Cardio 101 – The Best Way To Do Cardio To Get Shredded
Cardio is something that is commonly overlooked by fitness enthusiasts and those who are looking to get in shape.
The common misbelief is that if you train your ass off and lift heavy, eventually you will somehow just end up with a physique that is not only big, but ripped as well.
This is almost never the case though, because 99% of people don’t understand how fat loss really works.
Being in a calorie deficit is the name of the game when it comes to fat loss, and no matter how hard you train or how heavy you lift, if you are overeating, you won’t lose fat.
Cardio is a tool that should not only be used for cardiovascular health, but also for greatly improving your body’s ability to burn fat.
When you perform cardio, your body burns more calories.
When you burn more calories, you are increasing your overall energy expenditure for the day.
And when you do this, it ultimately helps you achieve a calorie deficit with much greater ease.
So, what’s the best way to do cardio to get shredded?
Well, first of all you need to understand that your body is very smart, and it will continuously adapt until it is comfortable.
So, you have to approach your cardio plan being mindful that in a few weeks, your body will likely have adapted to your plan to such a degree that it will no longer burn fat following the same plan.
When your body is in a calorie deficit, it will burn fat to accommodate the deficit of energy it is experiencing, however, it will also start to slow down your metabolism on purpose.
Your body does this to prevent itself from starving.
Essentially, you are depriving it of an adequate amount of energy on purpose (to get leaner), but your body just sees it as you are starving, so it will slow down your metabolism until eventually your new “maintenance level” of calories is the amount that was previously a deficit for you.
This is why you can’t just go gung-ho with cardio for an hour a day, every single day at the start of your diet, or else your body will adapt to that level of cardio and eventually plateau where you will be stuck with a slow metabolism that can’t even lose fat with 7 hours of cardio per week.
So, you need to take a staggered method to your cardio schedule, just like you would when you decrease your caloric intake to continue to burn fat.
Start off with 2-3 cardio sessions per week, doing 20 minutes of low-intensity steady state cardio where your heart rate is constantly in the 140-150 beats per minute range throughout the entire session.
This can be done on the elliptical, treadmill, stair master, playing a sport, running outside, whatever, as long as you do it properly.
After each week, you can assess your fat loss, and if you aren’t losing weight quick enough, or it is too quick, make adjustments to your cardio regimen or caloric intake accordingly.
If you plateau in fat loss, then you know it’s time to make a change, and this is when you would either add another cardio session to your weekly regimen, or you would increase the duration of your current sessions by 5 minutes.
Through this continuous slow progression of plateau busting, you can eventually get to a point where you are as lean as you want to be, without burning out too early in the program and wrecking your metabolism by doing too much too soon.
What about fasted cardio vs. non-fasted cardio?
There is science to support that fasted cardio burns more fat than non-fasted, and there is also science to support that it burns the exact same amount of fat.
I am definitely a big believer that fasted does work better than non-fasted. I don’t have a bunch of studies to back me up, but I’ve gotten shredded enough times now to know how my body responds to just about everything, and fasted cardio always rips me up quicker.
However, it is ultimately of far greater importance that you actually do your cardio, as opposed to worrying about if you can fit it into your schedule in a fasted state or not.
If you can, then great, do it. If you can’t, no big deal, just do it post-workout instead.
TIP: Never do your cardio pre-workout.
Cardio will burn your glycogen stores, and if you do it pre-workout, you are basically using up fuel that you would need to lift weights.
If you can’t do your cardio fasted, do your weight training session for the day, deplete your glycogen stores via that, and then hit your cardio session post-workout.
This will allow your workout to still be 100% and not hinder your strength during the workout.
Getting Shredded Isn’t Rocket Science
I guarantee if you follow a proper fat loss diet and cardio regimen you will be shocked at how quickly you can get yourself in fantastic shape.
The main issue stems from individuals simply not having the will power to stick to a consistent plan. Set a goal, engrave it in your mind like concrete, and get it done.