I am currently cutting body fat. I am on a calorie deficit cutting my carbs down to .75 to 1 gram per lb of my bodyweight. I am taking 200 g of protein (I am 200 pounds). I have a baby at the house so I only have time for 3 days a week total body workout, using 5x5 or 4x6 rep schemes to maintain muscle mass while burning energy. I do a compound exercise for horizontal push,vertical pull, horizontal pull, vertical pull from ground, and vertical push. along with 2 accessory exercises such as core or arms. I do a metabolic conditioning workout on 1 workout, using two giant sets of 4 exercises each. The other two workouts I superset everything I can.

I spend most of my time that is not in the gym either working at a desk or taking care of the baby. My question is.. do I absolutely need cardio to shed body fat as well, or is the weightlifting and calorie deficit enough? I do not have time for cardio to he added to my routine. I am trying to cut enough body fat to expose my core.. but will cardio just expedite the process, or is it an absolute necessity? I understand cardio is needed for conditioning, aerobic, etc.. but I dont have time.

I am at about 22% body fat if that makes a difference

1 Answer 1


For the purposes of lowering your bodyfat percentage, the only benefit of cardio is an increase on the "energy out" side of the energy balance equation. There are certainly other benefits to cardio, but not for the specific purpose of lowering your bodyfat percentage. Strength training is very useful for lowering your bodyfat percentage as it will bring up your lean mass and thus a person weighing 160 might be 10% bodyfat or 20% or any% depending on how much of that is lean mass vs fat mass.

The most important part is the caloric deficit. Because energy expenditure is variable, there's no way to have exact precision in how much of a deficit you are in. However, you can usually tweak what you're doing enough that you can speed up or slow down results. In general though, you don't want to be losing weight any slower than 0.5% of your total bodyweight per week (on average) nor faster than 1.0% of your total bodyweight per week. Strength training helps to retain or even build lean mass while losing fat.

And while the caloric deficit is technically the most important part, it's worthless without consistency. Your physique is the result of long term adaptations to your nutrition and activities (within certain genetic parameters). The bottom line is that cardio can help you to burn additional calories, YOU DO NOT NEED IT FOR WEIGHT LOSS, but it can be useful in other ways.


Energy Balance Equation

  • [Energy In] - [Energy Out] = [Net Balance]

Body Fat Percentage

  • [Total Mass] / [Fat Mass] = [Body Fat Percentage]
    • [Total Mass] = [Fat Mass] + [Lean Mass]
      • Lean mass is everything that isn't fat. Muscle, bone, water, hair, etc.

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