Stop the Cardio Madness
SPOILER ALERT: If you enjoy doing cardio and don’t want to know why I think you shouldn’t, you may want to switch over to Instagram and look at some puppy videos.
Here’s my pitch: Cardio, as in long sessions of moderate activity (treadmill, elliptical, stair master), is bad. There, I said it.
IF that’s all you’re doing. And a lot of people just do cardio. Same 30 minutes on the same treadmill at the same time every day. Why do they use valuable exercise time doing something with high cost and low return? Probably because they think it burns fat. Guess what - it doesn’t.
It results in the “skinny fat” condition – very low lean muscle mass (especially upper body), combined with excess body fat in the hips, chest, and waist.
Long-duration cardio increases the level of stress hormones in the body (cortisol). This reduces recovery and increases visceral (belly) fat storage, because the body interprets the raised cortisol as the onset of starvation, and it holds on to all the stored energy (in the form of fat) that it can.
This means your body turns to another stored energy source – namely, muscle. This is worst-case scenario.
If someone hasn’t been exercising at all, then a bit of cardio can definitely get them moving in the right direction, as log as it’s combined with something else. We’re genetically predisposed to short bursts of intense energy followed by a rest period. Long duration cardio does not fit that system.
So use the cardio as a warmup or cool down – no more than 10 minutes. Get some weight or resistance training in between. And when you do get some cardio work, make it either high intensity/short duration (sprints), or low intensity/middle duration (walks).
Fat loss comes from nutrition, not chronic cardio. Believe the Science.
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Published on March 23, 2021.