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Cardio during contest prep

Gunsmith

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I know this is very very individual but what would you say is the average amount of cardio people do for a contest prep.

I've heard some people doing as little as 30-45 min a day to as much as 3 hours.!!!
Several people in the gym were discussing it and two of them think that bodybuilders must for 3-4 hr cardio a day to get that lean , talking about Olympia competitors.
I think on average females do more cardio , not sure if that's due to the drugs used or they are just that much harder to get lean
 

TheOtherOne55

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i just finished dieting down (for no reason) doing roughly 90ish mins 5 times a week. Had another buddy get ready for a national level show this year. He was doing 2.5hrs 7 days a week.

It’s a necessary evil to really get lean. If you can find a modality or way to NOT HATE it, you’ll have an easier prep.
 

danieltx

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There's no average. Some guys do hours; I've heard that guys working with George Farrah do almost none.

It's been years since I've done more than 45 minutes for the whole day while dieting.

More than anything it comes down to how do you want to suffer - go lower calories and be more hungry for longer or go higher calories and do however much cardio is required to get where you need to be. I prefer the former. I look at it as what requires more effort - the discipline to not eat or the output to do 1-2-3 hours of cardio? Clearly it's the cardio. When in a deficit I want to expend as little energy as possible so I choose to eat less. Justin Compton was a fan of this approach.

I think it's also a mental thing for some guys - they can't take looking and feeling flat so they'd rather eat more and burn the fat with cardio.
 

Thor65

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There's no average. Some guys do hours; I've heard that guys working with George Farrah do almost

More than anything it comes down to how do you want to suffer - go lower calories and be more hungry for longer or go higher calories and do however much cardio is required to get where you need to be.
I think it's also a mental thing for some guys - they can't take looking and feeling flat so they'd rather eat more and burn the fat with cardio.

IMHO- 100% accurate.
 

alfresco

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There's no average. Some guys do hours; I've heard that guys working with George Farrah do almost none.

It's been years since I've done more than 45 minutes for the whole day while dieting.

More than anything it comes down to how do you want to suffer - go lower calories and be more hungry for longer or go higher calories and do however much cardio is required to get where you need to be. I prefer the former. I look at it as what requires more effort - the discipline to not eat or the output to do 1-2-3 hours of cardio? Clearly it's the cardio. When in a deficit I want to expend as little energy as possible so I choose to eat less. Justin Compton was a fan of this approach.

I think it's also a mental thing for some guys - they can't take looking and feeling flat so they'd rather eat more and burn the fat with cardio.
👍

It’s like the difference between myself and my wife . . . she would rather do cardio so she could eat all she wanted and I on the other hand would rather not do cardio and just not eat.

Takes all kinds.
 

mytreefiddy

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IMO it depends on where you are in your prep.... if you're behind you'll do more....ahead of schedule you'd do less... ive never done more than 40min per sesh
 

iron lifter

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i saw a video where Leo talked about why Chad Nichols had ronnie coleman out of all people doing 2 hours of cardio albeit it was treadmill walking was instead of lowering calories he wanted to keep his food high to send the signal that muscle is still being built and held onto and rather create a deficit by lowering food and doing less cardio.

some like dexter start 2-3 weeks out lol. i guess it depends on how lean you are, what your willing to give up, and if your taking clen/t3 etc or not.

all of the below will shave minutes off your cardio or have you do none at all

genetics
clen
t3
gh
lower calories
dnp
 

buck

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I would think 30-60 min. would be more average. Very lean people to start would need less. And those that are fatter of don't like to cut calories would need more. I start lower and ramp up as needed. The more muscle i maintain while dieting means less cardio in the long run.
 

juggy38

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also take into step count. The problem with high output days…..your body will throttle back NEAT unconsciously. Less fidgeting, lest daily steps, etc.

Track steps outside the gym. Bump those up by 1,000 steps every week. I was Listening to a podcast where the client got up to 15,000 steps outside the gym, and they said the fat came off much quicker than the last prep of not tracking steps and doing the old 5 sessions, add 5 minutes each session each week
 

Push50

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As you stated, this is a very individual step to contest prep. My last show I did 2 hours a day on the treadmill. 1 hour am and 1 hour pm m-f. On Saturday’s I did stretching and flexibly exercises followed on sundays With yoga.
 

165StateChamp

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Cardio for me is 5 x 30 offseason for health benefits and maxes at 5 x 60 in prep. Starts on incline treadmill and moves to stairs. Incline on treadmill and speed on stairs increases every session. Will usually pull down to 5 x 20-30 by 2 or 3 weeks out as I’ll be ready early and can cruise in. I do all cardio fasted as I think there’s a synergistic effect when using yohimbine, GH and clen.

Most people I know work up to 5-6x a week 60-90 minutes until peak week where it gets cut. Obviously this stuff varies drastically based on need though.
 

IFBBProDomCardone

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Some of my clients 2 sessions per day,6x per week 45 min each (90 min total) this would be max. Sometimes I will utilize HIIT sessions as well pending on situation and the need. It really varies, than of course have clients that only need 20 min per day 6x per week. Of course always individual. I do prefer the stairclimber as it is "harder" than other forms of cardio IMO, and great for glutes and legs, some may say bro-science but hasn't failed. I feel today a lot of people don't do either enough cardio or perform it hard enough.

Off-season I keep 5-6 sessions in per week low intensity for heart health, circulation, recovery, digestion etc.
 

beastmode121

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I don’t add cardio unless I’m stalling

If my weight is not dropping; I add more cardio. If I’m behind in prep; I add more cardio. If my food is too low; I rather add more cardio

if you use Clen, t3, and DNP.. you’ll need less cardio.

Last prep I was on 40 min 7x a week
The prep before that I was on 30 min 6x a week

The older I get the more cardio I need
 

Mufasa123

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For what it's worth this is a great thread. Really interesting read. Thanks to all that contributed.
 

alfresco

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Is cardio necessary to lose body fat? I am going out on a limb and say no. We all probably know that. Easier ways? Yes and no . . . it depends, like most things in life.

So you get to pick your poison . . . burn the calories or avoid the calories.

Look back in time, say the 60’s, 70’s and onto the 80’s(?).

By and large, did they do heaps cardio or any cardio at all? I don’t think so. There were exceptions as one would expect but I don’t ever recall seeing a piece of cardio equipment in Golds or World gyms back 60’s and 70’s. Maybe yes, maybe no for the 80’s.

Some that were in the game back then please comment.

When did the contest cardio prep ‘fad’ really come into play?

We’re they more ‘ripped’ back then than now? In most cases no. We’re they smaller back then than now? In most cases yes. But I happen to like a bit of fullness over the extremes we we today.

Hours and hours on the treadmill to lose body fat? These are not ‘diet’ contests, they are bodybuilding contests, or at least they were. Thank the judges for that but that is a rant best served on another day.
 

Aikman56

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This is SUCH a different thing from person to person. Over the last 5 years, I have managed to work my way up to 800g+ of carbs and over 6000 cal in my offseason and staying pretty lean, so my contest prep is largely calorie reduction and counting steps (10,000/day in the offseason and maintaining that precontest, so I can keep an eye on that piece of my NEAT).

Juxtapose that to 12 years ago, when my 35 year old self needed two daily hours of the stepmill and really low calories to get into condition that wasn't near what I hit now (now on fewer drugs, BTW).

So yeah, highly individualized.

And many will disagree with me, but for the N=1 (me), the bodyfat set point can be moved.
 

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