Cardio Kills?!

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What’s the media trying to tell us now? First it was exercise doesn’t really matter in terms of weight loss and now it’s cardio is a waste of your time.

Folks, where’s the “Cigarette and Coffee Diet?”

Here was a question from a concerned reader…

“I’ve heard about a few programs that advocate doing no cardio whatsoever. The descriptions are along the lines of “Cardiovascular workouts do burn a few calories, but far fewer than you think. And the more cardio you do, the hungrier you feel. Not only does cardio fail to help you lose weight, but it kills — it kills your time, your energy, your joints, and your motivation. You burn a few measly calories but then eat twice as many afterward. The result? Weight gain — and lots of it.”

Now, listen to this very carefully…

Cardiovascular training is not a waste of your time. From a fat loss perspective, these programs make sense. You build more muscle which in turn burns more fat. Your metabolism is increased.

The simple fact remains that many individuals including some fitness professionals, appear to have only a minimal understanding of what constitutes sound aerobic fitness.

Is it a misconception that you should do cardio and eat right to lose weight?

In a sense, yes! Cardio as the foundation for a weight loss program with minimal to no strength training is a mistake.

You should be doing:

1- Proper nutrition to burn the fat and feed the muscles; no starvation diets.

2- Proper training of all systems. This includes strength training to build lean muscle and cardiovascular training to increase your oxygen capacity and efficiency.

Many of these gimmicky programs are only looking at a single perspective and not the overall goal of your fitness program.

Healthy living and longevity.

Taking an absolutist view of a fitness program is and always will be a mistake.

But do you have to sacrifice your joints?

If you are running on hard pavement with improper foot ware, you can damage your joints.
But there’s several cardio activities you can engage in today that low to no impact and are joint friendly.

How about it kills your time? Or you burn a few measly calories?

Again, hasn’t anybody heard of Sean O’Malley or Cardio Coach? Maybe interval training rings a bell? For many people, the mere mention of ‘aerobic fitness’ means some strange group of people who spend hours and hours doing cardio trying to achieve some “runner’s high.”

Cardio does not have to be excessive. Many people still believe that any level of aerobic fitness means committing a substantial amount of time and energy. They are mistaken.

While excessive cardio is indeed a waste of time and can be detrimental to those looking to build muscle, it seems there are some specific cardiovascular benefits that help with athletic performance that go beyond just “heart health” benefits.

Fact: Research on people (untrained) who did bike-cardio to failure 3x a week showed that the number of capillaries increased 100% in the leg…this means better nutrition and oxygen to the affected area and all that that imparts!

Cardio training provides new pathways to the muscle where strength training alone cannot.
Stick to short, effective, efficient sessions and go and have some fun in the real world!
Is there something to be said for modeling successful people?

You bet!

Athletes look the way they do for a reason. It’s their training. Effective, functional training will result in great progress in less time.

As with many of these “new” programs they all seem to skim over the fact that the REAL results come from changing the person’s diet. Not eliminating cardio or eliminating weights or fruits or fats or anything else. Some have diets so low in calories it’s not a surprise people would lose weight.

I would say that making dietary changes is the most deciding factor in all these programs.
Will Brink, the author of Bodybuilding Revealed, said there are many energy pathways in existence. If you leave out something like cardiovascular training (because these programs give you the same heart healthy benefits) you are really ignoring one of those energy pathways. If you just do strength training, you’re not training or expanding the capacity of the other systems that are important to athletic performance.

How many times have you heard these…

“I run so I don’t need to train legs.”

“Calves are genetic so training them won’t help.”

“I don’t train shoulders as they get worked when I do chest.”

Sure the body parts DO get the benefits of a secondary muscle group but skipping them is ignoring a body part and the opportunity to focus on it.

In the above example…

Your shoulders might be tone and strong but they will never be able to support going to new levels with the bench press if they are not directly trained to move past their current level. In fact, if you bench too heavy and never directly focus on the shoulders that could lead to injury as your secondary muscle group isn’t strong enough to support the work.

Making the point that every muscle needs some direct training.

While strength training might give you the heart healthy benefits of cardio, you are then ignoring a major muscle called the heart by indirectly training it and assuming it’s work as a secondary muscle will be good enough.

While excessive cardio is indeed a waste of time and can be detrimental to those looking to build muscle, it seems there are some specific cardiovascular benefits that help with athletic performance that go beyond just “heart health” benefits.

Did you know you can achieve a high level of aerobic fitness in as little as 20 minutes, 2 to 3 times a week?

If you are looking for the proper way to eat and train that doesn’t require any excessive methods, then look no further than the Beginner’s Guide to Fitness and Bodybuilding.
http://www.beginning-bodybuilding.com

To Your Success,

Marc David

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14 Responses to "Cardio Kills?!"

  1. Anonymous:
    April 19, 2007 01:59 am

    I totally agree with what Mark is saying here. Cardio when done in a very targeted and balanced manner is EXTREMELY beneficial. It’s NOT a waste of time.In fact, I include it all my muscle building programs as well! But for optimal fat loss, interval training is key. Just like any type of training, cardio is a tool that should be used when it’s warranted. I think the way a lot of people think of cardio is comparable to hammering a nail with a screwdriver…eventually, the nail may get driven in but it’s NOT the most efficient way to go.It’s an essential part of a balanced program. Bottom line.Nick Nilssonhttp://www.fitstep.com

    Leave a reply  
  2. Anonymous:
    April 19, 2007 01:59 am

    I totally agree with what Mark is saying here. Cardio when done in a very targeted and balanced manner is EXTREMELY beneficial. It’s NOT a waste of time.

    In fact, I include it all my muscle building programs as well! But for optimal fat loss, interval training is key.

    Just like any type of training, cardio is a tool that should be used when it’s warranted. I think the way a lot of people think of cardio is comparable to hammering a nail with a screwdriver…eventually, the nail may get driven in but it’s NOT the most efficient way to go.

    It’s an essential part of a balanced program. Bottom line.

    Nick Nilsson
    http://www.fitstep.com

    Leave a reply  
  3. Anonymous:
    April 19, 2007 02:47 pm

    I couldn’t have said it better myself Nick I know from personal expreience that in order to get that last bit of bodyfat to really get a move on, all it takes is some well-planned cardio – and sticking to it of course – while keeping up the weight training and proper nutrition.Valid for guys and gals Sarahhttp://www.trainwithsarah.com

    Leave a reply  
  4. Anonymous:
    April 19, 2007 02:47 pm

    I couldn’t have said it better myself Nick

    I know from personal expreience that in order to get that last bit of bodyfat to really get a move on, all it takes is some well-planned cardio – and sticking to it of course – while keeping up the weight training and proper nutrition.

    Valid for guys and gals

    Sarah
    http://www.trainwithsarah.com

    Leave a reply  
  5. Anonymous:
    April 19, 2007 09:27 pm

    this was tom venutos article

    Leave a reply  
  6. Anonymous:
    April 19, 2007 09:27 pm

    this was tom venutos article

    Leave a reply  
  7. Marc:
    April 19, 2007 09:29 pm

    No. This was MY article after I took extra time to write it. I cannot help it if somebody beats me to the punch to post a comment on a news story.I will agree they are talking about the same “story.”

    Leave a reply  
  8. Marc:
    April 19, 2007 09:29 pm

    No. This was MY article after I took extra time to write it. I cannot help it if somebody beats me to the punch to post a comment on a news story.

    I will agree they are talking about the same “story.”

    Leave a reply  
  9. Steven (Vengeance):
    April 20, 2007 03:14 pm

    I don’t think interval training is what people are talking about when they say cardio is a waste of time. I think they’re talking about the hours long monotonous biking or jogging. Interval training is anything but monotonous. If you’re going to call interval training “cardio”, then you might as well call strength training cardio as well, they’re two different categories(hell, scientists are saying that guys looking at boobs is a sort of cardio workout). Haven’t you ever heard fighters talk about conditioning, conditioning, conditioning?Conditioning is key? Interval training is basically what fighters do, called “conditioning”; more like sprinting, with short bursts of all out effort. Por ejemplo, a boxer would go all out on the punching bag, then jump rope for a while, then go all out doing pushups, then jump rope for a while, then go all out running laps around the ring, then jump rope for a while…that’s called conditioning, or what you guys are calling interval training.The monotonous exercise dubbed “cardio” goes by no other name but cardio, wherein I think the miscommunication lies. In my opinion, that “cardio” is a waste of time for any healthy individual. Only maybe if you’re severely obese or have slight heart problems, you may want to start off there, then move on to strength training and conditioning when you’re ready.Steven(Vengeance)

    Leave a reply  
  10. Steven (Vengeance):
    April 20, 2007 03:14 pm

    I don’t think interval training is what people are talking about when they say cardio is a waste of time. I think they’re talking about the hours long monotonous biking or jogging. Interval training is anything but monotonous.

    If you’re going to call interval training “cardio”, then you might as well call strength training cardio as well, they’re two different categories(hell, scientists are saying that guys looking at boobs is a sort of cardio workout). Haven’t you ever heard fighters talk about conditioning, conditioning, conditioning?
    Conditioning is key? Interval training is basically what fighters do, called “conditioning”; more like sprinting, with short bursts of all out effort. Por ejemplo, a boxer would go all out on the punching bag, then jump rope for a while, then go all out doing pushups, then jump rope for a while, then go all out running laps around the ring, then jump rope for a while…that’s called conditioning, or what you guys are calling interval training.

    The monotonous exercise dubbed “cardio” goes by no other name but cardio, wherein I think the miscommunication lies. In my opinion, that “cardio” is a waste of time for any healthy individual. Only maybe if you’re severely obese or have slight heart problems, you may want to start off there, then move on to strength training and conditioning when you’re ready.

    Steven
    (Vengeance)

    Leave a reply  
  11. Marc:
    April 20, 2007 03:19 pm

    “I don’t think interval training is what people are talking about when they say cardio is a waste of time.”Actually in some “new” diets that’s exactly what they are saying.I’ll use this quote from one author.”If you want to lose weight, then you should never do cardiovascular exercise.”And by that it meant, no interval training, no monotonous cardio and no conditioning.Just strength training.Aerobic training (interval training, cardio, conditioning) is part of a sound fitness program.Excessive or monotonous cardio as you say would be detremental and if only these books were making mention of that but clearly some of them are not.

    Leave a reply  
  12. Marc:
    April 20, 2007 03:19 pm

    “I don’t think interval training is what people are talking about when they say cardio is a waste of time.”

    Actually in some “new” diets that’s exactly what they are saying.

    I’ll use this quote from one author.

    “If you want to lose weight, then you should never do cardiovascular exercise.”

    And by that it meant, no interval training, no monotonous cardio and no conditioning.

    Just strength training.

    Aerobic training (interval training, cardio, conditioning) is part of a sound fitness program.

    Excessive or monotonous cardio as you say would be detremental and if only these books were making mention of that but clearly some of them are not.

    Leave a reply  
  13. Lu:
    May 16, 2007 03:55 pm

    I’m gobsmacked that anyone should say that cardio training is a waste of time. Though I’m no body builder, but a fitness freak, I do a fair amount of weight training as well as cardio conditioning. By the way, fabulous blog Marc, glad I discovered this just in time for my research for my website.Lu Junyonghttp://www.articlesjoy.com/body-building/

    Leave a reply  
  14. Lu:
    May 16, 2007 03:55 pm

    I’m gobsmacked that anyone should say that cardio training is a waste of time. Though I’m no body builder, but a fitness freak, I do a fair amount of weight training as well as cardio conditioning.

    By the way, fabulous blog Marc, glad I discovered this just in time for my research for my website.

    Lu Junyong
    http://www.articlesjoy.com/body-building/

    Leave a reply  

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