On The Table:

Should bodybuilders dieting for a contest perform high-intensity interval training (HIIT, which comprises alternating periods of fast-paced exercise with slow-paced exercise) or is slow-and-steady cardio a better option?


Fouad Abiad: Yes

“I have seen the studies on interval training and try to incorporate it in my own prep. When people think ‘interval,’ they tend to think too extreme. Interval training to me can be as simple as taking every other step on the StepMill for two minutes. Although it doesn’t sound torturous, it is interval-style training and will kick your ass!”

Guy Cisternino: No

“I have always done the treadmill on a high incline, and this year I’ve started incorporating the StepMill, as well. For bodybuilders in a calorie-deficient state, doing HIIT wouldn’t benefit fat loss, but might strip the body of hard earned muscle. A steady pace and a heart rate of 130 beats per minute is ideal for burning fat and maintaining muscle.”

Flex Lewis: Yes

“I do about 30 to 40 minutes in the morning, an another 30 minutes before bed of hard, extensive cardio. The cardio is regular intensity while keeping the heart rate high, and is done twice a day every day, regardless.”


Phil Heath: Yes

“I enjoy doing various styles of cardio but have found intervals work great for me. Some will talk about losing a bit of muscle mass, but they always need to realize that although you may lose some muscle, you’ll also lose a ton of fat.”


Dusty Hanshaw: Yes

“I use interval training during prep as a way to decrease the amount of time I have to spend doing cardio.”

Bautista hero
Kai Greene: Yes

“When contest prep kicks in, I use the StepMill, which is my favorite cardio machine, using interval training for two minutes hard followed by one minute for active recovery, and then repeating the cycles. As the contest approaches, I will double the cardio sessions each day from the eight-week mark, for up to an hour each time.”

Rousey Derriere


Juan Morel: Yes

“Like everything, it cannot be misused. Done properly, it can be effective for bodybuilders.”


Start the Year Strong by Cutting the C.R.A.P.

Shawn Rhoden: Yes

“Muscle loss should not be an issue, provided the calories are high enough to offset muscle catabolism.”



Erik Fankhouser: No

“Energy levels are too low to reach a high-intensity to be effective. Slow and steady wins the race.”


Finn Balor
Ben Pakulski: Yes

“I do what needs to be done. If that means balls-out cardio, then that’s what I do. I actually prefer doing intervals. Time goes by faster, and I feel great when I’m done. Steady-state cardio is boring.”


Neil Hill: Yes

“Interval training can be extremely effective in burning body fat if done correctly. However, I suggest you allow your target heart rate to reach around 90% only for 30-60 minutes max, making sure you keep your heart rate at around 80% for the next four minutes. I use interval cardio with a lot of my athletes, but I’m very careful about how hard I allow themselves to push before they lose muscle mass.”