Is Steady-State Cardio Effective for Fat Loss?

Is Steady-State Cardio Effective for Fat LossLast day, Scott Colby and I took some time to educate readers on the benefits of living the vegetarian lifestyle, while also debunking many of the misconceptions out there.  So if you’re a vegetarian or thinking of trying it out, then check out the tips for how to be a vegetarian and lose fat.

Today, however, we weigh in on a few common exercise questions, including the effectiveness of steady-state cardio for fat loss, and if you’ll burn more fat working out on an empty stomach.

So, let’s finish it off…

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Scott Colby: Let’s keep this moving.  We’ve got about ten more minutes.  Daniel out in Sydney says, “Hey, Craig.  I just wanted to ask you for your final thoughts on steady-state cardio, because fitness experts Tom Venuto and Jeff Anderson both believe in it.  They say people misunderstood the study showing ______ interval training burning nine times more fat.”

Craig Ballantyne: Oh, absolutely.  My final advice is people simply don’t have to do it unless you absolutely love to do it.

Take a look at transformationcontest.com.  Those people are using Turbulence Training and not doing slow cardio, and you will find that they are getting results – incredible results.

And so the BOTTOM LINE is the nutrition is the most important thing, and from there, then it’s simply doing something that will sculpt your body, which is resistance training.  That’s the most important thing.  And the interval training also works very well to burn belly fat, so that is my bottom line on it.

Three questions someone needs to ask themselves if they wanna do cardio. steady-state-cardio

  1. Do they enjoy doing it?  If the answer is “yes” by all means go for it.
  2. Do you have the time to do it?  Because the great thing about interval training is it takes half the time of a regular cardio workout.
  3. Are you able to do it without getting overuse injuries?

If you can answer “yes” to all those – if you have the time, if you have the enjoyment of it, and you don’t get overuse injuries, you can go and do it.  It’s not like cardio never works for anybody.  But there are plenty of studies.  One showed that people who were doing an hour of cardio a week for an entire year lost an average of five pounds.

That’s NOT a very EFFICIENT way of doing things.

Other studies have shown that some people get results and some people actually gain weight when they go into a cardio program because it causes them to eat an extra 2-300 calories per day.  That was a British study.

And then there’s that STUDY from Australia which compared the interval training versus 40 minutes of slow cardio, and they found there was more results from the interval training group that did 20 minutes of interval training.  So there’s certainly enough proof to me that you do not have to do the cardio, and you really have to worry more about your diet and then use resistance training to sculpt your muscle.

I always think of it like this….david-sculpture

The analogy is someone who’s overweight and needs to lose body fat is the exact same thing as a big chunk of concrete that showed up at Michelangelo’s doorstep, and he was gonna sculpt David out of it.  And so you use the diet to whack off the big chunks of concrete to get down closer to the sculpture, and then you use resistance training to put in those fine details, like Michelangelo did on that sculpture.

And that’s what you’re doing.  Diet, resistance training, and you sculpt the body.  That’s how you do it.  That is my strong opinion that if you wanna do it, fine, by all means.

If you’re an endurance athlete you have to do cardio, of course.  But if you wanna lose fat, if you wanna get fit, you do not have to do it.

Scott Colby: Good stuff; I like that analogy there.  Maria out in Santiago, Chile.  Is it true that for fat loss it is better to train first thing in the morning before breakfast?

Craig Ballantyne: The answer to that is simply “no”.

I mean the most important thing is you TRAIN WHEN YOU CAN TRAIN.  Now that whole argument is based on the fact of doing cardio for fat loss, and because I don’t even think that you need to do cardio for fat loss that question’s already proven wrong to me, because it’s not even how we train for fat loss in the first place.

One study that I came across the other week, it may not be the world’s best study, but it showed that people who consumed 20 grams of protein before their training ended up burning more calories in the 24-hour period after than a group that did 20 grams of carbohydrates.

So in theory – and this is one of these in theory things like green tea – green tea’s supposed to burn more calories, but people don’t lose weight with green tea.

In theory, this MAY help you burn more calories, and so if you’re at a plateau and you’re doing everything right, maybe having a protein shake before training will help you burn more calories and may help you get through the fat loss plateau.

It might just be – not being able to see the forest because of the tree that’s in our way.  We might just be not thinking about the big picture and putting too much importance on that little detail.

But hey, you know what?  If you wanna try it for a couple weeks and see what kind of results you get, if you’re struggling and you’re stuck, it might be the missing piece of the puzzle.

So that just shows another reason that you don’t have to do a workout on an empty stomach.

I mean I have no problem with people that do work out on an empty stomach, though.  I trained this morning – I squatted, heavy squatting, this morning without eating because I wasn’t hungry.  And sometimes when I eat before training and then I do a bit of a warm-up, then I feel a little bit weak for about five minutes before all my blood sugar gets leveled out again.

So sometimes if I’m training first thing in the morning I don’t eat first thing in the morning.

And really what it comes down to is not only just your daily calorie intake, but your weekly calorie intake and your weekly calorie output, and that’s gonna determine fat loss in the long term.  So really your weekly weigh-ins are the true representation of what you accomplish in that week.

Scott Colby: Yeah, I just wanna add one more thing, Craig, and you mentioned that you’ve really gotta test and see what works best for you in a question like this.

Because I run early morning boot camps at 6:00 in the morning, and one of my long-time boot camp members, she would struggle with her endurance during the workouts, feel a little bit light-headed.  And she didn’t eat anything before the workout, so I said, “Why don’t you try eating an apple when you first wake up?”  That made all the difference in the world.  Her stamina, her endurance, her strength was better.  She had more energy during the workouts.

Now some people, if they eat before their workout they don’t feel good, because they don’t have time to digest it, things like that.  So that’s really gonna be something that you need to test on your own to see what works best.

Scott Colby: Let’s get one final question.  We had this one come in specifically about your program, Craig, so we’ll wrap it up with this.  Richard out in Minnesota says, “Does your program include any specific advice for seniors that need to increase muscle mass before losing additional weight?

Craig Ballantyne: Say that again?senior_fitness

Scott Colby: Okay.  Does your program include any specific advice for seniors that need to increase muscle mass before losing additional weight?

Craig Ballantyne: No.  I mean we have people from age 18 to I think currently our oldest person right now is 74 using the program.  And really what it comes down to is the principles that apply to fat loss at every age are the same.

You know if someone needs to gain muscle mass before they start losing weight, then that’s pretty simple too.  We just don’t have them cut calories.  We have them cut out the interval training so that they’re really just doing the resistance training portion and they’re able to build muscle mass.  So that’s what I would have somebody do if they need to build muscle mass first before they go on a fat loss component.

Scott Colby: Yeah, I agree with you, Craig, as well.  For my boot camps we’ve got people in their 20s all the way to people in their 60s.  Really the body was designed to move in specific ways no matter what age.  Just because you passed the age of 60 doesn’t mean your body’s not meant to move in a certain direction any more. So we train people of all ages the same way, so I like that answer.  So let me just give that link one more time – or let me let you give the link to your transformation contest where they can find the rules.  Can you give that out again, Craig?

Craig Ballantyne: Sure – transformationcontest.com.

Scott Colby: Transformationcontest.com, and if you don’t have a copy of Turbulence Training, you’re interested in joining the contest, remember Craig’s running his Turbulence Training program, you can pick it up at half price and enter the contest if you go to www.theabsexpert.com/TT you can grab Turbulence Training at half price.  And you also get a month of your TT membership site – is that right, Craig?

Craig Ballantyne: Yep.

Scott Colby: Okay.  And that’s great too, because when you’re going through a program it’s a good idea to be part of a support community where you can ask questions and get encouragement from other people.

And then the bonus I wanted to throw in, since we knew nutrition is your number one key to getting these types of fat loss results, I did a teleseminar series called “Amazing Abs – The Diet”.  I interviewed 12 of the top diet experts in the world, and I wanted to give away the audio recordings, the MP3 downloads and the transcripts of each interview.

I think that would make a great supplement for those people who are doing the Turbulence Training program and entering the contest.  So if you go to www.theabsexpert.com/TT, if you order by Friday – that’s when the half-price special ends – if you’re one of the first 25 to order, just send me your receipt.  That receipt you would just email to Scott@scfitness.com and I will send you the downloads and transcripts of each interview in the “Amazing Abs Diet” teleseminar series.  So the way you could do that, you just listen to an interview each week of the contest and you’ll pick up something new and valuable for you to get through and get better results within the Turbulence Training transformation contest.

So Craig, this is great stuff.  We packed in a lot in just an hour, so I appreciate your thorough answers and your time during the holidays.  This was a great interview, and I appreciate it.

Craig Ballantyne: Hey, happy to help, Scott – thanks so much, man.

Scott Colby: Awesome.  Everybody listening, thank you so much for listening in, taking time out of your day.  Hope everybody had a great Christmas.  Have a healthy, safe and happy New Year’s.  We’ll talk to you next time.  Bye, everybody!

  • wolverine

    Craig howdy, i have a burning question about the release of hgh, fat burning and the squence of bodyweight intervals. Does it make any difference if i did 8 exercise at 20 reps each, or if i did 4 exercises at 60 reps each? i have a big build and would like to flatten my chest etc, doing 20reps seems to be too easy because i am a bit strong, thanks

    • Craig Ballantyne

      It should not matter.

  • Finally, some balanced and well thought out advice on steady-state v interval training. As fitness professionals we always hear about nutritional density when it comes to diet, that is consuming a diet with a high nutrient/calorie ratio. Likewise thoughtful interval training can result in a high conditioning factor/minute ratio. I am glad I came across your blog.