By Ken “Skip” Hill
I hate cardio. Those that say they like cardio are lying or not right in their head (or both). It was my hatred of cardio that fueled my motivation to find a way to gain the maximum effect from it while doing the least amount of it I possibly could. Most people do their cardio on a daily basis and don’t give much thought to it. They surmise that cardio just needs to be done for X amount of time, and they will get leaner over time. These same people routinely spend a lot of time getting their training, nutrition, and supplementation plans perfect. If you want to get really lean, you better give your cardio protocol just as much attention.
A typical structure for a cardio cycle would look like this:
WEEKS 1–3: 30-minute cardio sessions in steady-state fashion at a heart rate of 120 bpm, six days per week.
WEEKS 4–5: Two sessions per day of 60 minutes in steady-state fashion at a heart rate of 120 bpm, six days per week. After finishing these five weeks you repeat the cycle.
I am not a big fan of high-intensity cardio. Yes, it burns a lot of calories and it can get you lean, but none of us should be in the business of getting lean at all costs. We want to keep every ounce of muscle that we have, and we don’t want to fry our central nervous system in the process. Cardio cycling only uses steady-state cardio.
Cardio cycling keeps your body of balance by not allowing it to get used to the amount of cardio you are doing. It also shocks the body by going from a low amount of cardio to a very high volume of cardio. It is also much easier to mentally attack two weeks of all-out cardio when you know that it will be followed by three weeks of reduced cardio activity.
During the two high-volume cardio weeks, your body weight will usually stay a little higher due to water retention from the added cardio. This is completely normal, and when you switch to the low-volume cardio weeks, the weight will fall quickly as you won’t be holding as much water. This will give the indication that you aren’t losing as much body fat during the high-volume cardio weeks but that isn’t accurate. Remember, the scale is not the last word in whether you are getting leaner. The scale measures only body weight, not your body-fat levels.
It is thought that when your cardio levels come down, you aren’t burning body fat and that just isn’t true. Cardio is not so directly related to body-fat levels that you can do a session and the next day you are leaner. The effects of cardio aren’t seen over hours or a day. They are cumulative. The effects of the two weeks of high-volume cardio can set your metabolism up for the following two to three weeks. This is no different from taking in more calories for a day to offset your metabolism. You won’t burn as much body fat on the high-calorie day, but you are doing that to benefit the following week when you lower calories again. Look at losing body fat through weekly and monthly glasses, not daily or even meal to meal.
If you are progressing ahead of schedule and have lost your goal weight for the week, the amount of cardio scheduled for the rest of the week can be lowered or stopped, entirely. Example: If it is Thursday night and you already have dropped two pounds for the week and this was your goal, you can either cut the cardio for the rest of the week in half or cut it entirely. Just because you aren’t doing cardio doesn’t mean your metabolism stops suddenly or slows down in a day or two. You will still continue to burn body fat even with the lowered volume or stopping the cardio completely.
If you want to make your cardio cycling even more efficient you can add a yohimbine HCL-based fat burner to the mix. There are a lot of yohimbine supplements on the market, but I am a simple guy who likes simple and effective products so my recommendation is truenutrition.com’s BURN fat burner. Combining your cardio cycling regimen with BURN is the fastest way to peel of body fat.
There is no easy way to get ripped. With cardio cycling you won’t waste your time doing a lot of cardio with minimal progress. Anyone can work hard, but the ones who work smart will get better results.