As promised in the previous part the context for exploiting cardio is to be established here, along with setting up a foreseeable estimation of fat loss and maybe the timeline
including all the tactics in an easy
to follow regimen for maximizing the fat oxidation while staving off muscle mass loss. If you’ve landed here, check out the First part of this strength-lean series to know what’s uP!
Just like any other training or dietary parameter, popularity of cardio has swayed either way from being the poster child for fat loss to being sunned as a catabolizing muscle-eating monster! In the 70-80s the bodybuilders used to lean out by hours of walking on treadmill daily. Though, the overall calories burned by walking is lower, such low intensity cardio where you heart rate doesn’t even cross 60% of MHR burns almost only Fat hence preserving glycogen in your muscles and by extension muscle mass.
To know more about every type of cardio and how to perform them and how many calories they burn, check out this Article.
Recently HIIIT or high intensity interval training is the popular kid on the block. Plenty research papers are enumerating the “unbelievable” benefits of interval training like large GH (preserves muscle mass) and epinephrine (extracts fat from fat cells) output, larger fat oxidation even after the exercise is stopped and much greater cardiovascular fitness. As per the physiological pitfalls mentioned in the aforementioned every type of cardio article, HIIT is not feasible for the majority of people.
Briefly put, not everyone can perform at the intensity required to kick start all the desired chemical wizardry. Similar chemical response is achievable by prolonged fasts. Even world-class athletes who can perform HIIT are only able to maintain such intensity for a maximum of 1-2 minutes. Even then the difference between calories burned per minute are is that great ( ~ 6cal /min vs ~20 cal/min ). And the after-effect is merely 15% of the actual calories burned while performing the intervals. which is apparently the biggest selling point of HIIT according to mainstream sources.
So a fit guy who performs say 15 intervals of 1 minute high intensity and 2 minutes of low intensity to normalize lactate levels is no better than….shit I don’t know let’s do some math.
15 x 1 x 20 = 300 calories (from the high intensity part of the interval)
15 x 2 x 3.5 = 105 calories (from the low intensity part of the interval)
Total calories burned = 300 + 105 = 405. Adding the 15% overhead for the “unbelievable” after-burner/turbo metabolism/any-term-to-make-you-think-you’re-a-machine – 405 x 1.15 = 465 calories in total.
Now, assuming the same guy does moderate intensity cardio for one hour. Calories burned would be 60 x 6.5 = 390 calories. Though lower than calories burned from 45 minutes of intervals, it’s lower by only 75 calories and anyone can perform moderate intensity aerobics for one hour or more. The bigger picture here being any kind of exercise can’t do shit if the diet is whacky, A Big Mac Burger has 540 calories, add some soda and almost two hours of cardio down the gutter or shall I say, gullet.
Now, that’s the bigger picture but not the complete picture. True value of cardio is in priming up the fat oxidation pathways. Most of the cardio routines fail either due to failed diet (overeating) or due to overzealous efforts i.e too much too often while starving leading to elevated cortisol via a stress feedback loop. Point being, more is not better for cardio or any kind of strenous exercise. Think of them as the activators of the furnace rather than the furnace itself. We are going to use the moderate intensity cardio to kick start our fat loss day and as an active recovery from the previous day of weight training.
Active recovery works by warming up your core temperature and pumping blood in and out of the muscles gently massaging them from inside and redistributing the nutrient and electrolyte balance in the whole system. Plus as I’ve already pointed out in the 3rd part, fasting for 12 hours or more releases growth hormone is spurts along with epinephrine hence extracting triglycerides molecules from our fat cells into our bloodstream to be burned as fuel.
Our fasted cardio day will exploit this enhanced availability of fat cells in the bloodstream for maximizing the fat loss, coupled with how we’re not going to eat anything until the evening basically prolonging the fast and creating a large deficit of 1000 to 1200 calories that day, tons of fat would be burned. Also that window of eating I know I usually give a number so yeah that’s 1000/3500 = .28 or 1200/3500 = .34 pounds in a day, but don’t go on and multiply it by 7 to get a weekly fat loss number, that would put you in the rapid fat loss category.
You would lose that much fat on the cardio aka large deficit days only. On the lifting days, the diet is to be set around maintenance calories. Trick is to be slightly below it by not adding the calories expended while lifting in your DEE. So you would get a nice 200 – 300 calorie deficit and combined with the 1000 to 1200 deficit of other day, average daily deficit would be around 600 – 750! That’s huge, a weekly fat loss of 700 x 7 = 4900 / 3500 = 1.4 pounds or .64 kilos without any lean body mass loss and eating plenty.
Have a carb-heavy breakfast (the carb-preload) - lift heavy 7RM x 4 Workout A/B - Eat a large meal with protein and carb, eat a second large meal while keeping the total calories of all the meals combined at aroud maintenance - fast begins - fast continues the next day till evening - do cardio for 30-45 minutes - eat heavy meal while keeping the calories at least 1000 below maintainance, combined with the cardio the net deficit would be enough - One Cycle Complete - workout + maintenance / fast + cardio - REPEAT until 10% body fat fuaaarkkkk.
Everything that has to be said, has been said. In-depth explanation has been provided. Now those who have been reading every article here religiously can figure out the setting up of timeline on their own. Though, I will provide few configurations in the next part; for those who only want to know “what do?”.
Check out the Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 & | part 5 of this series.
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