Tag Archives: cardio

Cardio Q&A

Mar 20 2010

Q: Now in your opinion do you recommend doing cardio after weights?? There is a guy at the gym that gives me so much grieve over doing cardio after my weight session. He swears I am going to lose muscle, how ever I did this with my last comp prep and guess what I won 3 titles!!! What are your thoughts. I was doing cardio in the morning, weights in the evening and cardio afterwards, any suggestions.

A:  Great question and there are so many beliefs and theories on this. I suggest either doing cardio first thing, on an empty stomach (a.m. cardio) or post workout. Those are the two best times because your glycogen levels are depleted and you will get into fat burning much quicker! Okay so you said it, you won 3 titles and that is how you did it. If it is not broke DON’t fix it! Your routine is PERFECT, in my book, and exactly how I recommend ultimate fat burning cardio. You are getting it in during both most efficient times! first thing and post workout! You are right on. Of course everyone has their theories and something to say but hey, 3 titles…. I think you are on to something!!

Few pointers
-never do more than 45-50 minutes at one session, than you can start to dig into muscle…
-don’t do your HIT session on an empty stomach. I would save those sessions for your second cardio session or on days you are off from training and can do those in the afternoon.

Great question and keep up the great work!

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a.m. and post workout cardio q&a

Jan 16 2010


I’m just curious how significant of a difference are the 2 on fat burning? I understand that your glycogen stores are lower after you haven’t eaten since the night before. But how much difference is there between that and your glycogen stores post-training? I can’t really seem to find an answer online. I find a lot of comparisons of fasted cardio to later in the day but not fasted cardio to post training. Just wondering…? :)


Another great question. There is not a perfect answer for this question but here is my take on it.

the two best times to do cardio is post workout and first thing in the a.m. reason, your glycogen stores are depleted. After a nights sleep, you have basically fasted what say, 6 hours or so. When you get up to do your cardio, your body doesn’t have to initially burn through glycogen before it gets into fat burning. Same as post workout, your glycogen stores get depleted during your workout, as all yoru glycogen is used as energy to get through your workout, and then you step on a machine for cardio and again, you move into fat burning quicker. Now just looking at the facts…

nights sleep— 6 hours fast

post workout— been eating all day, get a great workout, glycogen stores depleted but still wasn’t a 6 hour fast… Have more meals in you that maybe haven’t been burned through… But then again you just had a ridiculous workout so are burning that glycogen up quicker than a nights sleep where there is no activity other than your bodily functions… See how it is really a hard topic.

Those are the two best times to maximize efficiency but it can be a sticky subject. Either way, it is better to pick one of the two times over eating a meal and jumping on the treadmill.

Another thought is when you start doing two a days, even when you aren’t pre contest, when you want to pick up your metabolism twice, maybe 20-25 in the a.m. and 20-25 in the p.m. (less at once but twice a day), it gets you into the routine of maximizing both most efficient times to do cardio!

If you are pre contest, getting up for a.m cardio gets you in the routine of when you will be doing a.m. and post workout cardio so that also is nice to already get adjusted.

On another note, I am just such a firm believer in starting your day right and getting up, getting your heart rate up, digging into those fat stores quicker, getting that natural adrenaline going and endorphins flowing. Endorphins put you in a euphoric state and if you can get those going first thing in the a.m., you will start your day off on the right foot, feeling amazing, and from there that maps out the rest of your day!!! The energy you carry from your morning is the energy you carry with you for the rest of the day so getting those endorphins flowing ensures your day is that much better!!!

Hope that helps.

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Dec 27 2009


I don’t have a show coming up anytime soon so I have been skipping cardio now for almost 2 months. I go in and do an hour of hard weight training because that’s what I enjoy and I’m finding that my body looks as good if not better than when I was doing cardio and weight training combined. I suspect this is because it’s much easier to maintain than create but if so, I’m wondering how come you don’t bail on cardio all together yourself?

A: WOW, great question! You bring up a very interesting topic! First of all, you are listening to your heart and body and therefore seeing the response you are creating as your body is responding well! Now that you don’t have to kill yourself with cardio and I am sure have more food in your system, i.e. more glycogen stores, you are able to kill it with awesome workouts. Not only are you getting more out of your weight training workouts but I am sure you are enjoying them so much more because you have the energy, mentally and physically to push yourself. You are burning crazy calories during your weight training that you are able to get away with less cardio. I never suggest NO cardio because it is good to still get in the habit of doing it. Not only to keep your metabolism up but your heart healthy. You do not need to do crazy amounts but maybe 20-40 minutes 4-5 dimes a week. For someone like you who is staying in better shape and getting away with NONE, you may want to just do 3 20 minute sessions. Have fun with your cardio, like you are your training. It is amazing and something to think about… my thoughts are this.
– who says you need to do so much cardio pre contest? Is it because that is what everyone else does?
-everyone is different and every body is different!! You may be one that doesn’t need as much!
– If you keep yourself in great shape, year round, why should you have to kill yourself with cardio pre contest?
-low calories and high cardio only makes your energy levels low and your workouts poor!
– Think about it, when you are pre contest and doing endless amounts of cardio, who has the energy for an awesome weight training workout!??
– Maybe something to consider, as you are learning your body, that you don’t need that much cardio pre contest!
It kills me how many people push their cardio because that is what they think they have to do.
-Why does someone who stays close to their contest weight doing the same amount of cardio as one who has 20-30 lbs to lose?

I am a firm believer in cardio pre contest to get in the very best shape possible but not everyone has to do 2 hours a day! you definitely need to increase cardio throughout your prep but learn your body, what is too much and what is not enough. My suggestion is to pretend like you have a show on a certain day and do a trial pre contest run, to see what you can and cannot get away with! It is amazing to learn your body and maybe you find out that you were doing way too much cardio in your previous preps.

Something to consider!!
1/2 the time we do so much cardio that we don’t have the energy for workouts therefore go 1/2 a** and just try to get through them. We also don’t have the energy to push our cardio, since we are doing so much, so we just get through the cardio for minutes. What about having the energy and doing less cardio and having better workouts! You have the energy to push yourself harder, i.e. burning more calories and having more fun because you are not dragging throughout your cardio or training session!

On another note,
The biggest thing you are experiencing is the freedom of no stress. Often when we are in prep for a show, we have this unconscious stress that we have to get to a certain place, look a certain way, have a time frame and put unnecessary stress and pressure on our plates! when we do not have the stress of a show, it is amazing how well our bodies respond!! Cortisol is a huge factor in our success. When we are under stress and cortisol levels rise, our bodies hold on and don’t respond! When you eliminate cortisol, it is amazing how your body responds! When we are under stress (unconscious or conscious) our bodies do not respond so we push ourselves with more and more cardio to get a response but still the fat does not melt away! Take away the stress, do less cardio and look how your body responds! It is quite amazing, isn’t it! You are experiencing the beauty of living the lifestyle! Sometimes a contest prep only adds pressure that is unnecessary and actually mentally and physically keeps you from reaching your ultimate goals! Something to think about…

I am so proud and excited for you as you are learning more about yourself but more than anything, learning key factors that will continually help you with your fitness goals!

Thanks for your question and hope that helps! :)

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combination is the only way to fat loss

Nov 17 2009

Cardio certainly has its place in every fitness program but it should be a part of a balanced program including cardio, strength training, and a healthy diet. It kills me when people think cardio is the only way to achieve your goals and lose body fat!

The key to losing body fat and keeping it off is a combination of all three components, not just cardio.  Doesn’t it kill you when you see women killing it with the cardio and are avoiding the weights, afraid of putting on too much size and muscle!?  Lean muscle is the driving force behind your metabolism and the only way to increase your metabolism or burn more calories at rest, is to increase lean muscle through strength training. Do people even understand the type of weight you have to push and the amount and type of calories you have to ingest to put on even an oz of muscle!!!?

So in order to truly rev up your metabolism and get rid of body fat you have to incorporate the weights with your diet and cardio.  It is not one or the other but a combination of both!! It really isn’t rocket science!

The more lean muscle mass you have, the less fat you will have. The reason for this is that muscle actually burns fat. Muscle helps the body burn calories for hours after a workout. It has been proven, in studies, that those who lift weights have less body fat and a higher metabolism than those who only do cardio!

Not only will more muscle decrease body fat but will keep your strength up and therefore less likely to get injured.   Of course, that doesn’t mean you should over do the weights because this can also injure you. But, if you are active in other sports, it is smart to lift some weights so your body is stronger and can perform longer and more efficiently without getting injured.

Have you heard of “skinny fat”? That is a perfect example of losing weight with cardio without the muscle tone.  You definitely will see the numbers drop on the scale, as you decrease what muscle you do have and are not adding muscle with weight training, but that is not the goal.  The goal is your shape, how you look and how you fill out your clothes.  You want to be tight, toned and curvy in all the right places.  Sorry but only doing cardio is not the key to toning!  The best way to change this is to shape your body through building muscle. This will tighten, firm, tone, and target those trouble spots that you just can’t seem to get rid of.
Weight training also fights osteoporosis.  Doctors always say that one of the best ways to fight this debilitating bone loss is to do weight-bearing activities, which increase bone density. Muscle has also been shown in major studies to fight the onset of type two diabetes, build the heart muscle to fight heart disease, and even help those who suffer from arthritis to be more symptom free.

Muscle also supports overall immunity. This is because muscle supplies the immune system with the disease-fighting amino acid glutamine. So, the more muscle you have the more glutamine is supplied to the immune system.

Cardiovascular activity is not the ONLY way to lose weight and keep it off.  You have to incorporate the weights and of course diet!! No secrets here…

Not only will strict and intense cardio with no weights decrease your results of losing the weight you want to lose and keeping the tone you want to keep but it can hurt your joints, internal organs, immune system, immune system and overall motivation when you don’t get the long lasting results you want.

But there is one thing that cardio doesn’t kill: your appetite. The more cardio you do, the hungrier you get. You burn a few measly calories, and then you eat twice as many afterward. The result? More weight gain and usually lots of it.  Think about it.  When you are doing endless hours of cardio, how hungry are you…?  It takes the right person to be able to constantly fight that hunger with always grabbing the right foods.  This can be scary, if you don’t know what food to grab in a time of pure hunger insanity!  Cardio is definitely a key component but not the only component!! You need a combination of all three: cardio, weights,

A few key pointers.. exercise is essential to weight loss. Without it, you are doomed to fail. Don’t think I am saying to not do any cardio but you must incorporate all components! You must exercise, but you must do the right kind of exercise to see and feel the results you are looking for. By committing to a mere eight weeks of the right exercises, in the right order, consistently, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve and maintain.  Be patent, realistic, follow all steps properly by incorporating ALL three components and after 8 weeks, if you don’t see your body changing and moving in the right direction, then we will talk!

That weight training and added muscle will speed up your metabolism and that muscle burns ten to twelve times the calories per pound each day that fat does. You’re boosting your metabolism not just during exercise but all day.  Hence, why when you are working out and training hard, you are ALWAYS hungry… The goal is to keep your metabolism revved up!

Strength training in combination of all other components, is the key to weight loss because it is the only way to maintain and build lean muscle, which boosts your metabolism.

give yourself 8 weeks and get back to me!


-weight training


No Secrets…

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limiting cardio

Oct 21 2009


A few weeks ago I asked you about training for a triathlon and a figure competition at the same time. I was wondering if you could explain how too much cardio can affect muscle loss and why we should limit our cardio to 50mins.

A: Great question. In prep for a triathlon you need a totally different type of diet with plenty of carbohydrates. Figure competition diets do not favor a high carb diet on a day in and day out basis, for the most part. If you are eating enough calories and or carbohydrates you will be able to exert more energy and will have more glycogen in your muscle bellies to sustain you longer. When you are using energy for fuel, our first energy source is Carbohydrates and when you do not have the carbohydrates in your stores to be burned, your body turns to protein (i.e. muscle wasting) when you performing higher intensity cardio. Figure and fitness competitors or those trying to lose body fat tend to do lower intensity cardio for a duration to stay within a fat-burning range. High interval cardio is also an option but only exerting high intervals a few minutes at a time and bringing your heart rate back down before bringing it back up. this is a great way to get your metabolism up and not dig into muscle but it is a fine line. HIT should be limited as one gets closer to a show and is carrying less body fat. I think you should not do more than 45-50 minutes of cardio a day because that is what is realistic. Our bodies are machines and get use to what we do very quickly. They are smart. If we are doing 2 hours of cardio a day, everyday, our bodies will need this amount of cardio to maintain your current condition. You have no room to go but up. If you want to drop weight or make changes to your physique, you need to increase cardio and who has time to do massive amounts of cardio. It is not realistic. 30-50 minutes a day is realistic, even 4-5 times a week. With the proper nutrition, you should not need to do much more to get in and stay in the best shape for life. This is a learning process, for sure. What I would recommend is doing 30-50 minutes a cardio 4-6 days a week to start and incorporating a few sessions of high interval training. Happy Cardio!

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Now that the show is over.. how much cardio?

Sep 29 2009

How Much Cardio Do You Need?

Now that I am post contest, what is the amount of cardio needed to stay in shape and what will I do? Well this is a great question! I ended doing 2 sessions of 45-50 minutes so you can not just stop all together with cardio! You have to slowly tapper off and get back to balance. This is what I will do and what I suggest. Now mind you, everyone is different, but this is a good balance.

I recommend doing high intensity interval training (HIIT) three times per week and steady state cardio about three times per week. As for HIIT, I like to either do intervals, incorporating the stepmill or running. Today my HIIT was running on the treadmill, going from 6.5mph-7.5 mph and the last minute up to all out 9.0mph to open up and burn out. I ran for a total of 2.5 miles and did that in 20 minutes. 20 minutes total is a good rule of thumb for HIIT, while at least 30 minutes is optimal for steady state work.

It is important to reevaluate your progress every couple of weeks and see how your body is responding. Off season is the fun time where you can play around with things and see what works and what doesn’t work for you. I had a blast with my cardio this a.m. My second cardio is going to be a nice bay walk with my dog. That is the joy of off season, do something different. Take your dog out to the part or kids out for a stroll. Have fun and do something other than that machine you are so use to.

Reevaluate yourself every few weeks, If you’re not progressing after two weeks, add five minutes to each cardio session and fine-tune your diet even more. At some point, you may also need to bump up the frequency of your steady state sessions, and maybe even add another HIIT session per week.

Going up to as many as seven hour-long sessions per week might be necessary to achieve the leanness you desire. However, I wouldn’t increase the HIIT to more than four (maybe five) days per week.

The good news is that it’s harder to get lean than it is to stay lean. So, while you may have to do what seems like endless amounts of cardio to get ripped, it won’t take near that much to keep your condition. Once you have your body where you want it, it is so much easier to play around and maintain it. This is what I recommend… take the time to build that foundation and get your body where you want it, as hard as the prep or progress may be but then once you are there it is easy to maintain! Let me help you with it!!


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