Intense Aerobic Exercise for Manly Men…Sissies Beware!

July 10, 2007

Many guys dread aerobic exercise. It isn’t as fun as lifting weights…plus many guys are afraid it is going to make them look like a marathon runner. I don’t want to blast marathon runners, but many of those guys are seriously lacking in muscle! I don’t like the bulky look, but the skeleton look isn’t so good either! Note: I’m not saying that marathon runners are sissies either…that is seriously a tough form of exercise!

man on treadmill

If you want to get ripped, you will lose SOME muscle…it really isn’t a big deal because 90% of men have plenty of muscle…they just need to get rid of a lot of fat. Don’t worry about losing a bit of muscle when you are in the fat burning mode. It is really easy to gain back once you burn off that excess body fat.

So How Do You Burn Off Fat Without Becoming a Complete Sissy in the Process?

You need to become familiar with intense aerobic exercise. You body is smart and will adapt to any type of exercise you perform. If you perform long bouts of low intensity aerobic exercise, then your body will adapt by burning both fat and muscle. Larger muscles hinder your ability to run for long periods of time…that is why you see very few muscular long distance runners.

marathon runners

On the other hand…you have sprinters. Sprinters have to push their muscles as hard as possible, to create maximum speed. The body adapts by making the body lighter, but mainly by targetting body fat and not muscle…it needs to keep the muscle for the explosive effort that sprinting requires. Sprinters are ripped, because the body adapts correctly to the type of exercise being performed.

muscular sprinters

The popular thing amoung trainers is to tell you to perform aerobic exercise at a target heart rate of around 70% of your maximum heart rate and keep it there for 30-60 minutes. I completely disagree! Almost all of the super toned people I know perform cardio at a much higher level.

There is a great strategy to burn body fat called High Intensity Interval Training. It is basically a way to get really leaned and toned like a sprinter. The amazing thing is that this type of cardio workout will help you tone every muscle in your body. It does this by increasing your natural fat burning hormone.

Click Hereand you will be taken to my butt kickin’, fat burning, intense aerobic exercise workout (Sorry…I’ll come up with a better name soon).


Rusty Moore

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt Barlow July 12, 2007 at 8:33 am

Great article. You bring up a good point that most guys would rather look like a pro sprinter than a pro marathon runner.

Gregg July 26, 2007 at 10:52 am

Great article, Rusty. One of my favorite interval training programs is to run sprints up a hill near me. It takes about 15 seconds to sprint up. Then I walk down and repeat. Ouch!

PS – I’m not so sure about those shorts, man!

admin July 26, 2007 at 1:03 pm

Are you referring to the swimsuit I was wearing on the first page…yeah, I was NOT very comfortable wearing that…LOL! I only wore that swimsuit once and it was in Mexico. I don’t think I’d get away with that in the states! I’m a “board shorts” wearing guy for the most part.

I’ve done the “hill sprints” as well. I like doing those, I just have to really warmup first…I pulled my achilles tendon doing that a few years back.

Getting old sucks!


Tyler Durden August 23, 2007 at 8:02 am

I like your articles, Rusty!
I’ve been reading them for 4 months on and i share the same opinion about fitness, bodybuilding. I naturaly have an athetic body i discoved it when i got 16 i had a pretty lean and muscular body without exercising and i thought i could get a killer body by going to the gym. But like a lot of other guys i got obsessed with muscle mass and power(how much i can bench press)
So i started eating a lot cuz those “cheesy” bodybuilding mags told me to eat like pig to gain muscle i bought a lot of whey protein when i was 17. total waste of money….but came a lot of acnes with it
So I used to be one of those gym rates and had too big muscles and relativly high body fat level. I had huge back so i wasn’t hip at all.
On the other hand i gain fat very fast on my face so i have to keep my fat low unless i want to look like a pig so i agree that low body fat means definition in the face.(maybe that’s more important than def in the body by the way…)
For about a year i stopped concentrating on muscle mass now i want average size but very ripped body.
My role models: Mark Walhberg as CK model, Brad pitt in Fight Club
so i just wanted to thank you for your articles they keep me motivated.

admin August 23, 2007 at 1:02 pm


Thanks buddy! I’m glad you came to your senses and have good role models now. Brad Pitt in Fight Club has an ideal physique.

I completely believe that a man’s face looks better at a lower body fat percentage. When you reach your 30’s and 40’s a lean face makes you look much younger. Almost all guys in their late 20’s begin to develop a chubby face and lose definition around their jaw line.

I think 9 out of 10 guys would look WAY better if they completely forgot about trying to gain muscle mass. I have completely focused on just trying to get toned for a number of years and I look better every year…even though I’m almost 40, so I’m suppose to be getting fat and out of shape…LOL!

I will try to post to my blog at least once every other day. There is just so much to share when it comes to getting in great shape.

Thanks for reading my articles at ezinearticles by the way. My articles were read over 90,000 times, so I figured I better start a blog.


THOMAS September 9, 2007 at 12:43 pm

I agree with everything you say I was wondering what your take is on MAX OT CARDIO ?

THOMAS September 9, 2007 at 11:00 pm

Rusty I always thought that high intensity cardio would bulk up my legs but after 4 weeks and its slimed them down. I use to think low intesity was how you got them lean. I have naturally thick legs. High intenisty job seems like it just melts the fat off them? Especiially in the abs? What would be the best cardio machine to slim down the legs the best? i feel the tredmill get the best workout

admin September 9, 2007 at 11:16 pm


I really think the treadmill is the way to go for slimming the legs down. The exercise bike pumps up the legs a bit, so not the best if you want to slim down the legs. For you I would recommend the treadmill.

I stick to the treadmill because I like having slim legs as well…they fit into pants better.


biggahboy January 2, 2008 at 4:21 am

hi Rusty, this is a very interesting article on HIIT, but i have a question just to clarify that what im doing is similar, or inline with what you recommend. if its not im going to have to switch it up.

my fitness program consists primarily of body weight exercises and a set of dumbells (for my biceps), so that covers my weight and resistance training because i do not have access to a gym. (And im one of those who believe in body weight workouts.)

as for my cardio, i jog approximately 4 miles a day around my neighborhood and its usually a normal paced jog. i have been doing this for 4 times a week for a month and im noticing some definition in my chest and arms.

now for my question, i want fast or other, substantial results. (I am going for the Will Smith “I Am Legend” look) should i stick with my current cardio program or switch up my cardio.


admin January 2, 2008 at 2:08 pm

A couple of things…

1) Make sure your body is in a fasted state when you exercise…especially when you run. Do this by not touching any type of calorie 4-5 hours before your workout. Your body will be forced to burn fat for fuel, since there is no other form of energy in your body.

2) Keep your exact workout until the fat loss stalls. Once you get to a sticking point, you are going to have to get a little more intense. At some point you are going to want to increase the speed when jogging. Maybe you run at a faster speed for one minute alternated with jogging for one minute…until you finish the 4 miles. Another alternative would be to run for one block alternating with jogging for three (that way you wouldn’t need a watch). You really want to do this type of intense cardio to boost your natural HGH levels. This is what will help you look extra lean.

3) The last 5 pounds are the hardest to lose. It is this way for everybody…don’t stress out. It may take you the same amount of time to lose those last 5 pounds as it did the first 15.

4) Get a little bit skinnier than what you want to get for 3-4 weeks. Your skin will shrink down to this skinnier size, but when you add a tiny bit of mass after this 4 week period, your skin will look extra tight (an advanced tip I haven’t discussed on this site yet).

Hope that helps!


biggahboy January 3, 2008 at 1:06 am

thanks alot Rusty, this is really going to help tweak up my workout. i have been reading more on the high intensity interval training and it makes alot of sense. and yes…this info helps alot.

iam a new reader and i just want to say you have a very informative website. keep up the good work

admin January 3, 2008 at 4:17 am

Appreciate the compliment. I also enjoy comments from readers to let me know what they find useful, etc. Keep working at it and you will have no problem getting to the level of Will Smith.


Stephen May 2, 2008 at 10:11 am

Stumbled on this older article. I am very skinny but plagued with the gut. I am 130lbs and 5’10”. Yeah, goofy. Talking about the muscle loss while burning fat. What do you think about someone in my position? I feel like I can’t afford to lose muscle when it is so difficult for me to put it on. When I was in high school years ago i was lean. I did weightless workouts, ran, skateboarded, and skim boarded. The abs are there, just the fat is blocking it.

Reading about the sprinters, should I do sprints? Like suicides? Someone told me to do explosive weightlifting and explosive cardio to lean out and put on the 10lbs of muscle I need.

admin May 5, 2008 at 12:32 am


I’m a skimboard maniac! I grew up on a big-time skimboarding beach called “Dash Point”. Love it!

For someone in your position, you may want to stick to a higher volume of lifting and less cardio (the opposite of what I normally recommend). Think along the lines of doing 3-4 exercises per body part and 4-5 sets per exercise. This is a long workout in the free-weight area, so you won’t have too much more time or energy to do cardio. Do sprint intervals maybe 2-3 times a week max…and no other cardio until you gain a bit more muscle.

Once you add 10 more pounds, then follow the typical advice on my blog. You can easily reach your goal of adding 10 more pounds of muscle and losing that body fat in 6-9 months max (probably sooner) if you take it seriously.

Have a great one,


L Hook May 18, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Hey Rusty,

Loved the article. I’ve recently decided to become serious about getting in shape and have been working out 5days a week. Im trying to get rid of excess fat by jogging 2miles and hitting the bike for 1/2hr 5days a week. I do a lot of weightless ab/oblique exercises and some tricep/bicep etc. exercises with weights. The GNC guy told me to take a multivitamin pill per day, a performance pill before the workout, and whey protein after the workout. Any flaws in this plan? I wanna see my abs! lol

admin May 20, 2008 at 2:42 am

L Hook,

It depends upon the pill you are taking before your workout. The only pill I typically endorse is 200mg of caffeine on an empty stomach. It is cheap and works very well. Especially on a low carb diet.


L Hook May 26, 2008 at 9:24 am

The pill is Ultimate Thermo Pump, a GNC product.

*Update* I can see my abs, starting to lose most of the excess flab around my stomach. Seems that I just need to continue with the plan @ this point!

admin May 28, 2008 at 2:04 am

L Hook,

You don’t want to take this product. It is a Nitric Oxide supplement. N.O. Supplements enhance “the pump”, but inhibits fat breakdown. This is something I just learned about in Lyle McDonald’s book The Stubborn Fat Solution. Save your money AND get better results. Great news about your results…just keep doing what you are doing!


Chris July 4, 2008 at 2:25 pm

Hey Rusty,

I wholeheartedly agreee with your advocation of HIIT. For cardio, I do a workout similar to your HIIT treadmill workout. (1-2 min. on, 1 min. off) I use a polar heartrate monitor for motivation; it makes the workout fun, like a video game. I’m 25, and usually aim for 90% (175 bpm) on the high end of my intervals. I’ve heard from some sources that you can go even higher as you progress, pushing your hr well past 100%, 110% and so on. Is this safe? Is it only for athletes like Lance (36 resting bpm) Amrstrong? I have an average resting heartrate for my age.

admin July 6, 2008 at 6:46 pm


Consult your doctor if in doubt. I have been hitting close to 180+ bpm for years and feel great. You should be fine, but it doesn’t hurt to check.


Chris July 14, 2008 at 2:15 am


I saw a clip for turbulence training where he goes through a quick run-through of HIIT on a treadmill. He emphasizes the importance of the resting periods. Just curious, should you try to bring your heart rate down to a certain level before going back into the high points? I usually aim for 90%, then bring it down to 65-70%. I used to let time dictate my intervals, but now I go by heart rate. I use the same principle when lifting. I do mostly super sets, and track my heart rate level during resting periods just like a cardio workout . Do you think this is a good approach (letting your hr level dictate how long you rest instead of time/seconds?)

jason February 1, 2009 at 9:23 am

hey rusty,again another great article.
right now i’m doing incline sprints.what are the pros and cons?from what i heard,i could hurt my heel.are incline sprints better than the normal sprints?

have read u’re other article regrading the 2 days split.can i nt go for heavy weights low reps?could u suggest to improve my routine.

Day 1:
3 exercises for chest (4 sets of 10-15)
3 exercises for back (4 sets of 10-15)
3 exercises for shoulders (4 sets of 10-15)
3 exercises for biceps (4 sets of 10-15)
3 exercises for triceps (4 sets of 10-15)
-HIIT at least 3 times a week
-only Day 7 rest day

thanks Rusty!!

Tanya - Naperville Exercise Equipment November 5, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Great post – I am a big fan of the elliptical because it’s easy on my joints and it’s VERY effective. I could stay on that machine for a good 45-60 minutes at a time, and when I get off, I feel like I had a great cardio workout.

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