Cardio Bad for Fat Loss and Your Health?
I know that since I am a personal trainer some of my ideas about exercising for fat loss and health seem strange, backwards or down right wrong. People thought Columbus and Newton were crazy too. In 5-10 years this will be common knowledge, you’ll see.
You and I are inundated everyday with advice on how to eat right and workout correctly for whatever goal you are trying to accomplish. Don’t take this advice because it just might kill you.
Eat lots of complex carbs (ex. bread, pasta, etc.) and small amounts of protein and fat. Yeah sure if you want to be fat, get diabetes and die young from heart disease.
Lifting big weights will make you big. Only if you are genetically inclined to do so. For the rest of you, lifting big weights will help you lose fat, get toned and strengthen you bones. Who doesn’t want strong bones? Or a toned tight body for that matter?
If you want to get healthy and lose weight do long, steady, boring cardio and lots of it. This recommendation has been proven time and time again to be down right wrong and possibly even bad for your health. But still this is exactly what 90% of the population believes will work.
Let me explain.
Way back in 1968 Kenneth Cooper, MD wrote a little book called Aerobics. In this book Dr. Cooper claims that the more exercise (i.e. cardio) one does the better. This launched a fitness revolution. All of a sudden it was the gospel of millions that hours and hours of cardio were the key to longevity, vitality and a fitter physique.
If this was correct then why were all these athletes suffering from shriveled muscle tone, strange illnesses (Lance Armstrong Syndrome) and scrambled hormones? And why were cardio fanatics dying in their 50′s?
After doing some more research Dr. Cooper discovered that more in not better and could be worse. He now recommends no more than 30 minutes of cardio, 4 day a week. And this is coming from Mr Aerobics himself. But of course nobody knows of this.
But even the above recommendation can be too much. There is a point of diminished returns.
Also, it has been shown that our bodies aren’t even designed for that kind of punishment. Take note that the first person ever to run a marathon dropped dead shortly afterwards.
Here are some of the reasons why you should avoid long, steady state cardio:
1.) Cardio can damage your cells. A German study found that too much cardio can lead to DNA damage in cells. This in turn can lead to premature aging, cancer and organ failure.
2.) Cardio can cause major havoc to normal body processes. It has also been shown in studies that too much cardio can cause declines in testosterone (no ladies that is not a good thing), increases in cortisol (a muscle wasting hormone), hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells) and amenorrhea (failure to menstruate).
3.) Cardio can lead to illness. Too much cardio puts a strain on your immune system. This in turn makes it harder for you to fight of viruses. Running a marathon significantly raises your risk of coming down with pneumonia. I have had pneumonia. During the summer even. No fun.
4.) Cardio can lead to major diseases. The above mentioned and other hormonal in balances caused by too much cadrio can lead to odd diseases. Lance Armstong – Testicular Cancer. Steve Scott – Testicular Cancer. Scott Hamilton – Cystic Fibrosis. John Walker – Parkinson’s. Marty Liquori – Lymphatic Cancer. ’Nuff Said.
If he knew, would he still think it worth it. Make a donation.
5.) Cardio can severely decrease muscle tone. Too much cardio and not enough resistance training can lead to a wasting away of muscle tone. Muscle tone is very important to keep your body and you strong and healthy. Less muscle = lower metabolism = more fat. Also, I don’t believe that the emaciated runner look is in this year (and I don’t believe next year looks good either).
6.) Cardio leads to overuse injuries. Whenever you do a motion repeatedly you are bound to eventually suffer an overuse injury. And considering that long bout of cardio have you repeating the same motion thousands upon thousands of times, you do the math.
7.) Most people do cardio wrong. Most people do their long, slow, boring cardio at a moderately hard pace. This pace is too easy to cause improvement and too hard to recover from before the next bout of cardio. This pace has also been shown to actually decrease performance and has been dubbed “The Black Hole” by Stephen Seiler, PhD. If it is so bad why do so many people go at that pace. Because it is the best way to get the endorphins flowing. Endorphins = good feelings = more moderately hard cardio = addiction = (see 1-6 above). It’s like crack people and remember what Whitney said “Crack is Whack.”
But if cardio is bad for you how to you get to benefits without the risks.
Two words; Interval Training. Interval training done for 20 minutes, just 1 to 3 times a week has been shown to be better than long steady state cardio for over all healthy and fat loss.
Questions? Comments? Think I am crazy and should be thrown in a padded cell? Let me know below. Leave a comment. If you don’t I will sick The Captain on you.
Your friend and trainer,
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