Wednesday, 23 September 2015

A Case for Cardio: Are you doing it right?

10:45 Posted by Dhaval Bhandari
LATELY, THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF HATING ON CARDIO among fitness professionals. With topics like adrenal fatigue, metabolic damage and chronic stress popping up more frequently in both the blogosphere and mainstream media, it's easy to villainize cardio as the culprit. In a society that has traditionally overemphasized aerobic exercise, it's easy to champion weight training. And with good reason. But perpetuating the idea that doing cardio right makes people fat is doing everyone a disservice. It might not be the best way to lose weight, at le?? sustainably. And it can be detrimental if overdone, but to say that any kind of exercise is bad for you, especially if you love it, is shortsighted. There are plenty of reasons to keep some form of cardio exercise in your weekly exercise routine. But like with anything else, the key is finding the right mode and the most effective amount, and not going overboard.

IF YOUR GOAL IS FAT LOSS OR MUSCLE MAINTENANCE, THEN THERE IS. Shorter, more intense interval or sprint training (40 minutes or less) optimizes our hormonal profile of catecholamines, cortisol, growth hormone and testosterone to maintain muscle and preferentially burn more calories after the workout is over. The higher the intensity of the workout, the more we use sugar to fuel the workout, and in turn we use fat stores to replete post-workout-also known as the "after-burn" of the workout.

Longer bouts of cardio can change the hormonal situation to a more cortisol dominant, chronic-stress state because we naturally down-regulate the intensity. We have to, as longer workouts automatically induce pacing. Intensity suffers and we end up with more of a moderate-intensity workout. This outcome is not necessarily "bad," and certainly long-duration exercise is critical for those training for endurance events, but chronically high output of cortisol and catecholamines is not ideal for fat loss or muscle gain/maintenance.

WHEN IT COMES TO CARDIO, IT'S POSSIBLE TO REACH A POINT OF DIMINISHING RETURNS. More cardio does not always equal more results. One key to remember is that more is not better; better quality is better. Always engaging in workouts that create an unopposed cortisol state (longer, moderate intensity) can impact results. IT CAN CHANGE HOW WE STORE FAT, WHERE WE STORE IT, AND HOW GOOD WE ARE AT BUILDING OR MAINTAINING MUSCLE. Too much cortisol around the clock can strip muscle. This is why you commonly see distance runners with skinnier arms and legs. It's simply harder to build muscle in a more catabolic state.

Also, chronically high cortisol, whether created via exercise, fasting, injury or emotional stress can increase hunger and cravings over time. So increasing cardio is not benign. Exercise more, and it'll often turn into eating more, too. For a minority of people, excessive long-duration cardiovascular exercise can also excessively tax the adrenals, and over time might have implications for the thyroid and other endocrine organs.

You've probably heard of metabolic damage, a condition that has been getting more traction lately. Essentially, it is the resultant fat loss resistant state that occurs in some people who have been doing hours of cardio for years and years (often while also following low-calorie diets). Over time, these practices can wreak havoc on the metabolism to the point where the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis becomes down-regulated and less metabolically active.

However, it's important to note that although this can be common in fitness competitors and longtime yo-yo dieters and should be taken seriously-most people won't experience it. Metabolic damage occurs on a sliding scale, and for most people, IMPLEMENTING THE RIGHT KINDS OF EXERCISE (MAINLY HEAVY, INTENSE WEIGHT TRAINING PLUS LEISURE WALKING) can rectify the situation fairly easily, along with a tight diet.

Here are some great reason you should cardio

It's a natural mood enhancer. Cardio, in particular, has been shown to boost mood and overall wellbeing when done for pleasure, and is a solid part of a natural health protocol to treat depression.

Cardio done outside offers a natural high and can feel exhilarating. TRY A JOG1RROUGKTAE WOODS OR DOWN TAE BEACA, AND TEll Mc YOU don't FEEL AWESOME AFTERWARD. Vitamin D production is a bonus.

Cardio exercise increases, well, cardiovascular fitness. Lately, there's been some talk about marathon training being detrimental. This is sensationalized, because honestly, when it comes to the general population, people truly need to be exercising more, not less. In light of the fact that most people are sedentary, 99 percent of people will benefit from any/all kinds of cardio. The key is not to use cardio exclusively when you're trying to lose weight.


Sometimes moderate intensify is a good option when you don't feel like killin yourself. If you feel reat, go or it with track sprints, high-intensity interval training or something similarly intense. But you have to be in the right space for that. Sometimes takin it easy: can feel good, too. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

Sprinting is the most underrated exercise to develop the abs. EVER FINISH A TOUGH TRACK WORKOUT. DOING SOMETHING LIKE 100-METER REPEATS, RESTING TWO TO THREE MINUTES BETWEEN EACH ONE? TELL ME YOUR ENTIRE CORE ISN'T SORE THE NEXT DAY. Need proof? Check out Olympic-level sprinters. They don't have defined abs because they are doing thousands of crunches. The way they move-intensely and in the sprinting movement pattern-generates that physique.

Sprinting can boost functionality. IT BOOSTS POWER, SPEED AND FLEXIBILITY, AND MIGHT EVEN BUILD MUSCLE. Opt for shorter sprints, like 70 meters or 20-second uphill sprints for best results. Rest as long as you need to in between.

Cardio can be fun! So many people have fallen in love with exercise not because they were killing it in the weight room, but because they loved Jane Fonda or Zumba or long distance running or Tae Bo. If Zumba is the only thing that will get someone into a gym and get their paleo nutrient, who are we to tell them not to do it?

Cardio is for many a gateway workout. It's the place one begins when getting started at the gym. Perfect. Maybe one day they'll wander into the weight room. Maybe someday they'll feel confident enough to load up a barbell or try some machines. THE KEY IS PREFERENTIALLY CHOOSING THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO MOVE THAT IS ALSO ENJOYABLE AND EFFICIENT. Weight training is superior in the effective and efficient categories, but as for enjoyment, that's a personal choice. Choose wisely.