Why Too Much Cardio Is Bad For You

March 15, 2016

Summer’s around the corner, so it’s time to step the workouts up, but when you want to reach a low level of body fat that you’re comfortable with, what’s the first thing you tend to do? Cardio, cardio, and more cardio. The idea, then, is to put in hours and hours of work on treadmills, ellipticals, and bikes, right? That, conventional wisdom says, is how you’ll get the fat off.
Now, there’s a lot of truth to this but there’s also a lot of setbacks and misguided information out there. So, before you get your playlist ready to spend endless hours on the treadmill lets cover all the reasons that this idea isn’t the best one we can employ. 

The Fall:


When you perform conventional cardio for long periods of time, it’s been found to deteriorate muscle tissue( I’m sure you’re wondering how?) the body is pretty smart, while doing long bouts of cardio the energy stored ( from carbs) will be depleted, so now the body has to tap Into your protein synthesis ( muscle mass) to create more fuel for your workout thus burning said muscle mass.

Random person in the back of the class:


Why isn’t the body taping into body fat for energy ?


Simple, if you’re doing steady state cardio your heart rate is now pretty close to normal, and your not doing enough to effect your fat cells.
That’s bad, obviously, but things get even worse. A recent study in The American Journal of Physiology found that steady-state cardio decreases the ability of muscles to absorb glucose after training. When all of this happens, you’ll burn the same amount of muscle as you do fat. Your body will burn some calories during this kind of workout, but it will pretty much stop burning calories right after you finish. It is also very time-consuming, as you will need to do this type of cardio for 30–45 minutes in order for it to be effective.


All isn’t lost, though. It’s very possible to avoid all of this by doing things in a different way. 


*prompts class to turn to chapter 3*


The “right” brand of cardio for fat loss is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This consists, in practice, of a set of bursts of balls-out, massive-output cardio work followed by timed rest periods. Now, I’ve invented many wheels but this isn’t one of them. HIITs been around for years, but it’s resurgence in this “everything-old-is-new-again” era makes it worthy of today’s post. It’s a simple concept, and since we know a lot more about how to program it—in terms of volume, intensity, and duration—it’s a perfect solution for anyone looking to drop fat. Working out this way is a lot more difficult at first, as you are exerting yourself 100% for a short amount of time, instead of 50–70% for a long time. However, it is much more effective in burning fat, increasing metabolism and increasing your body’s cardiovascular fitness.


 Two easy-to-remember and very effective examples of HIIT training is interval cardio. You can use an elliptical or bike in the beginning – start by selecting a time ratio of 30 seconds on and 1 min off. This basically means you will go full out “balls( or uterus) to the wall” for 30 seconds and then rest with a light pedal for 1 min, try repeating this for a total of 30 min. The other form is a workout called tabata exercise. You can choose essentially any workout movement—burpees, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, sprints, squats, whatever. One example of is this is: You perform the movement for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds, repeating this cycle for eight rounds. You will get worn out very quickly, get your heart rate up and burn lots of fat with this kind of exercise. Try doing it for 20min straight to go along with your cardio workout. I promise you “ no white T-shirts in the pool this summer “. 


 Lastly, Strength training is a crucial supplement to your cardio workout because it not only burns fat and builds muscle, but it also increases your metabolism after your workout so your body will continue to burn calories for hours afterward, instead of minutes, like it will with LISS cardio(low impact steady state). It also decreases your chances of having joint problems, osteoporosis, heart disease and even diabetes.


To conclude, cardio is definitely an important aspect of your workout. Just remember that for it to be effective, you must keep it varied, try it at high intensity intervals and mix in some strength training. Now hit the gym!


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