Train Smarter in Less Time

Does burning fat mean endless hours of cardio?

Train Smarter in Less TimeI remember when I first got involved in the world of bodybuilding and everyone I talked to whom I considered knowledgeable in this area all told me the same thing – to get in shape, you’re going to have to bust your ass in the gym with weights, and then bore yourself to death doing endless hours of cardio.

So, I listened to them. For my first competition I spent up to an hour and a half a day lifting weights, and then at my peak, two hours of cardio a day split into a morning session and an evening session.

Did I get in shape?  Oh yeah!
Was I happy with the amount of muscle I was able to maintain doing this? Absolutely not!!

With all of the calorie expenditure I was putting out each day, doing all that cardio, my body had no choice but to eat away at hard earned muscle for energy. Little did I know, but I was doing way too much and actually sabotaging my efforts to be as big and lean and hard as I should have been. I’m really happy to be writing about this topic this week as I think after reading this you’ll save yourself a lot of time spent in the gym and most importantly, all that hard earned muscle you’ve been able to put on.

Weight Training Myths

When it comes to lifting weights, there are many variables that have to be taken into consideration as well as many myths. The only way to decipher fact from fiction is to educate yourself, read everything and listen to accomplished trainers. Remember, there is gym lore and then there is science. I’m betting on science when it comes to my own training and when helping others. Here are a few myths you may have heard:

MYTH #1 – Lifting heavy weight for low reps makes you big and bulky and will not contribute to fat loss.

TRUTH – Lifting heavy weight for low reps will break down muscle tissue, but what you do after (nutrition, supplementation and rest) will predict your body composition. The heavy weights you use will jack up your GH levels for tremendous fat burning.

MYTH #2 – For optimal fat burning, perform cardio first, and then work with weights.

TRUTH – It’s actually the exact opposite. Once you have used up your glycogen stores from lifting weights,
your body is in prime shape for dipping into your fat stores for cardio training.

MYTH #3 – Weight training is for muscle growth, not fat loss.

TRUTH – Not all of us have time to go to the gym a couple times a day, so we have to double up at times.
What I mean is using your weight training routine for growth and cardio. Doing supersets and giant sets
will stimulate muscle growth and trigger fat loss due to the constant moving and absence of rest.

Cardio Myths

There are probably more myths about cardio than any other type of training. When to perform it, how much, how long and so on and so on. Here’s a few you have probably heard or even used.

MYTH #1 – Cardio for fat loss should be performed first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.

TRUTH – Recent studies have shown that having a small protein-based meal prior to cardio jump starts metabolism and gives you a little more energy to actually complete your session.

MYTH #2 – The longer your cardio session, the more fat loss you’ll experience.

TRUTH – You really don’t even have to perform cardio at all for fat loss. However, if you choose to include cardio, utilizing principles such as HIIT will yield much better results in a shorter period of time. Doing longer cardio sessions will train your body to be more efficient on less fuel and will actually cause your body to store the calories you are trying to burn.

MYTH #3 – Running on the treadmill works best.

TRUTH – Using all the cardio machines available to you is the best choice. It keeps your workouts fresh and
each targets specific areas. The idea is to get your heart rate up, regardless of how you do it.

Overall Health

At the elite level, many bodybuilders perform little to no cardio at all. They rely on their efforts with weights and their diets to make the biggest contribution to their conditioning.  Most times, if cardio is involved, it is more for overall health.

The amount of energy required to train with high intensity is far more beneficial than just doing cardio alone. The positive effects for heart health are tremendous; the oxygen consumption (VO2 Max) when doing things like supersets is very high and its contribution to cardiovascular endurance is tremendous, and the effects weight training has in the hours after training is the most important aspect of this kind of training. The after-burn effect of supersetting and giant setting is critical to overall health because after training like this, your body is in a fat-burning mode for at least 4-6 hours after your session. So why would you waste your time on the step mill when you don’t have to?

Time is Muscle

With busy schedules abundant, many trainers have to decide on cardio or weights. Many people opt for cardio as they feel they’ll accomplish more after a long run on the treadmill. Maybe you sweat a little more and feel more tired; however, if you’re strapped for time and you would like to do both weights and cardio, then do it. Pick 4 or 5 exercises or machines, and do them one after the other with no rest, take a minute to catch your breath and then repeat.

Do this cycle six times and believe me you’ll feel a huge pump, like you just ran a half marathon. You’ll get the benefits of the weights, your heart rate will be up, your oxygen consumption will peak and you’ll feel like you had a real good workout. Not only that, but you just performed your weights and cardio in half the time, made muscle, burned fat and can now get on with the other things in your life. With a busy schedule and a desire to get in shape and lose those unwanted pounds of body fat, it’s the only way to go.

Supplementing your Efforts

There’s no question that to get rid of body fat, you’ll need the energy to perform workouts like I’ve outlined above. A great fat burner like ALLMAX Nutrition’s RAPIDCUTS SHREDDED will give you plenty of energy to get through these workouts and push yourself past your normal limits. With ingredients that increase energy and focus, these supplements ensure you get the most out of your workouts every time and help you get the shape you want.

If I haven’t convinced you yet that there is no need to do cardio for hours on end to reach your goals, start paying attention to the biggest and leanest guys in your gym. Also, take notice of the girls in the gym who have nice lean, toned musculature and low body fat. You’ll see they spend way more time training with weights and utilizing all the intensity increasing principles that exist than they do on the step mill. I’m not saying avoid cardio completely, because it has some real health benefits, but these principles work especially when you’re strapped for time. Remember the more lean muscle mass you have, the more fat you will burn at rest.

I like that idea, how about you?

Dana Bushell

As a former provincial level bodybuilding competitor, and as a strength and conditioning coach, Dana has the advantage of being up to date with the current training and dieting practices used by the industry’s athletes. Along with being an Associate Professor of Communications, Dana is also a certified fitness consultant and a regular columnist for Muscle Insider.

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