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  1. #1
    Registered User TimmyBe's Avatar
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    What is excessive cardio...?

    Hi guys,

    I'm a 28 year old man and am 1m86 (6ft 1in) with a wide frame (never had narrow shoulders). I've been overweight since I was 13. I have been unsatisfied with the way I look for the last 15 years, have taken many attemps to gain control over it, but none of them lasted long. I've always had a weak for emotional eating and have had difficulty maintaining routines. I have now come to a point that I have serious questions about my recent daily routine.

    A while back, as you know, the pandemic hit. Working in events, we were the first to be shut down as I work in a large venue. This also means that we'll be one of the last ones to be opening up again. Current estimates are earliest in September, but could take a lot longer. I am lucky enough to be employed by an immensely large company that spans the world and have not been, and will not be, laid off. I get full pay throughout this crisis but due to the vast majority of my job being technical, have been home for the past 3 months and will be for atleast another 3 months.

    The first month and a half I kinda lost myself in boredom. I ate, drank and Netflixed in solitary confinement. Weighing myself on 29 April I realized to my horror I hit 100kg (220 pounds) again, after coming down from 112kg (247 pounds) to 92kg (203 pounds) last year. I decided to do something about it and instantly ordered a walking treadmill online. Starting May 1st, I walked 3 hours every day, did some weight excercises for my arms and back and watched my intake. A typical day would consist of a bowl of cornflakes with 5 strawberries and skimmed milk, a low-calory protein shake and a small serving of chicken-rice-curry (low calory curry). After doing this for 30 days straight the motor on the treadmill burned out and I ordered a hometrainer. It arrived June 4th and I upped my cardio from walking to cycling. I am currently cycling 3 hours per day at an average of 27km/h (17mph) on the same diet as before. I have currently lost 13kg (28 pounds) in those 40 days although the speed of losing has gone massively downhill (which is normal I guess) and kinda stagnated the last week.

    I've had a discussion today with a friend, after which I started looking online about the length of cardio. My friend told me too much cardio could have a very negative impact on weightloss. When I google "How much cardio is too much" the first pages of answers all seem to agree. Many state that anything over 1 hour a day is more negative than positive and give all kinds of reasons. However I find that the most common ones are refutable.

    - A prolonged big deficit and too much cardio will lead to binge-bursts. They didn't tho. I have done this 40 days so far.
    - 3 Hours per day is not manageable. You'll get sick of it after a week or 2. I didn't tho, I'm noticing results and am motivated.
    - Too much cardio is a massive strain on your joints and such. I'm currently doing hometrainercardio. It's low-impact.


    Now I want to ask you guys. Is this cardio too much in a weightlossphase? I'm doing this now because I have ALL the time in the world for it and plan on stopping doing this much of it once I reach an acceptable weight/look. Then I'd like to cut it down to half an hour to an hour per day and spend a lot more time on muscletraining while increasing my intake (with the right macros). What are your experiences? What do you think?
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  2. #2
    Ex-Skinny Cyclist CBRIT89's Avatar
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    If your main thing is cycling, then your body will adapt for cycling. You'll lose weight, but you'll end up skinny fat like I did - I cycled 5000 miles a year for 4 years and got down to 166 @ pretty much 6ft5. I can tell you now that it won't be the acceptable look you're after.

    You need to be doing some form of resistance training for the rest of your body. I've seen people recommending searching prison workouts if you've got no equipment.
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  3. #3
    Senpou Temple faithbrah's Avatar
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    13 kilos in 40 days guarantees that you lost a fair amount of muscle there. why are you doing such a high deficit? the only reason would be that you only want the scale to go down, no matter what your body will look like

    3 hours cardio per day can be manageable short term, still doesn't sound smart to me. if you want to move "naturally", you could go for a walk in the forest or something
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    Registered User Nicksosure1's Avatar
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    If you're in it for the composition goals and looking better, you'll want to shift some of your time from cardio to weight training. Cardio, especially in excess, tends to pair down muscle as well as losing fat, and your body adapts to the cardio relatively quickly. Conversely, if you focus more on weight training and muscle gain/retention, you'll burn more calories at rest due to more muscle. Think long term.

    Also, another thing to address, once things start opening back up and your next 3 months of being off is over, you won't have the same amount of time to do such cardio. You'll also have more stress and time consumption with your job. So, it's better to start focusing on muscle retention and weight training now, so you'll be more prepared to continue to lose fat while not being able to burn as many calories from cardio as you're doing right now.

    You HAVE TO think long-term if you don't want to end up gaining it back again, and looking worse due to the muscle you lost while in this phase.
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    Registered User CommitmentRulz's Avatar
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    Do you want to lose WEIGHT or lose FAT?

    Said another way, do you want to be just a smaller (still high fat content and 'fluffy') version of your current self? Is that what you're trying to accomplish? I didn't think so. Lift weights (or do bodyweight workouts.)
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  6. #6
    Registered User Luclin999's Avatar
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    If you continue with three hours of cycling per day to lose weight then you are going to have the following happen...

    ~ You will lose both fat and lean mass meaning that you will likely end up dropping down to a really low weight (like 165 pounds) and still look "flabby" rather than "athletic" due to the lack of developed muscle anywhere on your frame except for maybe a bit on your legs.

    ~ You won't have re-learned proper eating habits, portion sizes, recommended macro nutrient values Etc. and so once you can no longer spend "three hours a day" doing cardio, you will almost certainly start packing the pounds back on again due to continuing with the same bad eating patterns that keep getting you fat in the first place.

    If you want to lose the fat permanently, then you need to make permanent, sustainable changes to your life rather than attempting to try to speed your way to some arbitrary fat loss goal and then immediately reverting to the lifestyle that made you fat originally.

    If you want to do this right then...

    ~ Find your daily maintenance calorie level (that doesn't include all of the cardio) and learn how to weight/measure and log literally everything that goes into your mouth in order to re-learn concepts like "proper portion size", "Macro nutrient values", and calorie amounts for what you are eating each day.

    ~ Eat at a reasonable (400-700 cal/day) deficit.

    ~ Find ways to stress whatever muscle that you do have under the fat in order to cause your body to prioritize pulling calories from your fat stores while in a prolonged calorie deficit rather than breaking down lean mass. Weight training is optimal for this, however if you do not currently have access to weights or a gym, even a calisthenic program of bodyweight exercises (Squats, pushups, Etc.) is better than doing nothing at all to stress your body.

    ~ Remember that even after you have lost the fat, that to maintain the fat loss you will still need to continue to have a similar level of control and discipline in your daily diet to insure that you aren't eating over your maintenance calorie levels for literally the rest of your life.

    Failing to do that and backsliding to old eating habits will just cause you to just get fat all over again.
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  7. #7
    Registered User TimmyBe's Avatar
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    Hey guys, sorry for the late reply, I did read reactions after a few days but didn't reply at the time. I wanted to actually have made changes and followed through on them before reporting how I did/would do that.

    Thank you all for the opinions, information and advice. I took it to heart and have now upped my caloric intake a chunk and cut my cardio down to cycling an hour per day, while making sure I do a lot more muscle workouts. This is currently ending up at about 3/4 major gym sessions a week of proper intense workout focused on musclegroups and a daily smaller workout with some of the more standard/mainstream excercises just cause I like doing them and I want to slowly increase my daily pullups/planking/...

    I did realize what I was doing wasn't sustainable longterm but some part of me of course was chasing that high of very quickly dropping a lot of weight, obviously ignoring the fact that I'm losing muscle, impacting future weightloss and impeding muscledevelopment. Again thanks for the opinions, they've helped convinced me to change it up for the better.
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