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Cardio & Fat Loss w/ HIT?
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FamilyMan

Missouri, USA

This is my first post here. My wife and I started HIT via the Big Arms Challenge on T-Nation. We were impressed by the results of the challenge, and have decided to experiment with HIT throughout the Summer. I have read most of "The NEW HIT", but have some questions you more experienced folk may be able to answer.

* I am interested in more info on how HIT relates to fat loss & cardiovascular health. Would you include low impact bike, running, etc. along with non-specialized HIT training?
i.e., Is HIT optimal for fat loss? Does HIT provide the cardiovascular exercise necessary for a healthy heart?
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Cherry

I would include cardio on the off days. HIT will burn calories but you can't do it everyday. I do ~40-60 mins of cardio everyday.

The treadmill is an extremely versatile tool! I can burn several hundred cals per day on it! Every day! I like being active every day.

1)I sprint cycles on treadmill.
2)I brisk walk on treadmill @full incline.
3)I high MET steady-state run on treadmill at various inclines to replicate varied terrain.
4)I can program a complex running scenerio on my treadmill replete with "hills", "valleys", fast pace, slow pace, running , walking all in same W/O. Similar to running cross country.

Ok, maybe, all this cardio i do is depleting some of my muscle growing resources. Maybe I'd be a TAD bigger if i conserved all my energy for resistance training. MAYBE. But i don't care, I'm not going to be posing down on stage anytime too soon. So my thighs are a millimeter smaller, who cares? And maybe my thighs are LARGER will all this cardio work, who knows? Who cares?

This fear of cardio here is completely unjustified, IMO, of course.

:)

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spud

http://www.drdarden.com/...ic.do?id=415445

Definitely read the Florida Dreamin' article above if you haven't already done so.

I think HIT is probably the most time efficient method of losing fat. It is definitely better than doing a higher volume weights program and daily cardio.

Remember that HIT will help you keep your muscle. It is your diet that is the driving force behind any fat loss program. The primary reason you perform HIT is to stimulate your muscle so it doesn't atrophy when you reduce your calories. You do not perform HIT in order to burn calories.

How on earth do you go about accurately calculating how many calories you burn do some activity for a certain period of time? If a fat person and a lean person perform the same cardio workout, the lean person will actually burn fewer calories than the fat person. The effects of cardio are more noticeable when going from obese to overweight, but not so much when going from say 13% body fat to 10% body fat.

Also remember that a good diet, along with avoiding harmful habits such as smoking, is the main contributor to a healthy heart. I don't believe you need to do any cardio for a healthy heart.

HIT routines can definitely provide you with a cardiovascular workout as long as you keep your reps slow, smooth and controlled and work to failure (or at least near to failure) with minimal rest between sets. Remember that the cardiovascular system supports the muscular system, not the other way around.

If you want to get a terrific cardio workout from your HIT routine, you will need to set up all of the equipment, or as much of the equipment as you possibly can, before you start your workout.

That way you can rest only when you want or need to, rather than having to worry about loading plates onto bars etc.

You can do extra cardio if you like to. Nobody is saying that you should stop doing what you like doing, it's just that many people don't understand just how little exercise you need to do in order to lose fat. Sadly, to most people, more will always be better. What is more time efficient? Eating a chocolate bar and then running around to try and burn off the calories, OR not eating the chocolate bar in the first place?

If you do want to do some cardio the first question you should ask yourself is ?How much cardio do I need??

You should NOT ask yourself ?How much cardio can I tolerate??

If you want to learn more about doing cardio sensibly you can read more here:

www.ageless-athletes.com/concurrent_training.shtml

www.ageless-athletes.com/perfect_gxp.shtml
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Max

Oklahoma, USA

Well I do have to say that cardio is necessary for getting extremely lean. I've never seen anyone get in shape for a bodybuilding contest without cardio. I've seen people (myself included) try to get ready for a contest by diet alone and no cardio. Everyone has ended up having to diet so severely that they end up so skinny and look like they have no business being on a bodybuilding stage.

Besides the fat burning, I just feel so much better when I do cardio. I also do it in the offseason and I agree with Cherry's comment "This fear of cardio here is completely unjustified, IMO, of course."
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FamilyMan

Missouri, USA

spud wrote:
Definitely read the Florida Dreamin' article above if you haven't already done so.

I think HIT is probably the most time efficient method of losing fat.

Remember that HIT will help you keep your muscle. It is your diet that is the driving force behind any fat loss program.

You can do extra cardio if you like to. ...What is more time efficient?
How much cardio do I need??


Thanks for the reply. I read the Florida dreams article. Reduced calories (carb rich) + HIT for calorie expenditure and muscle maintainance + superhydration = fat loss. This is different from what I have read elsewhere, but it appeals to common sense. Can this be optimized by low intensity bike, jog, etc?

Your questions about efficiency & how much we NEED is the bottom line for me. I DO NOT enjoy cardio. I would rather do something else. If HIT is all I NEED, I won't bother with the cardio bike.

OR, will cardio INTERFERE with muscle growth and building after HIT. What I mean is that it seems Darden pushes lots of REST and FOOD during the specialization programs to build the muscles. Also, he says not to exert yourself in a way that is not normal (exercise, etc.). This may just be for specialized programs because of the extra demand for 2 weeks. What do you think?
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FamilyMan

Missouri, USA

Cherry wrote:
I would include cardio on the off days. HIT will burn calories but you can't do it everyday. I do ~40-60 mins of cardio everyday.


This is an approach I was wondering about - Will a little cardio on off days optimize fat burning, yet not interfere with the benefit of HIT?

Personally, I'm not thinking 40-60 minutes. Like I said, I don't ENJOY cardio.
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davise

I have done and will continue to do cardio as long as I get tested on running for my job. That being said you don't need it for general health if you do a metabolic type workout ie little rest between sets and big exercises. I did this with very little rest between sets today and almost lost my breakfast.

20 rep squat
Stifflegged deadlift
Calf Raise
Military Press
Weighted Chins
Weighted Dips
Shrugs
Barbell Curls
Weighted Crunches
Reverse Wrist Curl
Wrist Curl

I collaspsed to the floor and after I got up I stretched a little and hit the shower and took a nap. I'm still beat as every set was a max effort (in good form...3 up 3 down and a 1 second contraction in non lockout type exercises). On squats, presses, sldl and dip I did not lockout so I could keep continuous tension on the muscle.
I have two olympic bars, some dumbbells, a power rack and a curl bar and a chin/dip station so I was able to set everything up so I could fly through it....got a bowflex ultimate also and will incorporate it into my workout sooner or later. Needless to say my heart was beating like I had just sprinted uphill..
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spud

Max, we discussed this on another thread. After our initial disagreement we came to an understanding.

We come from different genetic backgrounds by the sounds of things and that is why you need cardio and I don't.

===============


Max wrote:
NATUREBOY,

I agree. I can maintain a weight of 230lbs. on roughly 2000 calories. Without cardio I would have to drop my calories ridiculously low, so low that it may be unhealthy.

spud wrote:
I see now why you do cardio.

What volume, frequency, and intensity of cardio do you do? Do you vary it at all?

2000 calories a day to maintain a weight of 230 lbs??!! and you say you can see your abs at that weight??!!

Is that a joke?

I have to eat about 5000 calories a day to maintain a lean weight of 175 lbs.

That's probably why I don't do any cardio :-)

Max wrote:
I usually go for a walk with my wife every evening after dinner. Plus I try to do 3-4 days on my stationary bike or a jog on the treadmill for about 30 minutes first thing in the morning. You sound like you a very ecto, me, I'm the opposite, I was really fat, around 280lbs.
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spud

FamilyMan wrote:
Thanks for the reply. I read the Florida dreams article. Reduced calories (carb rich) + HIT for calorie expenditure and muscle maintainance + superhydration = fat loss. This is different from what I have read elsewhere, but it appeals to common sense. Can this be optimized by low intensity bike, jog, etc?


Would fat loss results be significantly better or come much quicker if you did cardio?

Probably a bit quicker, but would a greater % of weight loss come from fat? I personally doubt it.

If you are naturally lean(ish) then you probably don't need cardio. If you don't like it, it means you probably won't stick to it in the long run. So it's pointless.

Even if Max's assertion that you NEED to cardio to get extremely lean is true (I don't think it is true for everybody) you have to ask yourself how lean you want to get.

If you can get to 8-10% body fat without cardio you will look great.

Most people simply do not have what it takes mentally to get to5% body fat or less with or without cardio. Even if they do, they can't stay there for longer. It's just too harsh on the body and the mind. That kind of level of body fat is usually reserved for models or bodybuilders doing a photo shoot or some kind of physique contest. The human body does not want to be that lean. There's a reason professional bodybuilders have an off season and why the people like Andy McCutcheon (the model from the new HIT) are usually 10% body fat instead of 3 or 4%. But you aren't those people. You are just an average guy wanting to get leaner.

No amount of cardio can undo the negative effects of a poor diet. Diet is the priority. Besides, you'll be getting healthier by getting leaner anyway.

FamilyMan wrote:
OR, will cardio INTERFERE with muscle growth and building after HIT.


Yes. It may not mean that you lose pounds and pounds of muscle every week, but you certainly won't build any.

Bare in mind that you aren't going to build a lot of muscle when you are in caloric deficit anyway.

Look at the results achieved by the guys in the Florida article. It looks like you'll be able to build 1 or 2 pounds of muscle for every 10-15 lbs of fat you lose. It' the fat loss that is noticeable, not the 3-5 pounds of muscle, as that muscle is distributed evenly over your entire frame.

Extra rest is certainly a good thing, but extra calories? Not if you are trying to get lean.
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Ellington Darden

Family Man,

I would NOT recommend that you do cardio on your off days. If you are still trying to build muscle, then it will probably interfere with that process. You're better off resting on those days.

If you must do cardio, do it on the same days as HIT.

See if can get a copy of my 1995 book, "Living Longer Stronger," for all the details.

I'm pleased that you are joining us in our discussion forum. You and Kari did a terrific job with the calf blast.

Ellington
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FamilyMan

Missouri, USA

spud wrote:
We come from different genetic backgrounds by the sounds of things and that is why you need cardio and I don't.

===============

My extended family is shaped like Santa Clause. I was fortunate to get down to 11% bf the other year. However, I am now recovering from a 18 month "BULKING" phase. Bulking wasn't a good idea. I think Darden's idea of leaning, and then adding lean mass may be more beneficial to me.

As you said, genetic background makes a difference.

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FamilyMan

Missouri, USA

Ellington Darden wrote:
See if can get a copy of my 1995 book, "Living Longer Stronger," for all the details.

I'm pleased that you are joining us in our discussion forum. You and Kari did a terrific job with the calf blast.

Ellington


Thanks, Dr. Darden. I felt that my body responded well to the HIT training. Dare I say that it responded better than it has to the HVT we have been doing? We have gained muscle and lost fat since starting HIT with the Big Arms Challenge. I think there are some gems here that we should mine. Good stuff.

Thanks for the advice. We will look for "Living Longer Stronger".
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BF Bullpup

Massachusetts, USA

I've seen your posts at T-Nation, FamilyMan. I was wondering when you'd visit the HIT boards. Welcome. :-)

I've done cardio 4-5x a week in the past as well as strength training. That was in college. 5 years after college, I'm at the leanest of my life and I haven't done regular cardio in a couple of years. It's just my experience, although I am eating healthier and getting more sleep nowadays.

HIT training is my cardio. It usually takes me 25-35 minutes, depending on how many sets and so on. At the end of my HIT sessions, my heart rate has NEVER been below 70%. The key is to move from exercise to exercise with as little rest as possible.

I believe you train at home, right? Good, that will make it easier for you to change exercises. I still like to train in a commercial gym, but I pay for it thanks to my gym's "put away the plates when you're done" policy.

I know it's hard to believe that weight training alone can be cardio. I decided to try this more than a year ago and now I'm convinced. If I were to do cardio again, it would be solely to condition myself for a sport (I'd like to go back to playing rugby after I finish graduate school), as regular cardio is, in my opinion, better than HIT for building your stamina.

Thought I'd chime in as somebody who is happy with here he is without cardio.
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Max

Oklahoma, USA

spud,

We have talked about this before and I guess my point now is that just from my observations of others and myself, I have seen anyone has been able to get extremely lean for a contest without cardio which allows you to eat a little more so you don't become disgustingly skinny. Have you ever tried to get in contest shape? I have to agree though that getting into reasonable shape for more people can probably be accomplished without cardio. But FamilyMan said "My extended family is shaped like Santa Clause" so most likely he will have to keep up with some cardio to stay fairly lean. But I guess he can try no cardio and see how it goes, if it's not working then throw it in. Like we've discussed, everyone is different so you have to see what works for you. So, sorry, I guess I got sidetracked with the initial point of this thread.

By the way FamilyMan, I saw your posts on T-Nation, great job to you and your wife with the arm and calf workouts. I didn't do the arm challenge but I did the calves because they were lagging and I got great results. Pick up as many of Dr. Darden's books that you can find, he really knows what he's talking about...though I guess I disagree about this cardio thing : )
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tylerg

I may be a little late here but I concur fully with Dr. Darden.

I train H/S and college athletes, mainly female. We do HIT 2x per week throughout the length of my clinic (6-8 weeks). The clinic involves "cone" work for agility and quickness,some other speed/quickness work and "vertical jump training."

The last 2-3 weeks of the clinic, the jumping component is done Tabata style, or High Intensity Interval Training. This is done after the speed/agility work and before the weights.

The girls have commented on how they drop weight during this period. Please note, they follow the Hard Body Challenge eating plan, so they eat healthy and with moderation.

Again, they are females aged 14-20 and they only workout two days per week. One of the things that I measure is heart rate and the improvement over the course of the clinic is amazing, especially after the last 2 weeks.

I am a firm believer in full body workouts (especially for athletes) and full body recovery, especially when the working out is intense.

Tyler
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spud

Max wrote:
Have you ever tried to get in contest shape?


No. I have neither the genetics nor the inclination to compete in a contest.

Max wrote:
But FamilyMan said "My extended family is shaped like Santa Clause" so most likely he will have to keep up with some cardio to stay fairly lean.


He wrote that after I logged off so I didn't see it. I would say se how it goes with no cardio and then if you feel you need it, introduce it very gradually.
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Drew Baye

Florida, USA

http://baye.com/...baye-june95.jpg

Contest shape. No cardio, just HIT
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saseme

Drew,

Do you think it is at all possible to maintain that kind of shape(family and business permitting) year round, or is it only possible periodically because it's too physically taxing or such?
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BF Bullpup

Massachusetts, USA

Drew Baye wrote:
http://baye.com/...baye-june95.jpg

Contest shape. No cardio, just HIT


I'm not surprised anymore. I just PMed a figure competitor and to my surprise, she told me that she doesn't do cardio at all, not even before a contest. I'm at 10% bodyfat and I haven't done cardio in more than a year. From today on, I'm regarding cardio as pointless for body composition changes. Well, maybe that's a bit harsh...?
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Cherry

I don't really understand this discussion. Aside from health and longevity benefits, I see nothing magical about cardio, it just burns additional calories. Of course, don't eat those surplus calories in first place and you won't have to burn them off with activity.

However, max says cardio can help you spare muscle loss while dieting. I didn't know this, and I'm not sure how it would work.



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Landau

Florida, USA

Health and Longevity from "cardio" is a pipe dream, pure conjecture. Wishfull thinking at best, and you say this as a matter of fact, which it is not. Well documented in The Truth About Exercise by Kolata. David
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Cherry

Landau wrote:
Health and Longevity from "cardio" is a pipe dream, pure conjecture. Wishfull thinking at best, and you say this as a matter of fact, which it is not. Well documented in The Truth About Exercise by Kolata. David


Right off the top of my head... I've seen about half dozen studies demonstrating a reduced risk of mortality with cardio fitness. Cardio can also reduce pulse pressures and improve artery stiffness, I posted several studies to that effect in recent past. I'd say those are health benefits, wouldn't you?

What is Kolata's argument against cardio?

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splice

Cherry wrote:
Landau wrote:
Health and Longevity from "cardio" is a pipe dream, pure conjecture. Wishfull thinking at best, and you say this as a matter of fact, which it is not. Well documented in The Truth About Exercise by Kolata. David

Right off the top of my head... I've seen about half dozen studies demonstrating a reduced risk of mortality with cardio fitness. Cardio can also reduce pulse pressures and improve artery stiffness, I posted several studies to that effect in recent past. I'd say those are health benefits, wouldn't you?

What is Kolata's argument against cardio?




YOu have a study for everything. You can find a study for everything. SO what's the big deal? YOu do cardio that's great keep doing it. Other's here do not do cardio and can probably run a few miles just the same.

If it helps you lean out out then do it. IF you can do it with diet and lifting alone then hell do that.

Cardio will and does blow.
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Cherry

splice wrote:
Cherry wrote:
Landau wrote:
Health and Longevity from "cardio" is a pipe dream, pure conjecture. Wishfull thinking at best, and you say this as a matter of fact, which it is not. Well documented in The Truth About Exercise by Kolata. David

Right off the top of my head... I've seen about half dozen studies demonstrating a reduced risk of mortality with cardio fitness. Cardio can also reduce pulse pressures and improve artery stiffness, I posted several studies to that effect in recent past. I'd say those are health benefits, wouldn't you?

What is Kolata's argument against cardio?

YOu have a study for everything. You can find a study for everything. SO what's the big deal? YOu do cardio that's great keep doing it. Other's here do not do cardio and can probably run a few miles just the same.

If it helps you lean out out then do it. IF you can do it with diet and lifting alone then hell do that.

Cardio will and does blow.



Some studies are worthy of attention because they are so well designed or the results are replicated over and over in succesive studies. A study is a tool. A "Truth" in the real universe is very complicated and elusive. Believe it or not it helps to look elsewhere other than our imaginations for the answers.

:)
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james pate

Ontario, CAN

Cherry wrote:
I don't really understand this discussion. Aside from health and longevity benefits, I see nothing magical about cardio, it just burns additional calories. Of course, don't eat those surplus calories in first place and you won't have to burn them off with activity.

However, max says cardio can help you spare muscle loss while dieting. I didn't know this, and I'm not sure how it would work.



Hi folks
I have to agree. Running/cardio is not as effective as I wish it was. I dont have any studies to quote. All I have is my own personal experience.

I spent most of my life as a runner. Running was a major activate from the age of 11 to 39. To be honest I loved to run cross country. I was always lean. As I got into my mid 20s, I found it to be a great stress relief. It would help me unwind from the work day.

I never considered a gym until after I damaged my left knee in a work accident in 1997. I went to the gym out of desperation. I was no longer lean. I weighed in at 215lbs plus.

Over the next 3 to 4 years I worked out 3 to 5 times a week; starting with a 3 mile run in 30 mins, followed by lifting weights at random until I was totally spent. This did lean me out again, but for all my work I never gained any muscle mass.

My weight stayed constant at 192-195lbs until I was laid up once again for a year in 2002. I was 36yrs old and my weight went as high as 220lbs while I was idle. Once I got back into my regular routine of a 3 mile warm up plus weights, I did lose some weight but I never regained original weight of 192-195lbs. I had evened out at the 200lbs mark, with little definition to my arms and chest and a midsection of fat that would not move.

Having pickup the New HIT in December this past year was when things started to change. After 6 months on the beginning routines while recovering from a minor back injury, I have started the leaning process as Ellington describes. My arms are building even as I and leaning out. I know that I am building muscle mass. I believe that the calorie reduced diet would also work with my old routine but there would be little or no muscle growth.

It is good to have the knowledge and experience in the book available here in the forums as well where people are putting HIT to work. In closing, I do remember asking a personal trainer about a HIT program being promoted at the gym in 1999. He told my to forget it as it was only for really bodybuilders and not the likes of me. ;)

Regards
James
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