Cardio Timing

A common question I receive is about cardio timing in relation to the weight training workout, especially from people who have seen “I Want to Look Like That Guy.”

During the documentary you will notice that Stuart typically did cardio directly after weight training rather than the recommended 8-12 hour separation that is considered more ideal according to the Max-OT principles that I teach.  Though it may not be “ideal,” cardio performed directly after weight training can still very effective as exhibited clearly by Stuart’s results.

Most people do not have the ability with their schedules to make it to the gym twice in one day and that is OK.  If you can only make it one time a day I recommend cardio after weight training rather than before so you are as strong as possible when lifting.

Here are a few other cardio tips to help you maximize results:

* Keep cardio short and intense. 16 to 20 minutes of high intensity cardio will have a greater effect on elevating your metabolism and will keep your metabolism elevated longer after exercise than long duration moderate intensity cardio.

* Work out of your comfort zone the entire session. You should be “huffing and puffing” throughout.

* Set distance goals and try to beat them every session. Working to beat your distance goals will give you a tangible marker of intensity to strive for rather than simply putting in your time.

* Frequency. If fat loss is a high priority I recommend cardio 5-7 days a week. Remember every cardio session you do will give your metabolism a jolt and fire up the fat burning process!


  1. Hey Jeff, I was wondering what is more a effective, it terms of fat loss, method to intensify the treadmill – would you go faster, or increase the incline?

    • I think the important thing is that you are “huffing and puffing” and out of your comfort zone. Speed and/or incline will accomplish that by increasing intensity. I think either is effective and not sure one is better than the other.

  2. Hi Jeff,

    my main goal is fat loss and even though I perform Max-OT cardio in the morning and in the evening after weight training, I achieve great results.
    Best regards from Germany

  3. Hey Jeff,

    Im feeling frustrated with my plateau for my shoulder press and bench press. I also took a week off when I trained for 7 weeks but i have been stuck on lifting the same weight.

    What do you think I should do?


    • Keep on executing the principles, all the principles, to the best of your abilities and pay special attention to the post workout window for nutrient timing and selection. Over time you should be able to edge your numbers up. Even if you don’t increase for a while but you are working intensely in the 4-6 rep range you will still be creating the stimulus for improvement.

      • I usually have some fruit, semi skimmed milk with whey protein isolate and white bread/tortilla straight after my workout.

        2-2.5 hrs later, I will eat low and high GI carbs. High GI carbs comprising of mainly a glass of juice.

        Do you think everything im doing here is correct?


  4. Hi Jeff, just have a few questions about diet. How important was the HSC carb drink pre/post workout? As of now, my pre/post workout drinks just contain whey protein. If you think the HSC drink is absolutely necessary, where can I buy HSC or what are some appropriate substitutes for it?

    Also, what is your opinion regarding low carb diets. I’ve been following a strict diet/workout regime for quite sometime now but can’t seem to lose fat around my waist/belly area.


    • I think post workout carbohydrates are very important. AST Sports Science no longer makes Creatine HSC but you can sub that with AST’s DGC crystals as your post workout carb source or any high GI carb mixed with the whey will do.

      I think a nutrition plan should contain carbohydrates you just want to make sure to select and time them correctly.

      • Jeff,

        I have been using a sugar-sweetened soda mixed w/VP2 as a post-workout drink since I ran out of DGC crystals. Do you think this an ok replacement as a high GI carb source? I kind of like the taste of it…..

        Max OT Weights/Cardio have done wonders! Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  5. you mentioned the post workout window, so my nutrition timing and selection looks like this, is it o.k?

    1) postworkout shake:
    1 scoop whey isolate + creatine(5 grams) + glutamine(5 grams)+sucrose

    2) (after 30 minutes) post workout 2:
    1 scoop whey isolate + creatine(5 grams)+ glutamine(5 grams)+ 1 potato + 1 capsule multivitamin

    3)(after 30 minutes);
    7 egg whites + 1 potato

  6. Hi Jeff, just have a few questions for you.

    Do you recommend if someone would just jump into say the last stages of Stu’s diet plan, as appose to cutting off calories gradually as Stud did in the movie. What was the purpose of gradually skimming?

    What is your opinion on people taking 1 day off in the week to eat whatever they want (I don’t mean excessive cakes and candy, but just 1 day to forget about calorie restriction)?

    • I think you want to follow a gradual skimming pattern. This helps you build and maintain muscle throughout the process and helps increas your metabolism over time.

      I think a day off is fine unless you have a specific deadline or event you are getting ready for then I think you don’t want to waste a day.

  7. thanks for the feedback!

  8. Hello Jeff,

    I was wondering if you could loose fat by your cardio program, the 20 minutes of hard cardio after every workout 5 times a week, if you eat like a normally person?

    Can i reach the same results as Stuart if i eat normally, but still hit the cardio and gym 5 times a week?

    • I don’t believe you can get ultra lean and eat like a “normal” person. To build and maintain muscle while getting shredded you need to have a very good nutrition plan and execute it consistently.

  9. Hi Jeff,

    In the movie Stu repeatedly struggles with hunger near the end of the diet plan. As one approaches the later stages of your diet plan is it a “positive” sign to feel hungry between meals, to become extremely lean?

    Also, what is your response to people that say hunger puts your body in starvation mode and halts fat loss?

    (I’m not disagreeing with your methods, because clearly Stu got into amazing shape. I just want to get your opinion on this topic)

    • If you are emphasizing maximum fat loss and trying to take your body to extreme Leanness, I think it is a good and inevitable sign to be hungry between meals or certainly hungry when time to eat again.

      The program has certain elements to off set the “starvation” halting of fat loss. Things such as smart nutrient timing and selection as well as the inclusion of lots of vegetables for example.

  10. Hi Jeff,

    I bought the I want to look like that guy system and the Lost Logs. Love it! Thank you so much. I’f got still a lot of reading to do (lol). I want to ask you on your exercise training DvD”s you drink a shake between set’s is it your pre-workout shake or another only whey shake or so? So I guess I want to ask you if it’s okay to drink your pre-workout shake within your workout? Or is it the post workout shake? Also Stuart did his cardio after weight training I see so I guess his post workout shake is after the cardio not between weight training and cardio. I hope they are not stupid question I’m a Novice in training (lol). My goal is now to shorten my workout time I’m about 1 hour and 20 minutes (with cardio). Hope I don’t lose muscles (lol).

    Thanks Jeff

    From the Netherlands

    • Thanks again for your orders.

      The drink you see in the DVD is the Pre shake. I drink that during the warm up and first part of the workout.

      When doing cardio after training, have the post drink after your cardio.

      Best advice I can give is learn and execute the principles. You’ll love it.

  11. avatar
    Stephen B.

    Jeff, I know as Stuart got closer to the contest he was doing cardio twice a day. Is there not a problem doing so much cardio when calories are so low? I know that too much exercise and too low calories will backfire at some point. Or is the answer that you can get away with it for a short period of time.


    • This is only done when targeting maximum fat loss and trying to get to extreme levels of low body fat. And that is why I wouldn’t do this tactic until towards the end of the preparation.

  12. Jeff, as I progress through the diet/workout program, there come times where I can’t lift as much as I did the previous week. This happened to me in bench press as well as military press. Am I doing something incorrectly? or should I just continue with the program.

    As I continue to restrict calories, am I losing muscle along with the fat?

    • If you execute the program in all phases potential muscle loss while focusing on fat burning will be kept to a minimum. As you work to emphasis maximum fat burning over a longer period of time there will come a point in the process where you may find some strength decline or at minimum your strength will maintain but not show much signs of increasing. This is part of the trade off if your emphasis is maximum fat burning and you have skimmed your calories very low over a long period of time and increased cardio frequency.

      If the goal is maximum fat burning I would say continue to execute all phases of the plan to the best of your ability and don’t be too concerned with some minor strength fluctuations. Also don’t “talk yourself” into becoming weaker. Chunk your workouts down and focus on the power set by set. You will be surprised how well that can work.

  13. Hi Jeff,

    Quick question for you, I’m a hockey player(ice) and I’m just wondering if I can use that as a substitute for doing cardio in the gym?

  14. Hey Jeff, am I able to use HIIT for my cardio and just do a minute of sprints then rest for 90 seconds and so on and so forth?

  15. Hi Jeff, quick question, im 32 years old, 6’0 and 202 pounds. Im pretty lean and got some good muscle growth but having a hard time burning that last bit of lower belly fat so my full abs will show. So I basically display a 4 pack and a little pouch at the bottom that I can never seem to get rid of no matter how much cardio and dieting I have tried. Upper abs are lean its just right there around my belly button. Been like this for years and its frustrating because I execute hanging leg raises, decline situps with weight, ball crunches, oblique sidebends ect… do you have any quick advice you could give me because im startin to wonder if im even capable achieving a full 6 pack because I have heard that genetics also play a role in how well a persons abs develope. Any info id sure appreciate it

  16. I wanted you to know I really enjoyed watching “I want to look like that guy.” I think the video was so enjoyable to watch because of both your cool genuine personalities. Stuart was funny and I really liked your nice yet “no excuses” kind of approach on coaching. Cheers.

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