too little cardio??

  • I'm having major difficulty accepting that the workouts are enough for me. I did the "Insanity" program from beach body several times and after being stuck and seeing no more progress for the past 6 months, I felt like maybe I was over-working my body and it had started to resist. Now that I've made the switch to BFL, i feel INCREDIBLY lazy. Should I incorporate more cardio, or trust the program....I'm scared that after working my body so much I'll end up gaining weight now that I'm cutting back on my cardio.

  • Well SweetTea, it depends on who you ask. Some will say "stick with the program as it is written". I myself went through the same thing that you are going through. I was already doing various cardio exercises, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, so when we decided to go through another challange, the first week of doing 20 minutes of cardio seemed like it really was not enough for me, so I bought a mountian bike (really out of necessity due to my lumber spine and knee's not being able to take long runs anymore) and now I am averaging 20 miles rides which take about 2 hours. It has worked for me. I actually have lost 16 pounds since 03/20/11 (Started at 182, weighed in this morning at 166). I have had to adjust my carb intake to match my cardio output. I have increased my protein also. But it works for me. My wife on the other hand has pretty much stuck to the program as it is written and she also has had success. We often have this conversation, I feel like this program was written for couch potato's who never or rarely worked out, where as some us who already were working out we are capable of doing more than what is recommended. So my overall opinion is, as long as you are fueling your body correctly, extra cardio should not impede your progress.

    The only limitations that you have , are those that you set upon yourself

  • I would say try the program and see how you do.

    I followed the 12 week program by the book.   My cardio was once a week on the treadmill and twice a week on the rowing machine.   I significantly improved my 5k time on the rowing machine -- and that was with only 40 minutes of rowing per week!   I was amazed.

    If you feel lazy, then by all means ratchet up the intensity.   Can you give us an example of a workout you do?   I'd also highly recommend checking your heartrate after your minute at 100% effort.

  • yeah, adjusting my carb/protein is the hardest part I think. I just don't know what kindof adjustments I should make.

  • I used to do 1-2 hours of cardio 6 days a week. This included about one hour of high intensity, circuit training (pushups, suicides, mountain climbers, moving pushups.. etc), so there was a lot of muscle work as well, but I wasn't doing much additional lifting. I definitely toned up a lot, but I was stuck after a 10 lb weight loss. I think I added muscle mass, but I still have a belly that just won't go away so I thought maybe I was overworking my body, hence my alterations to my workout and eating routine.

    Now, I'm doing the suggested 20 minutes as written in the book-- usually sprints on a treadmill, sometimes I use an eliptical if my knee is bothering me. but I also live in New York and do a lot of walking around the city on a daily basis.

  • I also believe you can be successful at fat loss with extra cardio...notice I did not say muscle gain. However, I wanted to see exactly what could be accomplished by following the program so the only extra cardio I did was an extra 10-20 minutes of light walking on the treadmill after my HIT cardio on occasion (more to cool down than burn calories). Prior to starting my 12 week challenge I had been running 30 miles a week. Yes, I felt very lazy at first, but I found the program really does work when followed as written. The reduction in cardio combined with the weight training really helped me build muscle which is good for long term fat loss and a metabolism boost. If you have been doing a lot of cardio, I would suggest giving the program a try as is. The mental break from logging hours of cardio was actually kind of nice and made me really start looking forward to getting back to some of my long runs again. Variety is the spice of life after all! I think if you are going to do BFL, might as well do it by the book and see how your body responds. After 12 weeks, make whatever changes you feel will help you reach your goals. For me, the most important exercise for fat loss is putting my fork down! One of my favorite quotes is "You can exercise till the cows come home, but if you eat like one, you're going to look like one."

  • Food is certainly my weakness-- not necessarily because I had no control, but I have found when I got really specific with my diet, I set myself up for unrealistic goals, added stress and eventually feeling completely crazy! I haven't had the best role models in my life as nearly every other woman in my family battled with various eating disorders and as an overweight child, I was encouraged to follow in their footsteps. So, out of fear I tend to shy away from focusing so much on food and head to the gym as much as possible. I just have to come to the realization that if I'm going to truly get to my goal weight, this system still hasn't been working despite my previous success.

  • Can you be more specific about "sprints on the treadmill"?

    My treadmill workout usually stepped up the incline:

    50%: 2 minutes at 0%, 6.5MPH

    60%: 1 minute at 0%, 7.2MPH

    70%: 1 minute at 2%, 7.2MPH

    80%: 1 minute at 4%, 7.2MPH

    90%: 1 minute at 6%, 7.2MPH <repeat 4 times>

    100%: 1 minute at 8%, 9.0MPH

    Others can give examples of their treadmill workouts.   What is your heartrate by the end?

  • Thanks for posting!  I have been struggling with the exact same thing.  I am convinced that I'm gaining weight because I'm doing less cardio (I was doing P90X) and eating more (was doing WW).  However, as you (and the book) say, maybe I was just overworking my body.  I think we should both stick to the program and see if it works!  After all, wouldn't it be nice to workout to this schedule instead of the one hour, 6-days a week that we were both doing?  Oh, and I hit the same plateau with P90X that you mentioned with Insanity.  

  • Here is it plain and simple: if you are happy with what you've always got then do what you've always done.  If you want something different then do something different.  

    Jessica Mighty Max ~ 2013 Body-for-LIFE Champion ~ Champion is a VERB!

  • My thoughts exactly, Jessica.  I know that's why I made the switch.  There is just always that fear of the unknown...that perhaps this new program will work even less than the last one.  But it's worth a shot!  

  • To TimF -- When I do the treadmill, I up my speed, not incline. my legs are pretty little but at my highest speed I do 9.0 for the final fast minute. During the other sets, I get up to 8 or 8.5. I start at 5.0 for the first minute and then during the other sets I drop down to 5.5.

    On the arc trainer earlier this week, I tried to run as hard as I could the whole time, bumping up the resistance and incline-

    Started at 3 incline with 30 lbs resistance.

    then 4:45 lbs; 6:55lbs; 7:65lbs; 8:75lbs

    one minute--10 incline & 100 lbs resistance.

    and then my cool down. I don't know what my heart rate was. I don't have a monitor.. I'll try to check it more often.

    to femystique- I'm really going to try to stick with this. I think when I can't get to the gym, I've found its really difficult to run outside and hit my peaks, so I might fill in one of my cardio days with one of the shorter insanity cardio dvds.We can do this!!

  • I tweaked my cardio and it's working great for me.  I have lost about 4-5 pounds of fat in three weeks and have maintained my muscle mass.

    The way I tweaked it is like this:

    Tuesday/Thursday: 20 mins HIIT on treadmill, followed by 20 mins moderate intensity cardio on the bike

    Saturday:  20 mins HIIT on the stairmaster, followed by 20 min moderate intensity run on tradmill

    Sunday: 40 mins moderate intensity cardio on the bike

    Instead of multiplying my bodyweight by 10 to get the amount of calories I need in a day, I muliply by 12.  The additional calories go towards protein and carbs, not fat.

  • I'm very interested to see what you decide to do and would love to know what your results are in the end.  Personally, I had real doubts in the beginning about 20 min of cardio being enough, and the only times I added to it were (like Marathonmama) no more than about 10 minutes at the end at about a 50% pace.  However, I worked it so hard that there were several times after my 20 minutes that I had absolutely nothing left to give- which is all about hitting your 10.  Remember to  optimize fat loss, do your cardio no sooner than 3 hrs after eating (or best yet - first thing in the a.m) and not to eat until 1 hour afterwards.  

    I'll be starting my 2nd challenge soon and curious to see what your experience is.  Best of luck to you!

  • I personally think that many people see the 20 minutes and just think it's not enough.  And for some, it may not be, but I tend to think in those cases, that BFL may not be the exact 'right' program for those.   But, it's what you DO with those 20 minutes.   The idea is to hit your 9's and 10's at the right points.   For some people that are already in great shape or have great cardio stamina, their 9's and 10's are going to be WAY WAY 'more' then for example, mine :)