How Much Cardio Should I Do A Day To Lose Weight?

QUESTION: I wanted to know how much cardio you recommend doing a day to lose weight?

Like how many minutes a day? How many days per week? What intensity? What kind of cardio exercise? And how much would you consider to be “too much?”

ANSWER: If you’re a regular reader of mine, then you probably know my general opinion of cardio for the specific purpose of burning calories and losing weight.

Which is… I think it’s highly overrated, inefficient, and mostly just sucks.

Let me explain why.

5 Problems With Doing Cardio To Lose Weight

If you’re planning on doing cardio to burn calories and make weight loss happen, there are a few important things you need to know.

1. It Burns Fewer Calories Than You Think

Yes, cardio burns calories which means it can help you lose weight. Awesome.

However, it burns surprisingly little compared to what most people incorrectly assume (source), and much less than what most trackers, apps, wearable devices, and cardio equipment will claim.

For example, a variety of studies (sources herehereherehere, and here) show various smart wearable devices (e.g. FitBit) aren’t accurate when it comes to tracking calories burned. Most are good enough for tracking steps and heart rate, but they overestimate how much you’re burning.

The truth is, most people doing typical forms of cardio at a typical intensity will end up burning about 5-10 calories per minute. Possibly a little more with a higher intensity activity and/or if the person weighs more than average (a bigger body burns more calories than a smaller body).

But, generally speaking, most people are only going to burn 5-10 calories per minute.

So… 30 minutes on a treadmill? You’ll probably burn 150-300 calories.

An hour on the bike? Maybe 300-600 calories.

Sure, this is still certainly something, but it’s really not that much… especially given the amount of time and effort it takes. And yes, even the “afterburn effect” (aka EPOC) causes significantly less calorie-burn than most people think (source).

This means that cardio has much less of an impact on losing weight than most people realize.

2. It’s Inefficient

Now that you know how many calories cardio actually burns, you can see that you’d need to do a lot of it (often) and/or very high intensity forms of it (often) for it to truly have the significant calorie-burning, weight-loss-causing effect most people would like it to.

The problem with this – besides the fact that excessive amounts of cardio can cause problems of its own (more about that in a minute) – is that it makes cardio an inefficient method for creating your deficit.

Think about it.

To create a daily 500-calorie deficit, you could either A) go to the gym and spend 60 minutes on a treadmill every single day (or however many days per week you plan to use exercise to create your deficit), or B) simply not eat those 500 calories in the first place… a task that literally takes zero seconds to accomplish and can be done anywhere, anytime.

See my point?

Not to mention, it’s ridiculously easy to out-eat whatever amount you’re able to burn. We’re talking wiping out an hour of cardio with just a couple of minutes of eating/drinking more than you intended.

And sure, something like HIIT will burn more calories in less time than a lower intensity activity, but A) it can’t be done for as long, so the total calories burned will often be similar in the end, B) it’s much harder and requires a lot more physical and mental effort, and C) it’s still way less efficient than just eating a little less.

3. It Can Lead To Overeating

Here’s a scenario that happens all the time with people who are trying to lose weight.

A person will do some cardio and assume they burned a lot of calories. In reality, they actually burned much less than they think they did.

But they don’t know this.

So what will often happen at some point later is the person will think “I jogged on a treadmill for 30 minutes today, surely I can now afford to eat this additional 1000-calorie meal.”

And they do that, never realizing they actually only burned 200-300 calories. Which means they unknowingly cancel out whatever deficit they may have created via cardio, and possibly put themselves into a surplus in the process.

This concept of “eating back the calories burned” is one of the many reasons you hear people saying stuff like “I’ve been working out all the time but I’m still not losing weight!” or “I exercise a ton but I’m somehow gaining weight!

In addition to this, some people find that doing cardio makes them waaaay hungrier than they’d otherwise be, and that alone can lead to overeating.

4. Too Much Of It Creates New Problems

Too much of any form of exercise will cause problems, and in my experience, cardio tends to be the type of exercise people overdo the most… probably as a result of trying to burn a useful amount of calories, or lose weight faster, or make up for a poor diet (yeah, good luck with that).

Now what kind of problems are we talking about here?

  1. Overuse injuries, which cardio is a common cause of due to the repetitive movement and impact stress on the knees/ankles.
  2. Recovery related issues, not just in terms of the body parts being used the most (typically the legs with most forms of cardio), but also the central nervous system (CNS)… which affects everything.
  3. Muscle loss and strength loss, because when recovery is an issue, the risk of losing muscle and strength increases quite a bit.
  4. Worsening many of the hormonal and metabolic issues that occur while in a prolonged deficit (e.g. increased cortisol levels, metabolic slowdown, water retention, etc.). Basically all of the things that make losing weight hard. Doing excessive amounts of cardio makes it all even harder.

5. It’s Not Needed

This is more of a fact than a problem, but it’s an important fact.

And that is, for the purpose of losing weight, cardio isn’t needed at all.

The only thing that’s truly required to lose weight is a caloric deficit, and that can very easily be accomplished entirely through diet alone, making cardio completely optional for the purpose of losing weight.

How Much Cardio Should You Do To Lose Weight?

With all of that in mind, let’s get back to that original question.

How much cardio should you do a day to lose weight?

Well, since we know that losing weight is all about being in a sustainable caloric deficit, and we know this can be accomplished entirely through diet alone, the amount of cardio that should be done for this purpose falls somewhere between “none” and “some.”

And the best way to help you figure out where you land on this spectrum, and exactly what “some” would entail for you, is to simplify my recommendation down to this…

Cardio Recommendation

For losing weight, everyone should do the the least amount of cardio necessary.

What does this mean exactly?

Well, if you’re someone who is able to create a sustainable caloric deficit through diet alone and you don’t need or want to do any cardio for that purpose… guess what?

You can feel free to do zero cardio for that purpose.

That’s how I approach fat loss myself, and it’s what I recommend to most people who want to lose weight. At least, for a while.

On the other hand, if you find that you need or simply prefer to do cardio to help you create a sustainable caloric deficit – and it’s done in conjunction with your diet doing most of that work – then you should absolutely feel free to do cardio for that purpose.

How much should you do exactly?

The least amount necessary.

That means using your diet as the primary method for creating your deficit, and then using cardio as a secondary tool for helping you make that deficit exist on any given day in accordance with your needs and preferences on that day.

Whatever that amount of cardio is for you, do that much.

Here’s An Example

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.

To make this happen, our example person can:

  1. Consume 2000 calories per day and do no cardio whatsoever.
  2. Consume more than 2000 calories per day and do an amount of cardio that makes up the difference. (So if they ate 2500, they’d do enough cardio to burn 500 calories.)

With all else being equal, both of these options will have the exact same weight loss effect for this example person. As long as the same deficit is present in the end, the same rate of weight loss will occur.

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

If that happens to be the first option (my personal preference and what I recommend most), that’s fine. How much cardio should you do to lose weight? None.

If it happens to be the second option, that’s fine too. How much cardio should you do to lose weight? The least amount necessary to make it work for you.

Now let’s answer some follow-up questions you probably have…

What type of cardio activity is best for losing weight? Treadmill, bike, elliptical, swimming, sports, classes, etc.?

With all else being equal (frequency, duration, intensity), it’s not going to matter. The difference in calorie-burn between different activities is minor at best.

So, choose whatever activity is most PECS (preferable, enjoyable, convenient, sustainable) for you and makes you most likely to be consistent (aka The PECS Method).

Additional details here: What Are The Best Fat Burning Exercises?

What intensity should my cardio activity be for losing fat? Low, moderate, or high?

For the vast majority of people, low or moderate intensity will be perfect.

I know high intensity cardio sounds the coolest, seems the most special, and will certainly make you feel the most tired and sweaty afterwards (which is fantastic if you’re interested in things that don’t matter).

But the reality is, high intensity cardio for fat loss purposes serves as a lovely way of increasing the potential for problems with little benefit to show for it.

That’s not to say it can’t or shouldn’t be done. It’s just to say that you don’t need it, and it’s both less useful and more problematic than most people realize.

I recommend sticking with low/moderate intensity cardio instead.

When is the most effective time of the day to do cardio?

With all else being equal (frequency, duration, intensity), it will be equally “effective” (i.e. burn the same amount of calories) regardless of when you do it.

Feel free to do it whatever time is most PECS for you.

Should I do cardio or weights first if I’m doing them back-to-back?

Weights first, cardio second.

Of the two, weight training is the activity that typically warrants being in your freshest, strongest, and least fatigued state. So, it makes sense to do that first.

Additional details here: Should You Do Cardio Before Or After Weights?

Do you ever recommend more cardio for certain people?

More cardio than the “least amount necessary”?


For weight loss, that recommendation applies perfectly to everyone.

However, there are certain scenarios when cardio can become a more necessary fat loss tool.

The main scenario that comes to mind is someone who has lower calorie needs.

One example of this would be someone who is trying to go from lean to very lean. Or someone who is smaller (i.e. short, lower body weight) and/or sedentary (see: The 1200 Calorie Diet).

In cases like these, it might make sense to start burning more rather than eating less, because eating less when calorie needs are already low is going to be problematic.

Not just for sustainability, but for health and avoiding nutrient deficiencies. (Additional details here: Very Low Calorie Diets)

But note that even then, cardio is still secondary to diet, and the recommendation is still to do the least amount necessary. It’s just that the necessity is greater in a scenario like this.

How much cardio is too much?

Think of it like this.

Are you losing weight at a healthy and sustainable rate, without experiencing any of the potential downsides of cardio that we talked about earlier?

If so, it sounds like you’re doing an ideal amount of cardio.

If not, it sounds like your balance between diet and cardio is off, and you need to focus more on your diet and less on cardio for the purpose of making your deficit exist.

How much cardio do you recommend for overall health?

Good question.

I answer it in detail here: How Many Steps Per Day And How Much Cardio Per Week For Health

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Jay is the science-based writer and researcher behind everything you've seen here. He has 15+ years of experience helping thousands of men and women lose fat, gain muscle, and build their "goal body." His work has been featured by the likes of Time, The Huffington Post, CNET, Business Week and more, referenced in studies, used in textbooks, quoted in publications, and adapted by coaches, trainers, and diet professionals at every level.

99 thoughts on “How Much Cardio Should I Do A Day To Lose Weight?”


  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.


    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?


  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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