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Confused about steady state cardio

nettiklivenettiklive Member Posts: 206 Member Member Posts: 206 Member
As a relatively lean person trying to get leaner, I keep running into confusing and controversial advice. For a while, I was at the perfect spot to recomp, ideal weight but just a bit high on fat and low on muscle mass, and was doing weights only, no cardio. However, over this winter I have somehow gained 4-5 lbs - I have maintained a steady weight I was happy with for over a decade so this is a big deal to me and is very noticeable on my small frame and makes me extremely uncomfortable, not sure if it's metabolism slowing down as I get older or maybe my daily glass of wine habit adding up, which is really the only change I can think of. I have a bit more muscle now than I started out with but also quite a bit more fat (though thinking some of it may be water too because of how quickly it came on, but it's sticking around for weeks now so I dunno...). Anyways. I'm starting the summer off very uncomfortable in my own skin and want to shed the extra 5 lbs as a priority over building more muscle at this point. So I started up with doing cardio again to speed it up, however I absolutely cannot do HIIT, it makes me sick and leaves me too fatigued to do stuff with my two young kids. So I've been doing steady state, moderate intensity cardio in addition to weights for the past couple weeks. But I've been reading on various fitness sites that steady state is bad for women looking to lose a bit of fat and recomp, because it increases stress hormones and the catabolizing of muscle, and will leave you looking worse off. However, that sounds a bit like bro-science myth to me, I'm having trouble buying it. What are your guys' opinions - truth or bro science?? Should I keep with cardio or stick to weights?
edited July 2019


  • sijomialsijomial Member Posts: 16,622 Member Member Posts: 16,622 Member
    Steady state doesn't mean low, moderate or high intensity - it just means the intensity is relatively stable for the duration of your workout. I could do a very gentle steady ten minutes or an hour going as fast as I can maintain for the whole hour - both are steady state but very different in terms of intensity and duration, fuelling and stress

    Would an ultra gentle steady period of exercise be at all stressful?

    As for catabolising muscle, why exactly would you not just use glycogen and fat for energy - what in particular is unique about steady state of any intensity or any duration that would cause your body to use precious muscle to fuel that activity?

    As presented it's completely bro science and nonsensical BS too. My guess just uniformed "fitness gurus" trying to sell an alternative.

    BTW - it's not a binary choice between cardio or weights, why not both in a proportion to match your goals and preferences?
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