The Elite Physique

Contest Prep Cardio

Contest Prep Cardio Tips To Burn More Fat

woman doing Contest Prep Cardio

Your contest prep cardio needs are in direct relation to your current body fat, goal, and deadline.  If you are 12 weeks out and 13% body fat, there is no reason to do an hour of cardio every day right out the gate.  Most competitors make costly mistakes with cardio, doing too much too soon.  The end result is a complete disaster.  Killing the cardio is one thing, but killing yourself with excessive cardio is another thing entirely.

Basic Cardio Facts

If getting a contest-ready body is your goal, chances are you are going to have to implement some form of cardio.

Do you know…

  • When to plug-in cardio?
  • How much cardio to do?
  • What time of day to do cardio?

All these are general questions and are independent on each person’s metabolic needs.  Some athletes will need to do a little more cardio in the end to capitalize on fat loss. Others can coast along and implement a higher cardio day here and there to keep fat loss on the upbeat.

When to Plug-in Cardio

In a 12 week contest prep, the point in which you plug-in cardio will vary from person to person.  Don’t jump into doing cardio 45-60 minutes or more your first week of prep.  It can have disastrous results down the line.

First, jumping into a massive amount of cardio at the beginning of your contest prep will only burn you out in a matter of weeks.  When that happens you can say good-bye to your contest-ready body.

Second, starting out with a massive amount of cardio leaves no room for tweaking when a plateau hits or your energy levels lower.  There may be a chance that you don’t need an enormous amount of cardio.

Third, doing an extreme amount of cardio every day at the start of your prep plan will lead to cardio adaptation. This means you’ll need more and more cardio each week to keep cardio on the upbeat and effective.

How Much Cardio Should You Do?

You need to figure out how much body fat you have to lose.  If you are more than 20% body fat, you should diet down first, to lose body fat before you start your actual contest prep.  A 12 week contest prep is not for losing an excessive amount of body fat. You need to get the excess weight off first before you start a contest prep.  Contest prep is about detailing the muscle.  That’s why it’s only 12 weeks.  Twelve weeks of detailing.

When you are at least 20% you can start your contest prep cardio.  You might start off with cardio 4 days a week for 30 minutes.  Keep that format for two weeks then bump it up.  The idea is to gradually increase it so your body is responsive to it.

What Time of Day to Do Cardio

The time if day you do your cardio can have an effect on how much body fat you lose.  Ideally, it’s best to do fasted cardio.  That’s your window to burn body fat.  Another option is to do cardio right after weight training.  That way you can use your glycogen stores for training.  Lastly, cardio at the end of the day.  The serious ones will do cardio after their last meal, regardless of what time it is.

Most Importantly…red arrow pointing down

So there it is.  Start your cardio off when you are 20% body fat or less.  Start your cardio off on the low end and build it over the course of 12 weeks.  Lastly, do either fasted cardio, cardio after training or at the end of the day.


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Now, if you want even more cardio secrets on how to really get that body fat off you'll love this.  Get my FREE Contest Prep Crash Course and start seeing results in the first week.  Learn about cardio, diet, training, etc.  Click the link below for immediate access...

FREE Contest Prep Crash Course

Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT

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My name is Karen Sessions and I am a life-time natural female bodybuilder, multi-certified fitness instructor, author, specialist in performance nutrition, and a success coach. I've been in the fitness industry since 1988! I teach people Just Like You how to transform their bodies, get in shape, build muscle, lose fat and compete in Bodybuilding, Physique, and Figure Competitions. When you have the CORRECT information you can have total confidence and turn your dreams into reality... and I can help transform YOUR body. I have helped THOUSANDS of clients reach their goals and I can help you, too. Be sure to grab my free gift above so you can start moving toward your goal.

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