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Can You Get Ripped Without Cardio?

  Jan 25th, 2013

Get Ripped Without CardioHave you ever been slaving away on an elliptical machine – doing everything within your power to exorcise the fat clinging to your body – and thinking, “Is all this really necessary for me to lose fat and get ripped?”


I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge advocate of efficiency. I don’t want to spend any more time than is absolutely necessary on any task, including training to improve my physique.


So, when I’m working on ripping it up, you can bet that I’m not spending a single second on useless activities or expending any effort than is absolutely necessary to do it.


Cardio is one of those topics which elicits a wide range of theories and opinions. I’ve already spent some time weighing in on the cardio debate that has gone on for quite some time and will undoubtedly continue to fester within the fitness community for the foreseeable future.


But, when it comes to using our time most efficiently, it behooves us to ask whether cardio is absolutely necessary for us to get ripped in the first place.


Is Cardio Necessary to Lose Fat?

If you’re not ripped, and you want to get ripped, you’re going to have to reduce your body fat percentage. There’s simply no way around it.


The sole requirement for being ripped is having outstanding muscle definition and this requirement cannot be achieved when you’re walking around with a body fat percentage that’s nowhere close to sniffing single digits.


Despite what you may have read in Shape Magazine, being toned and having exemplary muscle definition isn’t achieved by performing light weights for an insane number of reps.


That’s a myth I’ve personally dispelled by transforming my body from fat to ripped while not performing a single set consisting of more than 11 reps to do it. Most of the time I was actually training in the relatively low range of 5-6 reps per set.


Weight training, while it does contribute to fat loss, should never be used as a primary fat loss implement. That’s what your diet and cardio are for!


Weight training is for building strength and growing and developing your muscles. Period.


I’ve digressed a little bit, so let’s get back to the question at hand: “Is cardio required to get ripped?”


The answer is, no.


You don’t have to commit to spending a single second doing cardio each week to get ripped. This is because fat loss is mostly the result of maintaining a caloric deficit, which can be achieved through nutritional implements alone.


If you’re starting to get excited, and are searching for a pen to scratch your cardio workouts from your training plan, let me stop you before you go any further.


Get Ripped Without Cardio- KardashianWhile you can lose as much fat as you need and get ripped without cardio, there are a few things you’d better consider before going down that path:


  • Your dietary discipline better have less wiggle room than Kim Kardashian’s backside while smuggled in a pair of Spandex, because maintaining a caloric deficit becomes increasingly difficult when you cut out the calorie-burning and metabolic benefits cardio provides


  • You’d better be okay with considerably slower fat loss, as it will take you considerably longer to shed unwanted body fat without using cardio to do it


  • Cardio is the best way to build your conditioning and you’ll be foregoing the conditioning benefits that cardio activity provides


The reasons listed above are why cardio is always a main component of every fat loss plan I design. It provides a buffer for a few cheat meals each week and enhances overall physical fitness, while still allowing for more dramatic results in less time.


Why is it that people get so excited at the prospect of cutting out cardio?


Duh. It takes time and it’s boring.


Yes, traditional cardio workouts can fit this description. But, many men and women force themselves to endure thirty and forty minute treadmill sessions unnecessarily.


Let me explain what I mean…


An Interesting Study on Cardio That Will Save You Time

When most people plan their cardio training they tend to employ the faulty logic that more is better. More is not always better.


In fact, more could very well be a waste of your precious time.


A study I recently read about confirmed my long-held notion that short bursts of intense activity can be performed over considerably shorter durations with the same end result as longer sessions of traditional steady-state cardio.


Get Ripped Without Cardio - UNSWA research team at the School of Medical Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Australia, led by Professor Steve Boutcher, performed the study by comparing two groups.


The first group performed three 20-minute interval training workouts per week. The twenty minute workouts consisted of intervals of eight seconds of high intensity sprint cycling, followed by 12 seconds of light intensity cycling.


Group 2 performed cardio workouts that were twice as long (40 minutes in duration) at a steady, moderate intensity for the entirety of their workout.


The results flew right in the face of traditional logic. The group performing high intensity interval training (HIIT) actually lost more fat on average, and did it in half the time!


HIIT Isn’t Always in the Cards

I personally use a combination of 20-minute steady state cardio and HIIT workouts throughout the week.


Interval training is physically taxing and some days I’m just not up for a twenty minute round of interval sprints, which I know will leave my heart feeling like it’s going to thump out of my chest.


It is especially difficult to opt for HIIT if I’m doing my cardio immediately after an intense bout of weight training.


On the other hand, even after a taxing weight training session, I can always muster the energy and motivation to get through twenty minutes of light jogging or elliptical training.


However, as I said at the outset, I’m big on efficiency. So, whenever I can gather the gumption for 15-20 minutes of interval training, you can bet that’s what I’ll be doing.


While you can certainly get ripped without performing a lick of cardio, that’s not an effective (or efficient) strategy to employ.


Even if you have the discipline to eat nothing but chicken and broccoli for months on end – which I’d never recommend, by the way – your fat loss results will still suffer and the dramatic difference a few twenty minute cardio sessions each week will provide are well worth the investment.



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