Here’s what you need to know…
• When using cardio while dieting, begin by doing the minimum necessary for fat loss, not the maximum.
• The most effective cardio for retaining muscle is the kind you don’t need to recover from, which is walking.
• When it comes to doing cardio for fat loss, it’s either slow and easy (walking) or fast and torrid (HIIT). The middle ground can make you fatter.
• Don’t think of HIIT as calorie burning cardio, but rather muscle building cardio.
Whenever the topic of “cardio” comes up, it always ignites a firestorm of differing opinions, most dealing with how much people hate it or how you have to do it to get shredded. What never gets clearly explained, though, is the context and reasoning for which it’s being done. This is crucial to understand, because cardio from a conditioning and endurance standpoint is going to be very different from a physique and bodybuilding perspective.
For a competitive athlete, it’s likely very important that some kind of energy systems work be performed that either prepares them for their sport or aids in building overall work capacity. In contrast, for a physique competitor, cardio is employed for the sole purpose of either weight control/maintenance or creating a calorie deficit for fat loss. Energy systems development is likely a non-issue, provided the physique competitor is lifting with enough frequency and relative intensity.
Still, when it comes to doing cardio for fat loss, bodybuilders – if they want to preserve their muscle mass – need to take it either slow and easy or fast and torrid. The middle ground can actually make you fatter.