Cardio Necessary for Effective Fat Loss?

February 5th, 2008 by Paul Johnson

There is a common belief in the mainstream, that for maximum (or even effective fat loss) you need to do some form of regular cardio to lose fat. This is simply wrong of course because many people have just dieted to lose fat, without any form of excercise. Of course this is a bodybuilding site, therefore dieting only is not ideal, since it doesn’t preserve muscle that well.

The next decision when going on a cutting phase, is whether or not cardio is even necessary? Weight training is actually more effective than low intensity cardio. Then there is HIIT cardio, which is much tougher to do, but is about as effective as weight training for fat loss. You would still have to do weight training for either form of cardio, to help preserve lean muscle preservation and strength.

So who should do cardio and when?

Most bodybuilders would agree that cardio is a pain. It is a nuisance and most would just rather stick to weight training only for their excercise. It is perfectly O.K no matter if you’re a newbie, or a veteran to start your cutting phase without any cardio. When you first start dieting, the act of restricting calories will be enough to start causing fat loss, even without cardio.

Eventually everyone will hit a fat loss plateau, which is when cardio will be a necessity. You can only restrict your calories so much, before you cause your metabolism to crawl to a halt. The cardio will allow a phenomenon called energy flux. Basically what that means is, you will lose fat more effectively if you eat more, but also burn more calories simulatenously. In other words, it is better for fat loss if you eat more calories and burn more, than to eat less calories and burn less simulatenously.

If you don’t want to do cardio while cutting, your fat loss will be slower. But bodybuilders often don’t want to hassle with the time and effort cardio takes and wouldn’t mind, even if the cutting phase took a little longer. You shouldn’t increase weight training to overcompensate for lack of cardio, that would cause more harm than good. You would wind up overtaxing the body putting you into overtraining state.

For further reading, You can read a previous article of mine:
Fat loss effect of weight training vs. cardio

  1. Creatin Junkie on March 27th, 2008

    Nice article. I really LOVE cardio training. But im not one of that heavy weight bodybuilder. Its true, most of them i know, dont like to jog in the park

    keep up the good posts
    greetz from germany

  2. Get Lean Quick on May 11th, 2008

    You need to do cardio for effective fat loss. Also, doing cardio helps you lift weights longer and with more effectiveness because your stamina is better.

  3. chris on June 20th, 2008

    I agree nice read, I am a fan of both methods.I have trained with the best of them. They all agree a quality workout is done with out BSing during your work out.

  4. David on February 9th, 2009

    I don’t get it. Who are these bodybuilders that hate cardio that your talking about? are you talking about fat meat heads in the gym? Lunks? I’ve never read or heard any statements from the professional level that cardio is a hassle while trying to cut fat and maintain muscle size.

  5. Kirk on February 16th, 2009

    Cardio exercise is what I taught my friends as a must in the session of cutting. Thanks for the post mate.

  6. Bodybuilding supplements on February 12th, 2010

    Cardio is the most important thing to do when you want to get leaner weather its for summer to show off your abs, Or for a bodybuilding contest that you are you to join. Cardio helps a lot it shreds fats in no time with a proper diet, and helps maintain the muscle pump too. Great read though.

  7. wajih on July 20th, 2010

    cardio is must for fat lose,combine with good weight training and high protein intake to cover up the muscle loss in duing cardio.