it. And then you’re stuck.

Would you like to hear some good news? You will be able to effectively use cardio as a tool to break through any plateaus you encounter along the way if you create and implement the right cardio plan. And you’ll keep doing so until your body has removed enough fat from other areas that it now prioritizes removing fat from the belly.

But how exactly can we do this? Let’s start with a look at the issues we’re dealing with when it comes to cardio and fat loss.

Why Is It So Difficult to Lose Belly Fat Through Cardio?

One of the major limitations of cardio for fat loss (especially for belly fat) is that as we lose weight and improve our fitness levels over the weeks and months of our diet, our bodies compensate by attempting to burn fewer calories throughout the day. This is due in part to you carrying less weight. However, this is also due to your body’s increased metabolic efficiency. As a result, you will burn fewer calories throughout the day.

Your Body Improves Its Metabolic Efficiency

For example, one 2010 study compared how many calories subjects burned: • before beginning a diet and cardio plan VERSUS

• After they had lost approximately 10% of their initial body weight

What were the outcomes? The number of calories burned per minute by the subjects during low-intensity movements decreased by about 15%!

This decrease was caused by an increase in muscle efficiency as a result of simply becoming more fit. Other studies have yielded similar results. Calorie reduction ranged from 11 percent to nearly 20 percent as a result of increased efficiency.

As a result, NEAT levels are significantly reduced.

And this adaptation has a significant impact on your NEAT levels throughout the day (non-exercise activity thermogenesis). NEAT is essentially all of your subconscious movements and light activity throughout the day. Walking, cleaning, and even moving your hands around while talking are all examples.

According to this 2014 paper, your NEAT levels can range from a few hundred to over a couple thousand calories per day. That is, it is dependent on how active your lifestyle is and your occupation.

So, to illustrate where this could be a problem, imagine that, at the start of their diet, someone: • Burns about 2,500 calories per day AND • Is an office worker.

According to the graph, this person burns approximately 1000 calories per day through NEAT. If this person followed a cardio plan and improved their fitness over time, their bodies would respond by burning significantly fewer calories through NEAT.

And, as previously stated, this could result in a 15% calorie reduction. This means that they are now burning over 150 calories less per day as a result of this effect alone.

Despite doing the same amount of cardio, your body burns fewer calories

This is why researchers believe this effect is to blame for those who have lost a significant amount of weight struggling to: • Keep that weight off OR • Continue losing fat…despite continuing to do the same amount of cardio as they did at the start of their diet. When you combine this effect with the fact that most people: • Move less in general as their diet lengthens AND • Carry less bodyweight around… You can see how, over time, these various factors cause you to burn fewer and fewer calories. And, eventually, you’ll hit a fat-loss plateau. In fact, in the previously mentioned study, by the end of the 10% weight loss, subjects were burning nearly 600 calories per day less than they were at the start. Despite getting the same amount of exercise.

During the study, these subjects were fed a very low-calorie diet. This most likely did not help their energy levels. Nonetheless, it explains why the same cardio plan you started your diet with, which may have worked for a short time in terms of fat loss, will no longer be sufficient to continue stimulating fat loss as you progress.

You Must Design And Advance A Fat-Loss Cardio Program That Works

This means that your cardio plan must be designed and progressed over time to account for this. Only then will you be able to consistently break through any plateaus you’re bound to come across along the way. At the same time, you don’t want to do too much too soon because that can also be problematic.

So, how do we go about doing this?

We can accomplish this with a four-step cardio plan. This is a strategy that I’ve used and implemented both for myself and with others. The best part? It accounts for all of the issues that we have previously discussed. I’ll be honest and say that this was the easiest plan I’ve done so far. And it’s allowed me to get down to not quite single-digit body fat in about 12 weeks, which is about as low as I’d personally like to go.

Step 1: Establish a Baseline Cardiovascular Level

The first step in this process is to establish a baseline level of cardio to begin with. And this should be the bare minimum of cardio required to see some fat loss progress. This will help set us up for long-term success by giving us a lot more room to grow once we reach plateaus.

And, ideally, the majority of your cardio should be low impact and low intensity. This contrasts with high-intensity work. This is because low-impact, low-intensity cardio will have less of an impact on your recovery. As a result, you will be able to do more of it with less risk of injury. A high-intensity session every now and then is fine. However, I would limit this to no more than 1-2 times per week.

What I would recommend, and what I started with, is just 10 minutes of incline walking every day, with a: • Low incline (e.g. 2.0 incline) AND • Moderate pace (e.g. 3.5 mph)…

To begin with. If you prefer, you can substitute light cycling or any other low-intensity, low-impact cardio modality. And these low-intensity sessions can be done in the morning, before and/or after your weight training sessions, or in the evening, for example. Simply select what you will be most consistent with.

This initial baseline level of cardio may not appear to be a lot. However, if all other variables remain constant, you should be able to begin losing fat within the first few weeks. However, as I previously stated, the rate of fat loss will inevitably slow as your body adjusts to this.

Step 2: Increase Your Cardio Session Frequency Gradually to Lose Belly Fat

As a result, in step 2, we want to gradually increase the duration and/or difficulty of our cardio sessions. Because as we continue to lose fat, our bodies will burn fewer and fewer calories from them.

And you can do so in two ways:

• Extending these cardio sessions by 5-10 minutes each OR increasing the difficulty of these sessions by increasing the speed and/or incline

When should you increase the duration and/or difficulty of your cardio workouts? You should do this whenever you reach a stalemate. Assume your weekly average weight has remained consistent for 2-3 weeks in a row. This is a good indication that you should increase the difficulty of your cardio sessions. This should help you break through that stumbling block. But, once again, this should be done gradually.

The extent to which you increase your cardio depends on your lifestyle and desired level of leanness.

What I discovered was that all I needed to do was add 5 minutes to my daily incline walking cardio sessions every other week. That was more than enough to keep me from hitting any fat loss plateaus along the way. So, by the end of the 12 weeks, I was averaging 40 minutes of incline walking per day. Which I’d frequently divide into two 20-minute sessions.

This may appear to be a lot. However, keep in mind that by the end of the 12 weeks, I was around 7% body fat and VERY lean. In addition, I led a fairly sedentary lifestyle. If you work an active job, the majority of you will not require such lengthy sessions. And especially if you’re not even trying to get lean, as my belly fat disappeared long before the 12-week mark.

The key point here is that you’re simply gradually increasing your cardio over time. That is what will allow you to break through any plateaus you may encounter. The extent to which you do so, however, will vary from person to person and will be determined by your lifestyle. And I would bring my laptop to work on or listen to podcasts and audiobooks during these sessions. So be inventive and try to keep yourself occupied during the sessions! This makes it much easier to maintain consistency and actually enjoy doing it.

Step 3: Maintain Consistency in Other Variables

Now, as you implement the preceding three steps, you must ensure that you are not compensating outside of these cardio sessions. Because your body will become “lazier” outside of your workouts as you diet down and get leaner and leaner.

In fact, research has revealed a phenomenon known as the “constrained” model of energy expenditure. In average populations, as cardio levels increase, the body fights back by compensating, even though you’re burning more calories through your cardio sessions. It accomplishes this by: • Not only becoming less active outside of that cardio session, but also by lowering the energy costs of some of our other areas of energy expenditure (BMR, TEF)

The Three Variables Other than cardio, you must control and monitor your diet and exercise to lose belly fat.

Which, once again, is where a lot of people get stuck, despite increasing their cardio. To avoid this, you must control and monitor three variables:

• Step count – Maintain a consistent step count. This allows you to more or less regulate your activity outside of workouts and keep it from declining. • Weightlifting routine – Follow a regular weightlifting routine. This ensures that you’re maintaining or even gaining muscle mass while losing fat. As a result, you will look better and your metabolism will be slightly boosted. Furthermore, research has shown that it appears to partially reverse the increase in muscle efficiency that we experience as we become more fit and lose weight. As a result, NEAT allows us to burn more calories. This is why combining a weights routine with cardio is so effective for fat loss.

• Calorie intake – Make sure you’re still in a calorie deficit. Assume that your cardio sessions burn an additional 300 calories per day. However, you make up for this by eating an extra 300 calories when you get home. Then you’ve just undone all of your hard work. And you won’t be able to break through your current plateau.

Step 4: Keep it up

The final step in this process is to maintain your new physique. Because if you immediately stop doing cardio once you’ve reached your goal, you’ll inevitably gain some body fat back. At the same time, if you’re doing an unsustainable amount of cardio that you know you won’t be able to maintain long term, that’s not good either.

Choose between two possibilities.

So, I’d suggest one of two alternatives:

• Option 1: Find a consistent cardio routine that you can stick to. It should be one that will allow you to easily maintain your new body weight and physique. A 30-minute incline walk, for example. Or a morning cycling session. • Option 2 – Begin tapering back on cardio until your bodyweight stabilizes. In effect, this means that even if you burn fewer calories during your cardio sessions, your body actually burns more calories outside of your cardio sessions thanks to NEAT. This is because it does not feel as tired or tries to compensate by moving less outside of your cardio sessions.

However, it is entirely dependent on the individual. Not to mention your way of life. However, keep a close eye on your bodyweight to see how you can make the necessary adjustments to find a cardio plan or even a hobby that you can stick with long term while maintaining your new physique. At the end of the day, it’s all about: • burning enough calories AND • figuring out how to do so with the most enjoyment and consistency.

On that note, this should ideally be combined with something known as a reverse diet. This is where you gradually increase your calories to continue increasing the energy you expend through NEAT and your overall metabolism. But that’s something I’ll go over in greater detail in another article.

How Much Cardio Do You Need to Lose Belly Fat? Summary

And that’s all there is to it! Begin with a low baseline, gradually increase it as needed, and then reverse it once you’ve lost the belly fat, while keeping all other variables constant.

Step 1 (Beginning): To kickstart the fat loss process, begin with a low baseline level of cardio.

Step 2 (Raise): When you reach a plateau, gradually increase the duration/difficulty of your weekly cardio sessions.

Step 3 (Administration): Control and maintain all other variables (weights routine, daily steps, calorie intake) to avoid compensating for your cardio sessions.

Step 4 (Retain): Find a routine that will allow you to maintain your new body weight and physique after you’ve successfully removed the belly fat.

There isn’t a magic number for how much cardio you should do. It will vary from person to person, but the key is to start with the least amount of cardio possible so that you have plenty of room to gradually increase it so that you can continue stripping off fat until the fat loss reaches your belly.

Last but not least,

Now, keep in mind that you should combine your cardio routine with a regular weightlifting routine and a solid nutrition plan, as these will both help speed up the process and ensure that you don’t end up “skinny fat” at the end of your fat loss journey.

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