Why Cardio Should Be On The Bottom Of Your Fat Loss Strategies List
*This post is dedicated to TJ.
As most of you already know I am not a fan of long duration, sustained (i.e. boring) cardio. I keep telling people time and again that if you really want to get your dream body AND become healthier you want to focus on your diet, resistance train and do interval style cardio. But some people totally ingnore my advice and then complain to me that they eat so little and do so much long duration, sustained cardio but can’t lose weight and still have high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Awhile back I wrote and article entitled Cardio Bad for Fat Loss and Your Health? . I got an interesting and vulgarity filled comment from someone who referred to me as Doctor Boy and wanted to know where I came up with this info. I get all my facts from articles from scientific journals and from authors that I trust. I don’t just read one random article by someone that I have never heard of and assume that it is fact. Also, I don’t just tell you what you should do to lose weight and get healthier. Anything that I suggest to you is what I would do myself. And I guarantee that I am way fitter and healthier than anyone who thinks that cardio is the end all be all for fat loss and health.
Over the past couple months I have been scoured though dozens of article about cardio, fat loss and over all health. Doing so I have discovered that not only should long duration, sustained cardio be very low on your list of fat loss techniques, it can also have detrimental effects on someone who is already fit.
I would like to state before I go any further that if you like doing cardio or do it for performance enhancement, sport specific training,stress relief or for the endorphin rush, by all means keep doing cardio. But if you are doing it for fat loss and/or general health just know that there are more productive ways to spend your time.
Here are some of the facts that were mentioned repeated in the articles that used scientifically tested real world information, not just assumptions.
1.) No one wants to have the skinny fat look of a marathon runner.
But everyone wants to look like a sprinter.
2.) The men and women with the best bodies and health base their programs around resistance training. Yes they may supplement in some cardio but it is not where they start. They know that diet and strength training is what changes you for the better.
3.) Losing fat isn’t as simple as calories in versus calories out. Losing fat is more about your resting metabolic rate and manipulating what hormones and enzymes your body produces. And unless you are looking for a way to get your body to store more fat resistance training is the way to go.
4.) You can’t just focus on cutting calories and doing long bouts of cardio to lose fat. You will end up sending your body into starvation mode. Starvation mode causes your body to burn muscle tissue for fuel and to store more fat. When this happens the person involved does one of two (or possibly both) things, they either cut calories more or do more cardio. This leads to a viscous cycle of fewer calories and more cardio until the person is doing hours of cardio a day while starving wonder all the while why they are still fat and flabby.
5.) Even if the above person realizes their mistake and starts to eat more and do less cardio the damage is already done. The muscle loss due to the excessive cardio causes their metabolism to screech to a halt. The slower metabolism causes the person to gain the weight back and possibly more which will cause them to starve themselves again and do even more cardio than before. If this person keeps gaining and losing weight like this they can PERMANENTLY damage their body.
6.) You want your body to burn fat all day long, not just when you exercise. To keep your metabolism revved all day every day you need to focus on resistance and interval training. After a bout of long duration, sustained cardio your metabolism is back to normal within a half hour. Where as your metabolism stays elevated for up to 2 DAYS after a bout of resistance training or intervals. It takes energy which your body will take from fat to repair your muscles.
7.) Doing long duration, sustained (i.e. boring) cardio causes you body to make and release more cortisol. To the point where the excess cortisol is chronically elevated. This is bad because cortisol causes your body to break down the lean tissue that keep your metabolism up and it also increased fat accumulation around your stomach.
Excessive cortisol in your body has also been shown to have an adverse effect on your immune system. If your immune system is nut running all all cylinders you will get sick. Very sick.
8.) On the other hand, resistance training raises testosterone and growth hormone levels. And if you are eating correctly (i.e. 1gram of protein per pound of bodyweight) this will cause your body to hold on to/ build the lean tissue you need to keep your metabolism up.
9.) When you do long duration, sustained (i.e. boring) cardio your body uses fat as its main fuel source. No that is not good. Why? Because your body will start to turn more of the nutrients you take in to fat and store that fat to help fuel your long duration, sustained cardio sessions.
10.) Where as you use glycogen as fuel when you do resistance and interval training. This causes your body to make and store more glycogen for your muscles. More nutrients to your muscle means less to your fat cells. And that’s a very good thing.
I didn’t get much in to the health aspect of things since I did a lot of that in the previous article. But as everyone knows carrying to much fat is not healthy and as you can tell by the above information doing long duration, sustained cardio will not only not help you get rid of the fat but may actually cause you to gain more.
So if you truly want to lose the fat and get healthier make sure that you clean up your diet and focus on resistance and interval style training and leave the long duration, sustained cardio those who want to be skinny fat.
Your friend and trainer,
Paul F. Sweatt
P.S. I promise that if you keep the swears and insults to a minimum I will print your comments. Even if I don’t agree. Just make sure you include some facts to support your stance.
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