How Much Cardio Should I Do To Lose Weight? How Much Is Too Much?

QUESTION: I’m trying to lose weight, and I just wanted to know how much cardio you think I should do? How many times per week? How many minutes each time?

I’ve also been reading a lot of your articles and I’ve seen you mention that doing too much cardio can lead to muscle loss, so I was also wondering what you’d consider “too much” to be?

ANSWERIf you’re a regular reader of mine, then you probably know my general opinion of cardio. Which is… I think it sucks.

Especially as a tool for improving body composition (losing fat, building muscle). For that sort of thing, I actually think cardio is highly overrated and much less useful than most people think/hope it is.

I also don’t find typical forms of it (like jogging on a treadmill) to be all that fun or enjoyable. Plus, like the person asking this question mentioned, there is legit potential for cardio to negatively effect muscle maintenance.

So to recap, I think cardio is overrated, boring and doing too much has the potential to be problematic. Wow, sign me up!

Having said that, it CAN still be a useful fat loss tool. So if you’ve determined that you need/want to do some for that purpose, that’s totally fine and exactly what you should do. The question is, how much?

How Much Cardio Should You Do?

There’s two answers to this. Let’s start with the broader, simpler one…

You should do the exact amount necessary to accomplish the goal you’re doing this cardio for in the first place, but not so much that it has a negative impact on any other goals you may also have (assuming of course other goals exist beyond the goal the cardio is being done for).

Now let’s complicate things a bit by looking at the two most common people I get this question from…

An Athlete Training For Their Sport

In the case of some kind of athlete training for a specific sport or event who only really cares about that sport or event, they should simply do whatever amount of cardio activity is needed to support those goals. Not quite rocket science, I know.

But I obviously can’t you give an exact amount here because it will vary significantly from person to person based on their specific needs and the needs of the sport they’re training for. Not to mention, as someone who has little to no interest whatsoever in endurance sports, I probably wouldn’t be the best person to ask in the first place.

I point this out in a blatant attempt to hopefully start getting less emails from sprinters and marathon runners in the future.

Someone Trying To Lose Weight/Get Leaner

Now what about the case of someone who wants to lose weight while ensuring that “weight” is only body fat and not lean muscle. You know… the old lose fat without losing muscle goal. Which, by the way, should be the goal of everyone trying to lose fat (although the obese won’t need to worry until they’re leaner).

Well, the first thing you need to keep in mind is that unlike an athlete training for a sport where this sort of activity is a requirement, cardio is completely optional for losing fat.

Seriously. The one and only requirement for fat loss is a caloric deficit, and that can happen through diet alone with absolutely no cardio being done whatsoever.

For me personally, that’s my preferred way of doing it. If anything, I view cardio (and other forms of “fat burning” exercise like metabolic training) more as a last resort option to go to when I’m trying to get extra lean and my progress has stalled, but I’ve reached a point where I’d rather start increasing calorie output instead of reducing calorie intake.

Which is honestly rare as hell.

And generally speaking, that’s what I’d recommend to most people. It’s typically more efficient and sustainable to just eat a few hundred fewer calories per day than it is to burn those same few hundred calories every day through additional activity. More about that here: How To Lose Weight Without Exercise

So… my default advice is to let your diet set your deficit, continue/start weight training to maintain muscle (or in some cases simultaneously build muscle), and skip the cardio until you really need it. Or just skip it, period.

But hey, that’s just me, and I realize not everyone is like me.

It turns out some people prefer to use cardio to set/help set their deficit rather than just doing it through their diet alone. And that’s perfectly fine. More about that here: Should I Do Cardio On My Rest Days? and What Is The Best Way To Lose Weight

So now the question is, if a person will be doing cardio for the purpose of losing weight and getting leaner, how much should they do? Simple…

Do whatever amount is needed to put yourself in the required caloric deficit you need to be in for fat loss to occur.

So let’s pretend some example person figured out their maintenance level, created an ideal-sized deficit, and came to the conclusion that they need to be at about 2000 calories per day for fat loss to occur. (This is just an example amount, of course. To figure out your maintenance level and create your deficit, read the diet guide.)

To make this happen, our example person can:

  • Consume 2000 calories per day and do no cardio whatsoever.
  • Consume 2500 calories per day and do an amount of cardio that allows them to burn 500 additional calories thus ending up at the same 2000 they need to be at.
  • Consume 2250 calories and do an amount of cardio that burns 250 additional calories, thus arriving at the same 2000 calories.

These 3 scenarios (and other similar ones that use numbers different than the example ‘500’ and ‘250’ I happened to use because they’re nice and even) will all have the exact same fat loss effect for this example personAs long as the same deficit ends up being there in the end, that’s really all that matters.

Your goal is to figure out which scenario is most efficient, convenient, preferable and sustainable for you… and do it. Simple as that.

If that happens to be the first scenario (my personal preference), that’s fine. How much cardio should you do? Zero.

If it happens to be the second or third scenario, that’s fine too. How much cardio should you do then? That depends on your specific needs.

As much as you want me to just say “do X minutes of cardio Y days per week,” I hope you see that it’s a bit more complicated than that and the exact amounts for X and Y will vary based on exactly how much cardio you require — in conjunction with your diet — for your deficit to exist.

So one person might need to do 600 calories worth of cardio 3 times per week. Maybe 5 times per week. Maybe 325 calories worth 4 times per week. Maybe dozens of other amounts dozens of other frequencies. Basically, whatever amount you need to be doing to burn the calories you need to burn to create your deficit and cause fat loss… that’s the amount you should do.

If you’re looking for an estimate of how many calories various forms of cardio actually burn in a given period of time, Google is your friend. Search for something like “calories burned” and get a few million answers.

And don’t worry, as long as the amount of cardio being done isn’t too much, you’ll be just fine.

What? What’s that you’re yelling at your screen? Oh, I hear ya…

But How Much Cardio Is Too Much?

As mentioned earlier, one of the downsides to cardio (besides how boring traditional forms of it are and how it burns less calories than we wish it did) is that doing too much of it has the potential to be problematic.

How so? By negatively affecting weight training performance, recovery and your ability to maintain muscle and strength in a deficit.

The higher the frequency (2-4 days per week or 7 days per week?), duration (20-30 minutes or 60-90 minutes?) and/or intensity (walking or HIIT?), the higher that potential risk is.

To eliminate this risk, you just need to put together a combination of these 3 factors that doesn’t add up to being “too much.” And so the question is… just how much is too much?

Unfortunately, there is once again no exact answer to give you. Why? Because what constitutes “too much cardio” will vary from person to person based on everything from individual work capacity and recovery capabilities to sleep, stress and age.

Plus, how your weight training program is designed. For example, are you training with some kind of idiotic high volume bodybuilding routine, or something more ideal for deficit conditions? You know, like my Fat Loss + Muscle Maintenance program from Superior Fat Loss.

It all plays a role. So, what might be too much cardio for one person could be perfectly fine for another.

For this reason, I still can’t provide the exact X and Y figures you’re looking for. What I can do however is help you know when it’s happening…

What “Too Much” Looks And Feels Like

Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to pay close attention to everything. Then, I want you to answer the following sets of questions:

  1. Is weight training performance going well? Are you maintaining (or possibly improving) your strength levels? Are those workouts feeling okay overall? If so, that’s a very good sign that everything is probably fine.
  2. Is weight training performance starting to drop off quite a bit? Are your strength levels beginning to decrease? Are you feeling borderline dead during those workouts? If so, that’s a very good sign that everything is not fine.

Similarly, you should also pay attention to how you’re feeling outside of the gym and answer another set of questions:

  1. Are you feeling good? Does everything seem fairly normal and typical for what comes with being in a deficit for the purpose of losing fat? If so, awesome… you’re probably just fine.
  2. Are you noticeably more tired, run down and just “out of it” than usual? Are you having trouble sleeping or maybe getting sick more often than normal? Does your body and/or mind feel as though you just might be doing a bit too much training? If so, that’s a damn good sign that you probably are.

Basically, if everything seems to be going well and you feel pretty good, I’d say keep on doing what you’re doing.

On the other hand, if you’re starting to feel like crap and weight training performance isn’t going well (or at least as well as one should realistically expect in a deficit), I’d take that as a sign that it’s time to adjust and reduce something somewhere.

And assuming you’re already doing everything else right (e.g. weight training is adjusted properly, deficit isn’t excessively large, you’re doing cardio after weights, etc.), cardio would be the first place I’d look to for making that reduction. This doesn’t mean doing none whatsoever. It could just mean cutting back on the total number of days you’re doing it, or the duration you’re doing it for each time, or how intense your chosen form of it is.

Just keep in mind however that reducing any aspect of cardio means you’re reducing calories burned, so your diet will need to make up the difference in order for your deficit to continue to be present.

Which, in my opinion, is the ideal way for most people to be approaching fat loss anyway.

By the way… if you’d like to see more specific guidelines for how much cardio I recommend doing for losing fat (without experiencing the various problems “too much” of it can cause), exactly what type I recommend, and exactly when and how often I recommend doing it, I lay it all out in my Superior Fat Loss program. It also includes an option for doing no cardio whatsoever if you happen to hate it as much as I do.

99 thoughts on “How Much Cardio Should I Do To Lose Weight? How Much Is Too Much?”

99 Comments

  1. Thanks for explaining this in detail. It covers my goals and needs, and now I feel much better about how much cardio I need. Very well written and easy to understand. Thanks again!

      • Hey I know this was posted a while back but I’ve been reading all your articles trying to figure out how to work out efficiently. I would like a bit of guidance. As a young, skinny girl I need to work on muscles. I found this chick on youtube called “blogilates.” She basically does pilates except fast paced, and with many many reps. You basically repeat these movements till you get really sore, but through doing two days of her “wokout calendar” my muscles not only burned like crazy, but I also sweat more than I ever have from running. She tells people to do these 6 days a week for an hour a day and it supposedly gives you lean muscles but also burns fat.
        She does these workouts for free with 3 million followers and it seems like she’s helped many, but I want to know your opinion about it. Should I continue these workouts or do you think it’s way too much work for nothing? And are her workouts therefore a mix of strength and cardio? Also have you heard of T25? My bf does this and it seems to be helping him a bit (as a beginner though) but it sounds similar to this blogilates chick. Basically a bunch of movements (no weights) sore muscles, and lots of sweating. Is this at all considered an effective workout? I’m guessing these workouts would be effective for both of us as beginners but not as effective in the long run maybe? thanks, Lid

    • Over the last year I have lost 100 lbs through eating smaller portions and fewer calories. I went from 27 st 8 lbs down to now, 20 10 lbs
      I should have, but I didn’t set foot in a gym and due to this have been left with the ‘skinny fat look ( skin starting to go lose) and I would like to solve this rather than let it get worse.

      I’ve joined the gym but go no idea about training. I read and decided upon this plan to follow.

      Eating a high protein diet at around 1800 calories for a full day, following your beginners weight training plan for 3 days a week and not doing any cardio and seeing where I am in 3 months.

      What do you think, would this help me and be right for someone in my condition. I want to build muscle and get definition. What do you think?

    • I knew someone would ask this.

      For the average out of shape sedentary person and/or someone with some kind of health issue who has a doctor who told them to start doing cardio, sure… go nuts.

      For the average person who is already weight training intelligently, I’d remind them that they’re already getting plenty of cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory benefits from that alone. That’s not to say we shouldn’t do cardio for ‘health’ purposes if we wanted to. You certainly can. It’s just to say that weight training (especially assuming it’s not entirely sets of 3-5 reps with 5 minutes of rest between sets) will provide many similar ‘health’ benefits.

    • Probably yes but doesn’t it also depend on many variables, how old you are, how overweight, what your goals are?

      Depends what cardio. Jogging can result in bad back, bad knees, a hip replacement.

      Working out drives up your heartbeat, gets your lungs working – its a form of cardio in itself.

    • Idem.

      I’m not interested in cardio for fat loss purposes what I do want to improve my cardiovascular resistance at some point (not doing it right now because I’m already struggling with bulking, so burning even more calories is not going to help me).
      But when I get to the point where I’m satisfied with my size I’d like to do some cardio (well maybe not the typical treadmill or stationary bike cardio, which is plain boring).

  2. I love your perspective and practical answers. Thanks for writing in a manner that resonates with the general population.

  3. So, can you not be a runner and have muscles at the same time? Do you have to chose between cardiovascular endurance or strength? I’m not an athlete, but I would like to be able to run faster and longer without running out of breath, but I also want to get stronger.

    Currently I go for a brisk walk every other day and try to go a little faster each time. I have 5 more pounds to lose before I go into a surplus and start a beginner workout routine. At that time should I stop doing cardio because it will affect my progress, or can I increase my surplus to make up for the cardio?

    If I stop the cardio will weight lifting alone be enough to increase my heart health and help me to run faster and longer? I am a sedentary person and my walks are the only form of exercise I get currently if that makes a difference.

    • First, there’s a reason marathon runners look like crap. Extreme endurance goals like that don’t exactly work well with goals like muscle growth. Generally speaking, a person will do best focusing on one or the other.

      Having said that, there is still definitely a middle ground where someone can do well with both goals. I mean, look at athletes. Depending on the sport, most are strong as hell, fast as hell, explosive as hell, have fantastic endurance AND have built significant amounts of muscle. Obviously steroids and great genetics help here, but a genetically average natural trainee CAN succeed with both goals as well. People do it all the time.

      It’s just a matter of putting things together in a way that best allows this to happen. Or, like I mentioned in this article…

      You should do the exact amount necessary to accomplish the goal you’re doing this cardio for in the first place, but not so much that it has a negative impact on any other goals you may also have (assuming of course other goals exist beyond the goal the cardio is being done for).

    • G-flux? Now there’s something I don’t think I’ve heard about a single time since like 2008. I vaguely remember John Berardi having something to do with it, but I honestly couldn’t give you any thoughts on it now because I don’t remember what it was/is.

      However, if it was anything like many of the other things Berardi was behind around that time (Surge, completely insane caloric intakes for skinny guys, never eating carbs and fat in the same meal, etc.) then there’s a good chance it’s shit.

  4. Well, that just confuses the heck out of me. My goal has been to get rid of the “Belly Fat and Oblique Fat, so here is what I have been doing for the last 7 months:

    Mon, Tues, Wed, Thur, Fri, Sat:

    Treadmill = 6.5 Miles @ 6.2 with a 1 degree incline.

    Mon, Wed, Fri:

    Weight lifting, Planks, sit-ups, crunches, push-ups.

    Diet:

    1600-2000 calories a day
    NO Alcohol
    NO Bread
    Lots of Vegetables
    Lots of Water (with a few drops of MIO)
    Boneless skinless chicken breast

    (I also sometimes have a few oatmeal/raisin cookies with peanut butter [I have to cheat a little])

    I have reduced my weight from 235 to 185lbs, but still can’t lose the oblique fat. My stomach has reduced considerably. What am I not doing right?

    • It sounds like you successfully lost a bunch of fat, but not as much fat as you’d like to lose to be as lean as you’re trying to be. Which means, it’s less about what you’re not doing right, and more about just continuing to do it some more.

      Also, read this.

  5. Hi Jay, I need some advice…last year I lost 20 lbs. of what I’m assuming is muscle as I lost it quickly due to chemotherapy. I’m gaining it back quickly – 10 lbs already and I think it’s all fat – and I want to begin a program to lose fat and gain muscle. I’m a 49 yr old female, who has some experience with weights. How should I begin a program safely and to build up my muscle and strength. I recently bought a set of dumbbells from 5-25 lbs, have resistance bands but that’s all I can afford. Can you give me some pointers?
    Thanks you so much.

  6. Hi Jay,

    Thanks for another cool article. My question is how much protein, carbs and fat do you think is necessary to build muscle? I’m a nearly 32 yr old female. The reason I ask this is because I have been given ratios plus a suggested daily calorie intake but that calorie intake is possibly too high in order to lose weight too. I have managed to let a few kgs of fat creep on and I want to lose them without losing the muscle I’ve built but I’m worried if I lower my calorie intake, and thus lower my protein intake, I’m going to lose muscle, as well as, or as opposed to, fat.

    • There are SOOOOOOO many ways to cut calories, feel full and nail protein numbers. For example, tonight I will each a Tyson Grilled and Ready chicken breast, 110 calories and 26 grams of protein, one 4 ounce filet of grilled tilapia, 90 calories and 22 grams of protein and 3/4 cup of egg whites, 100 calories and about 24 grams of protein. Then my post workout meal I wil have a protein shake, 130 calories, 24 grams of protein and a cup of plain greek yogurt, 120 calories and 21 grams of protein.

      In those two meals, I would have consumed only 550 calories and 117 grams of protein. Double this or close to it and you are at ONLY 1100 calories and 234 grams of protein….that is pretty kick arse.

      It is not hard to reduce calories and maintain high protein intake and not only feel full, but actually BE FULL.

      • Just to add, my golden rule about keeping calories low and protein high NO HIDDEN CALORIES. No oil, no sugar, no butter, no cheese, no creamy type sauces. All of those add hundreds of calories to your meals with a disproportionate amount of protein.

        Chicken over beef.
        Pork over beef.
        Fish to chick is a wash IMHO.

  7. This article couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m at the point where i feel as though if i reduce anymore calories, I’ll starve. lol. I’ve taken up jogging once a week. So far so good. Thanks for the wonderful article as usual, Jay. Keep it up

  8. I’m a 47yo (short) female and have been putting on weight steadily it seems since my neck surgery Oct. 2012. My ideal weight is 120. I’ve done the Atkins type thing before, but this time it’s just not doing anything. I’ve even started to exercise on a regular basis as well. I’ve also tried limiting caloric intake which again, didn’t seem to be working. I don’t want to give up the exercise because I feel great doing it and afterwards have lots of energy for the day. I have about 30 pounds to lose. Can you give me any advise on what you think might work for me?

          • Thanks for re-doing those for me, they’re working this time. 🙂 On another note, if everything you say is true (about caloric deficit) can you explain to me why my husband and daughter are able to eat, I’m guessing, around 3500-5000 calories a day and not gain weight. My husband’s a machinist, which means mostly programming and not much physical at all plus no exercise whatsoever. Then there’s my daughter: she also doesn’t do much physically aside from PE at school. So…..why, if what you say is true, are they able to consume so much and not gain an ounce? It’s really very depressing! There HAS to be something genetic with some people, right?

          • Based on a variety of factors (genetics, hormones, activity level, age, gender, height/weight, NEAT, etc.) one person may gain weight eating X amount of calories, another may maintain weight eating those same X calories, and another may lose weight with the same X calories. No doubt about that.

            As for your specific example, never guess calorie intake. There’s a significantly good chance you’re way off with that 3500-5000 number.

          • I really don’t think I’m that far off, at least not with my husband! He smokes, but can’t at work, so he constantly snacks all day long 5 days a week. He’s only allowed to smoke at his breaks and lunch. He’s always been thin and his daughter takes (greatly) after him! I’m sure she’s probably not consuming that many calories, but I’m pretty sure he is (at least 3500) One of these days I really should calculate how many calories he’s really consuming during the week. Thank you so much for your insightful information thus far! I’m going thru all you sent me and have been tracking my calorie consumption. I’m still reading, but if I remember, I’ll update you in a few weeks as to my progress. Thanks again!

          • Hi Shari, I’m not an expert so just working off of my individual experiences. Nicotine can seriously affect a person’s metabolism and it has a lot to do with the brain. The brain being an extremely greedy organ, adding nicotine to it puts it into overdrive and causes it to actually consume more calories.
            When I quit nicotine 5 years ago, I didn’t change my diet, but ended up putting on about 65 extra pounds. I started up again about 2 years later . . . and poof, I was magically losing weight.

        • I think what you say makes sense but cardio can be used effectively to assist with a variety of mental and physical issues besides weight reduction. For example I suffer from severe chronic pain – cardio helps me more than any other form of alternative medicine, yoga, etc. it also helps fight the related depression that goes with chronic pain. I’m less tired and can take fewer meds. Weight training – even at a brisk, high rep pace isn’t enough alone. Both are necessary to achieve the optimal benefit. Additionally cardio can help with OCD and other mood disorders. I recommend no more than 20 minutes – but interval training one minute working your ass off to one minute at a moderate pace is optimal – on the rower or exercise bike etc. 3 times a week minimum, but no more than 4 or 5 times per week.

          • Classy replies by both of you.

            I’ve successfully cut from 23% body fat down to about 12%. Primarily through eating whole foods, weight training and rebounding/rebounder 3-4 days/week for 10 minutes.

            BUT… I have several mood struggles/cycles and the cardio helps immensely for these. NOW… I DO have to watch the intensity or it affects my next weight training session because of fatigue.

            But it really does work as a natural antidepressant.

            Thanks to you both.

  9. I remember reading some studies saying that the calories burned in treadmills/elliptical (and friends) are usually overestimated (by nearly 40% if memory serves me correctly). This can be quite misleading and your calorie counting will be totally messed up. In the end this can jeopardise your progress and results depending on how much you relied on those values.

    • Yup, something I’ve mentioned before actually. People assume 20 minutes on the treadmill burned 1000 calories, and so they think “I burned 1000 extra calories today, I can surely afford to eat a bunch of additional food now.”

      Plus, it’s one of the many reasons why people think they’re in a deficit but aren’t.

  10. Nice article, good job!

    I still dont know why people would want to waste their time doing boring cardio when they can save time and energy by just leaving those fries and big mac away. Cant help it…

    Anyways, good information for everyone, keep it up!

  11. Good article. Indeed it is possible to lose weight without the use of cardio. However I think doing cardio on a weekly basis is a good idea since it trains one of the most important muscle in the body: the heart.

  12. Really enjoyed this article. I love running, in fact last year I ran over a 1000ks and feel great. While I lost almost 30 lbs I still need to lose more. Over the last few weeks I’ve been doing weight training but will target my training to more what I need from reading your articles. I would really love to run a half marathon this year. Do you think my running and weight training will hurt me in the long run?

  13. HEY Jay !! dude you are freakin awesome ..
    i would like to know something .. what happens if i kept running for the whole day ? will my body keep losing calories or at just certain point my body will quit losing calories ????
    and in general how may hours should may workout or whatever takes ?? some said that i shouldn’t exceed 60 min and some said 90 min .. which is right and whyy ?????

    • 1. Something would have to continue to be burned for fuel, yes.

      2. Are you talking about your weight training workout? If so, I’ll have an article about that coming up at some point.

  14. Thanks for all the advice! Just wanted to let you know I love the your approach to these articles, and find them very helpful and enlightening. I love the approach you have.

    I’ve been doing your beginner workout routine for the last couple months, and it’s been going great! Thanks so much for the clear advice, no BS approach. You made it really easy!

  15. How do you feel about rowing? Like, the ergs Concept 2 makes? It’s been lauded as a total body workout (I find this somewhat dubious, doesn’t really hit chest all that well), easy on the joints, but it is pretty much cardio through and through. Seems it’d be great for sprint workouts though, where you can kick the intensity in immediately, unlike say a treadmill where you have to dick around with the settings and wait for it to gradually get to your changed speed.

  16. How do you feel about rebounding for cardio? I own a bellicon and use it for 30 minuets a day.

  17. Hey Jay. This website is fantastic and you are doing and awesome job at explaining things that i might have never heard in a gym before.

    Quick questions: Reading through your articles i figured out that i qualify as a beginner. I am 6 ft 4” tall with a fairly lean body structure, and have been going to the gym off and on. I would now like to stick to your beginner routine for sometime. Its been 4 days since i’ve joined the gym for the umpteenth time and i hope to stick this time around.

    About warmups: I hear that we should warm up before beginning exercises, and i use 10 min on the treadmill for that. I know you are not a big fan of cardio but is that okay? Anything else you’d recommend?

    Cheers,
    Amit

  18. Appearance aside (caloric deficit will make you look good), but cardio does have many other advantages especially for those of us, Ahemm, aging folks that have hit 40 milestone. Cardio 20-30 minutes for 3-4 days a week has significant benefits to your cardiovascular system. Getting your heart rate up a few times a week is good for your heart!

  19. Thanks man! Clears up a hell lot of my misconceptions! Amazing article and very straightforward to understand unlike a lot of the other bullshit on the internet out there. You’ve linked each article perfectly. Keep up the good work. Thanks again!

  20. Hi! I just read this and other pages of yours. Wow, you clearly know what you’re talking about. I love your no-BS style of writing, the way you answer all questions with knowledge and how you encourage people to think for their specific situations, with SENSE! 🙂 I totally get this page, like, totally get it. I normally do some swimming (this is my PT to address lower back issues), which puts me at a caloric deficit some of the days, and the others I also have to compensate with my nutrition. I am also weight lifting and strength training… but anyway. Thanks for being so thorough. I am in the middle of a program, when I finish it I will treat myself to your guides to learn more about fitness/training/my body/etc… Glad I found you, you’re awesome!

  21. HI Jay, congratulation on a great website! I have been following your posts and I am a big fan! I have a question to ask. I am a 33 year old woman, 5,1 and super petitte, no extra fat anywhere on my body other than my belly where i do have significant amt of fat. i have been doing regular cardio and maintaining a caloric deficit and it has started to show results.. i am also doing ab crunches so that my abs look all nice when they finally come out.Now the question is, since major part of my body is toned, ( i actually love the way my arms and legs look) and stomach is the only probIem area, should i only focus on calorie deficit+ cardio+ ab crunches or start weight training as well? I did start with some weight training(only upper body) and left since losing belly fat was my primary aim. i also want to mention that i am a beginner, i cant take more than 5 kg weights and i have v weak legs. thank you..

  22. I bike commute to work (3hrs/65km total each day) so I get plenty of cardio and legs workout so I work my upper body with weights. I tried weights with my legs but the next-day DOMS forced me to take the car some days so I cut out lower body weight training for now, to be reinstated in the winter. This is my first year of weight/strength training and since I have to find a balance between spring/summer/fall cycling and weight training, it may take me a couple of years to find that balance point.

    So, as per your article, we have to find that balance between cardio and strength training that meets our needs/desires.

    I am creating a significant calorie deficit, according to MapMyRide, I burn about 2600kcal/day but it does come at a time cost (although, riding outside is much more enjoyable than on a stationary bike).

    Nice articles!!!

  23. Hi jay, I’m curious if you know much about Dr Mercola? He’s into super slow weight training… What are your thoughts on that AND HIIT types of cardio that are short but high intensity? Lastly, by you saying you’ve done yrs of research, does that mean you’ve also studied the body apart from what trainers and media throw out there? I.e. do you research any doctors or ppl in medicine and wha they say? Thank you very much

    • Yes, I am quite familiar with Mercola. I can sum up my opinion on him in just 2 words: fucking nutjob. I recommend staying as far away from him and others like him as you possibly can.

      As for super slow training, it’s widely regarded as a joke. Another thing to stay far, far away from (along with Fred Hahn and others who recommend it).

      HIIT on the other hand can be useful. It basically has its own pros and cons, just like steady state cardio. But both are potentially useful under different circumstance.

      Not sure what you’re asking in the last question. Do I research doctors in regards to what exactly? Their medical field, or their thoughts on exercise and nutrition (which are often absolutely horrible)?

  24. How do I eat what I want without counting calories and still lose weight? Does this article say in way too many words to just to work our more than you’re eating?

  25. Thank you for explaining, I needed this article today, totally frustrated with doing too much cardio and my appetite going crazy! When I slow down on the cardio I feel more in control of my diet and calories, so I am going to slow down and just keep lifting, and lower my calories a bit. Thanks again!

  26. i am a delivery courier and burn alot of calories. its hard to build muscle when my job activity continues to burn muscle. how can i sustain my muscle grow without burning it from my work. i feel by eating more calories i tend to just gain fat and not muscle.

    • The key is to closely monitor the amount of extra calories you are eating so that only a very, very small surplus exists and produces a very, very slow and gradual rate of weight gain.

      My book covers this in detail, by the way.

  27. I am a cardio queen, and to me it is just fun, so I may be a little prejudiced, but isn’t cardio also necessary for endurance and higher energy levels? Even if you have that caloric deficit, shouldn’t cardio in some part be a part of everybody’s weekly workout routine? To me, 3-4 days a week, an hour of cardio per day, and incorporating a variety couldn’t possibly be too much for anybody who is fit enough. Somebody who is obese or just starting, maybe 3 days a week, 20 minutes per day. Does that sound wrong?

    • If your goal is endurance, then yes… you need some form of endurance oriented exercise like cardio. If your goal is simply fat loss, cardio is completely optional.

  28. Also, I need to know… what is your opinion on P90X and Insanity? You’ve probably covered this so many times, but I am only just starting to read. These are my two workout programs and Tony and Sean are my boys, so I am very interested in what you think. Thanks!

  29. Could a person who is overweight start the beginner routine and build enough muscle by increasing protein intake to basically support their diet?

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