In October 2006, almost 16 years ago, I wrote an extremely controversial, yet very important article called ‘Cardio Sucks’ for the Swedish leading Bodybuilding and Fitness Magazine ‘Body.’ It actually did some impact on clueless athletes and coaches here in Sweden, but in the big scenario of things, not much has changed since I wrote that and countless of other articles on similar topics. I still see people focusing on the completely wrong things, wasting time and energy for very little in return.
As I explained back then, cardiovascular exercise for losing body fat is extremely inefficient and a waste of precious time. I have never used it with my own clients and I never will.
I’ve also written dozens of articles on fasting and how to use it for reducing body fat and at the same time improve your health – something that should be a goal for everyone. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of the health benefits and the ability of fasting to turn back your ‘biological clock.’ And of course, bodybuilders and fitness athletes think they will lose muscle mass, which is very far from the truth. Actually, their retarded diets of “energy-restriction” will make them lose muscle mass, since it’s a “slow-paced starvation.”
When you’re on a typical diet with a reduced food intake your body will adapt by lowering its metabolism, just as it does to exercise, especially cardiovascular exercise, making you expend much less energy as you progress. So, you have a lose-lose scenario.
Some ignorant coaches will try to remedy this adaptation by having “cheat days” where their clients can eat pretty much anything, believing this will “ramp up” their metabolism again. An extremely unhealthy practice, as it will chock the digestive system and the organs from all the toxins due to bad food choices, but it will also be a psychological trigger for eating disorders.
Let’s look logically at this widely-accepted “fat loss strategy” and present some hard irrefutable facts. First off, they use the idiotic and useless measurement of “calories.” I’ve debunked that idiocy for the last 15 years. It’s a measurement of heat. You do not “burn heat.” That is not how our body handles its energy requirements. Please read my article on TDEE and calories from 2019 here:
And keep in mind, as flawed as the concept of calories is, food nutrition labels are legally allowed to be as much as 20% off. So, ‘calories’ has absolutely nothing to do with how much metabolic energy your body actually can extract from a given food, and the labels are allowed to be 20% off on top of that. If you have a coach, a trainer, or a dietician who goes on about counting calories and calories in versus calories out, just smack them in the head and leave.
However, for the sake of the conversation, let’s use that silly word because it’s still so ingrained in most people who are clueless about nutrition and physiology.
So, what most people do is that they reduce their ‘estimated’ energy intake with about 500 “kilo-calories” or thereabouts to achieve a “deficit.” However, less food means less nutrients, so unless you really know what you’re eating, you will quickly run into nutrition deficiencies. These will manifest as mood swings, lethargy, tiredness, hunger and cravings, and deficiencies will also slow down bodily processes and wreak havoc on your hormones. Just pick any “long-term” vegan and you’ll see what will happen. Yes, you’ll look and act like one of these rotting zombies in Walking Dead.
Doing a ‘fat loss’ diet that way will damage your body, sometimes to such a degree that it takes years to recover. And I should know, as I’ve helped countless of women who competed in fitness where they followed starvation diets and did tons of cardio. Restoring their metabolism and hormones can take a long time, and many of them had suffered for years before they reached out to me.
On top of this energy and nutrient restriction, most people will do cardiovascular exercise, or “cardio,” such as walking, stepping on a Stairmaster, or pedaling away on a stationary bike. Or even worse, they will jog or run.
As you should know, this targets the slow-twitch muscle fibers and actually tend to give even the fast-twitch and the cross-over muscle fibers some of those slow-twitch characteristics. That will result in loss of muscle mass, thus less energy expended on metabolic processes, and also an increased appetite, since you waste energy on those activities. Way more wasted energy than you would on a few structured weight lifting sessions a week to instead stimulate muscle growth, and thus increase long-term metabolic energy needs.
Now, bodybuilders and fitness athletes do both of these. A ton of weight lifting and even more cardio. Those who take a lot of anabolic steroids are more or less protected against muscle loss and can tolerate a lot more of that insanity. They also take chemicals that stimulate your nervous system and metabolic pathways, increasing your energy expenditure even more, allowing them to eat more food and thus they have a greater chance of avoiding nutrition deficiencies even when they eat a really shitty diet, as most of them do since their coaches are totally clueless of nutrition. However, those who try this approach without these illegal pharmaceuticals, or those who only take a little of the metabolic stuff, they usually crash and burn – sometimes before the show, but almost always after – and they lose a lot of muscle mass and do a lot of damage on their way to that stage. Yes, these are the poor souls I’ve helped to recover, which can take months up to years.
Now, whether you’re into physique competitions or not, the best approach is to first and foremost adopt our species appropriate diet, which is obligate carnivore. I’ve written tons about it, check this archive:
This will guarantee that you get all the bioavailable nutrition that you need, especially if you incorporate some organ meats every week. And that is even more important when the goal is to get rid of some body fat. You need to get all vitamins and minerals, as well as plenty of cholesterol, animal fats and protein for your body to work optimally.
If you’re into building your body, resistance training is all that you need, no matter what the goal is. Do not waste time on cardio or other exercise unless you need it for a sport specific reason.
If you do not care about your muscle mass, which is a big mistake, but each to his own, just make sure to do some kind of exercise or move around most days of the week. Mostly because our bodies are made to move, and it’s needed for the lymphatic system.
As for getting that energy deficit, so that your body has to use its fat stores for metabolic processes, fasting is the simplest and most effective way. And this is true for everyone. And even more so for bodybuilders, especially those at a high level that take toxic anabolic steroids and stuff their faces with tons of food. Unless that food is strictly from animals, it will contain another shitload of plant toxins, defence chemicals, antinutrients and pesticide residues.
And guess what, yes, fasting is the best way to detoxify and to heal your digestive tract. Not to mention that it will help to re-sensitize your cell receptors, which means that all that shit you take will actually work even better and at lower dosages. A win for your physique, and a small win for your health (it would be a big win if you could do it naturally, but we both know that’s impossible at that level.)
Now, fasting for 24 to 36 hours once or twice a week will produce about the same energy deficit as cutting your food 6 days a week and doing some cardio on top of that. And fasting will not slow your metabolism, and eating to satiation during the rest of the week will allow for actually building some muscle mass during the “diet.”
And even better, after the first fast or two, you will feel awesome 7 days out of the week, and you will not waste precious time on cardio. That’s time you can spend with family and friends, or put into studying or your own business, bringing in some extra cash.
For more details about fasting, see my previous article here:
Or browse the fasting archives here:
Here’s another quick-diet spanning 2 weeks done in 2016 when I was 42-years-old. Meat-based ketogenic diet and some fasting.
I will eventually write and publish a book with in-depth explanations, approaches and step-for-step guides for most scenarios. However, until then, if you need help, guidance, or if you have questions, please join us at our uncensored community Ungovernable.se. It’s the only platform where I will answer questions and discuss these topics and just about anything actually.
If you need personalized help and coaching, you can check my coaching page for availability. And if you’re a trainer, coach, dietician and want to leave the pseudo-science and learn how things actually work, I’m available for consultations.