CARDIO CONFUSION

Run, run, run.

Run, run, run.

I’m not a massive fan of cardio, especially the conventional type. It’s a pain in the butt and I couldn’t see myself doing it daily.

Pay a visit to any commercial gym chain nowadays and what do you see when you walk through the door.

Hordes of people mindlessly slaving away like zombies on treadmills, elliptical machines and various other contraptions.

Although I dislike cardio, I inevitably end up doing  some shape or form of it from time to time. The difference is, I don’t perform, nor think of it as  “typical boring cardio.”

Ask any number of people their stance on cardio and they invariably pick one of two sides. You’ve got the advocates on one hand, and those referring to it like the devil’s child on the other.

Who’s telling the truth?

Time to clear the confusion and set the record straight.

I present to you the cardio case.

Note: In this article, I’ll weigh up the main pros and cons of cardio that I’ve witnessed and experienced.

  • Cardio can help burn fat

There’s no denying the fact that cardio can indeed aid fat loss. Cardio paired with the correct diet is going to get results. (You knew that already right?)

Simple fact, combine cardio with a reduced caloric intake and you’re going to see favorable changes in body composition. Cardio helps your body utilize calories.

However, if you simply reduced your total caloric intake, put in your time with the iron. You’ll find your body will burn fat anyway.

The only real advantage of cardio in relation to the fat loss game, is that you might be able to eat a little more than you otherwise would and not gain weight.

In all, the bottom line is that cardio is unnecessary if your goal is to look good naked. (You know who you are).

  • Cardio helps the internal organs

Cardio is great for improving the cardiac system. It’s beneficial in lowering blood pressure, blood sugar and strengthening the heart and lungs.

If you’ve got a particular health problem and have been directed to perform cardio to help deal with the issue, by all means do it.

  • Cardio improves fitness

Cardio will have a significant impact on your fitness levels. If you’re an athlete or performance is your thing, you’ll likely see the boost to your overall fitness by including cardio in your overall training.

There are two significant, highly talked about forms of cardio. (Everyone babbles on about them).

  • Low intensity cardio
  • High intensity cardio

Low intensity cardio is the most common form. It’s what you see everyone in the gyms doing the majority of the time. It typically involves slaving away on a treadmill at walking pace for 1hr at a time. (Sometimes longer).

While you’ll burn some calories, (mind you not very much) you will see an improvement in your stamina. Me personally, I still think it’s a waste of time.

I’ve got more pressing matters to take care of than to slave away sheepishly on a treadmill, exercise bike or whatever for an hour.

The only time I ever do low intensity cardio, is when I take my dog for his daily walk. But to me it’s more of a clarity thing. Just a way to start the day.

Truth being told, you’re probably doing enough low intensity cardio daily anyway. Think about it. If you go for a walk daily, you’re pretty much covered in that regard.

Why people feel the need to go to the gym, setup at a treadmill and go at it for an hour has always been quite absurd to me.

It’s the most boring, dullest form of training you can do.

High intensity cardio is exactly the opposite. It involves performing cardio at a much faster rate, with a higher energy output.

I’d pick 20 mins of high intensity cardio over 1 hr of low intensity cardio any day of the week. (Not that I suggest you do it everyday).

Sprinting is a classic example of high intensity cardio. It really gets the blood pumping and you really feel like you’re sucking up wind after a short burst.

Besides, higher intensity cardio trumps the lower variety, simply because the amount of calories you can burn in a far shorter time period are far greater.

Plus it sets the stage for desirable metabolic and hormonal changes. Namely forcing the body to release growth hormone, which is important when it comes to burning body fat and preserving muscle tissue. (You won’t get as much as you’d get from prodding a needle up your ass, mind you).

My preferred choices of “cardio” are, occasional short burst sprints (1-2 times a week), walking and just generally playing with my dog.

If you enjoy cardio, you can add in other leisurely activities you enjoy, i.e Swimming, hiking etc. (You know your preferences better than anyone else).

The point is, whatever you’re going to do, make it something you enjoy. The last thing you want to be doing is something you hate, because honestly, you aren’t going to do it then.

There you have it, my take on cardio.

Just remember what I said. While cardio definitely has its advantages, if you’re approaching fitness from an aesthetic angle, (like I know a lot of you are), cardio isn’t really necessary.

Keep your diet in gear, make sure you’re dedicating yourself to the iron, and you’ll see some pretty interesting changes.

What types of cardio do you like or hate? Drop your comments below.

CONSISTENCY AND CLARITY

 Image credit: npicturesk


 

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Comments

  1. Well said mate. I agree with the points made. Cardio can be useful. In my line of work, time is vital and it’s something I have to manage well. I don’t like dedicating time just for cardio. So I hit the weights and so far it’s doing a fine job of keeping me trim.

  2. Awesome. Glad you’re making the progress you so rightly deserve. Can’t beat effort, intensity and doing the right things.

  3. I have never done cardio in the gym for last 5 months. And I lost 5 inches purely by lifting heavy.

    • That’s fantastic. Great progress. Go’s back to the point I made. Cardio isn’t an absolute requirement in shedding the lard.

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