Friday, December 3, 2010

Is 16 minutes of cardio enough to get shredded?

Throughout the years I've often been asked the question, "Is 16 minutes of cardio really enough to get shredded?" People ask this question as though I was secretly doing hours of cardio when no one was looking and reporting to the world that I was only doing 16 minutes. That's simply not the case. I have always practiced exactly what I preach.

So is 16 minutes really enough? The proof is in the putting. I achieved what some called "drug like" condition in 2003 and finished an impressive fourth place in the light heavyweight class at the NPC USA (which is a non drug tested show) and capped off the contest season winning an IFBB Pro Card at the Team Universe. It was the best condition by far I ever achieved and I achieved that condition in large part due to the effectiveness of short duration/high intensity cardio.

Another great example of how effective 16 minutes is can be found in the documentary “I Want to Look Like That Guy.” In the film you see Stuart MacDonald undergo an amazing body transformation of 30% body fat to less than 6% body fat in 6 months. I’ll give you one guess what type of cardio Stuart did to achieve such outstanding results……If you said short duration/high intensity cardio you guessed correctly! Stuart did not spend hours doing cardio. He kept it short, he kept it intense and the fat melted away.

Short duration, high intensity cardio has a bigger elevating effect on your metabolism and keeps it elevated for a longer period of time after activity compared to long duration cardio. Plus, short duration cardio has less of any negative impact on the muscle building process. Those are two of the main points that make it the most effective approach for getting totally shredded.

The next time you are tempted to go for a 45 minute stroll on the treadmill STOP what you are doing and crank up the intensity for 16 crazy minutes of all out effort to really accelerate the fat loss process!

The other component for getting shredded is of course diet! I reveal the complete winning nutrition game plan in my new "Lost Logs" eBook. Along with every minute detail of my nutrition/supplement plan for 2003 you will see my detailed cardio log for insight on exactly how I implemented short duration/high intensity cardio to achieve the condition of my lifetime!

Believe. Achieve.


  1. Jeff, should I supplement post-cardio as I do post-workout, with whey and some high GI carbo?

  2. jeff,
    i hate to play the "what if" game, but this might be beneficial to beginning body builders. if all things being equal as far as the amount of time and dedication you applied in your early years: do you think that in 1993, after your teen natl show, if someone introduced you to the Max-OT training and nutritional disciplines, and you applied them with the same vigor you applied whatever methods you were using at the time, would you have gotten your pro card faster and possibly stayed in the game longer? thanks for your time!

  3. Jeff,
    I've changed my cardio to the long boring 30 minutes 4 times a week to the maxOT style 16 minutes like you say. Doing this about 5-6 times a week and the results are great. However to maintain my abs should I continue the grueling 5-6 days. Will my abs retreat back behind the fat should I change to the 2-3 days instead?

  4. What should percentage of max heart rate be for this high intensity cardio?

  5. Tony,

    I think the simple answer to that question is yes!

  6. Fullmansion -

    Yes, post cardio supplementation makes sense.

  7. I don't go by a certain heart rate, I go by rate of perceived exertion and my goal is to be working outside of my comfort zone for the whole 16 minutes.

  8. Dion,

    Frequency will also depend on caloric intake and your primary goals. If you want to maintain condition you may need to adjust frequency OR caloric intake depending on how your results are coming along. It is very possible to maintain with 3-4 days of cardio if your calories are in a good range.

  9. Hi jeff,
    Ffirst of all I really appreciate you and your professionalism. i have a Question and a Request for you:
    Q: whey 16 minutes and not 15 or 20...
    Who is responsible for this determination, resolution and precision of setting this?
    R. chould you upload some precontast photoes of you?
    thanks in advance


  10. The blog post below addresses the 16 minute question:

    If you look through the various entries you will see some photos pre-contest. More will be added throughout posts in the future.

    You can also find a selection of photos on my facebook page.

  11. Hi Jeff, as I understanding the measurements of calories on a machine with running surface is not objective? For example I was running today for 16 minutes, and machine shows that I've spent 262 calories, but is it true that the main effect of this cardio training taking effect after cardio session? That is the machine shows 262 calories, but it making effect through the night and day on 600 calories? Thanks.

    I'm interested of your diet, but there is an error 404.

  12. You care correct. The main effect of cardio is not what you are burining at that point and time but rather the effect on your metabolism the hours after exercise.

    I fixed the link to the "Lost Logs" page.

  13. Jeff,

    I have a dilemma. I am extremely overweight. I have cleaned up my diet over the last 2 months and have lost aroun d 50lbs. My question is I follow the Max-OT training principles. I am vey strong. I weight 352lbs right now. In the above article, should I incorporate the Max-OT cardio principles 6X/week? I have a goal to compete in my first bodybuilding competition next August. What should I do?


  14. Yes, you should incorporate all the Max-OT principles to best stimulate muscle growth which in turn will aid in the fat loss process. And to emphasis fat loss I would recommend 5-7 times a week of Max-OT cardio.