Ah, Cardio! This is one of the things when I first started that probably confused me the most. There’s so much conflicting information about the effects of cardio and muscle building.
I’m going to keep things as simple as possible and try to explain the things I wish I knew when I first started out about cardio!
Cardio is often the go to subject when people talk about weight loss. For the most of us when we think about loosing lots of pounds we think about running on a treadmill, cycling, rowing etc. Almost every time I meet someone that is looking to overcome weight issues the first thing they ask me is what type of cardio exercises are best? When I tell them that they can burn just as many calories if not more with a weight training program they are always shocked.
To understand why weight training is so good for fat loss let’s break down the basics of how cardio burns calories. When you are running, cycling etc you are raising your heart rate to a level higher than normal, when your heart rate hits this zone you start to burn calories. The idea of cardio is to keep your body moving so that your heart rate stays in this zone for x amount of time, during this time you are burning off calories and fat.
When you do a full weight training routine your body is going crazy. You are engaging all of the different muscles around your body. You heart is racing as it has to shoot blood around your body to all of your muscles as you perform heavy lifts. Some exercises, known as compound exercises use more than one muscle at a time in a group. Big exercises such as squats and chest press can burn an enormous amount of calories when performed at high volume with heavy weights.
If you are pushing yourself your heart rate will soon reach a calorie and fat burning zone. Now the only problem here is that after each set we rest to recover our strength. If you loose track and rest for too long then your heart rate is going to drop and you’re going to exit that zone. This is why I’m a big fan of utilizing a stopwatch in your workout, time yourself every time you rest. Don’t let your rest go over 45 seconds. You will not only finish your workouts faster, but you will also be maintaining a high heart rate and burning more calories and fat. This has been my secret to building muscle while burning off all of my fat and eventually maintaining a low level of fat.
CARDIO IS GOOD
Now after reading above you might be thinking to yourself, wait does this mean I don’t need cardio?
I don’t want to send across a negative message for cardio because let’s face it cardio will always be great and healthy for everyone. What I want you to understand is that as good as cardio is, it is not required to achieve a shredded and sculptured body.
If you love to dance why run on a treadmill when you can burn the same amount of calories dancing?
If you love to lift weights then why sit on a bike when you can burn just as many calories lifting weights with fast a furious weight training session and build muscle while burning fat?
When is cardio best for you?
Marathons, triathlons etc.
If you’re training for a marathon cardio is hands down your best weapon in your training arsenal. It makes logical sense to directly train in the activity you are looking to improve in. If you want to run further, then jump on the treadmill or go for a run outside. Push yourself to your limit and as you train you will be able to run further and faster over time.
Lot’s of people like to squeeze in some cardio in the morning. Your time may be limited and you might need something to wake you up. A jog or a pedal in morning may be much more appealing to some than getting up and throwing your body around the room with weights. It all depends on the person. It’s about finding what’s right for you at the time.
If you enjoy it
Cardio is like Marmite. There are those who love it and thrive off the endorphins rush and there are those who hate it and consider it a chore. If you are the one above who loves and craves the endorphins rush then cardio is perfect for you.
As you may of noticed there is a key pattern in all of this. If your enjoying something more then you are always going to work harder and perform better. The key to being healthy is finding a workout which you enjoy, it should always be a hobby and never a chore.
So what do you guys think?
Post a comment below and let me know!