Charles Poliquin is a Canadian strength coach who has most likely forgotten more than I will ever know about the science of training and nutrition, so when he talks about something, you had better listen up. Take this quote for instance.
Jogging and tons of cardio are great for weight loss. So are cancer and AIDS.
There is a lot of misinformation about the merits of cardio out there, and I think that most people are not totally sure where they stand on the issue of weight loss in general, and cardio in particular.
Now, when I say “cardio”, I’m talking about it as most people understand it, that is extended sessions of moderate intensity activity, i.e. jogging, biking, swimming, using the treadmill, the stair-master, running marathons, triathlons, etc. This will henceforth be referred too as CVT (cardiovascular training).
A QUICK WARNING: If you like doing cardio and don’t want to read about anything negative, leave my page. Here’s a link to a video of me doing something silly.
If you love running, and wouldn’t want to do anything else, by all means, read on, but you’re not allowed to comment. You keep running, I’m glad you like it. Do triathlons, marathons, ultra-marathons, run across the Gobi desert, I don’t care. Something is wrong with your head, but it’s OK, because you’re doing what you love.
Doing cardio is bad. It’s ineffective. It’s stupid. Tomorrow, when you go to the gym and run on the treadmill, you’ll be stupid too.
I had a great dream last night, where I was at the gym, and I smashed every stupid treadmill with a sledgehammer.
Then I was flying and I was a dragon, and then I was in high school again and I hadn’t brought pants. But that was still awesome because my legs are extremely sexy. Like I said, it was a great dream.
Think of cardio as an abusive relationship. You work hard all day, your boss is an asshole, your coworkers smell like old cats, and your car has no A.C. You finally leave work, but then come home to what?
Some rotten bastard who has been sitting around in his own stench eating your potato chips watching the Maury Povitch show on your new leather couch, and he’s probably getting crumbs everywhere. “BABE” he says, “GET ME A BEER K?” You oblige, because you’re a nice person, but deep down inside you’re wondering how long you have to deal with this human bag of fecal matter before you can kick off your shoes, have dinner and katch up with kloe, kim, krista, kandi, and the rest of those krazy kardashians.
Yet, that’s what happens.
You’re stressed from work, but you drag yourself to the gym, only to be berated by your particular flavor of sadistic exercise machine. You put a ton of work in, it’s exhausting, but at the end of the day you get nothing out of it but more stress in your life and a bad taste in your mouth. Let’s face it, you have a busy life. You can’t spend 3 hours at the gym everyday. You need to maximize your time spent on anything that makes you busier or provides your body with more stress. Exercise is a stressor no matter how you look at it, so it might as well treat you like a superstar princess.
STOP. BREAK UP WITH CARDIO. DO IT TODAY.
CVT stops being effective for ANYTHING after 6 weeks.
Your body stops losing any fat at all, and starts burning off muscle tissue.
Your cortisol (stress hormone) levels go up, decreasing your ability to recover, and increasing how fast you age.
Your immune system becomes depressed.
CVT is good for someone who has ZERO work capacity, and needs to start from the very bottom, but that person would never be able to do 45 minutes on an elliptical or treadmill.
We as humans are genetically engineered for short bursts of energy, followed by a period of rest. This will actually increase your level of aerobic ability, your heart function, your lung capacity and your ability to recover WAY better than CVT.
Here are some guidelines to adhere to in the gym next time you’re thinking about grabbing a quick cardio sesh:
1) use moderate intensity exercise only as a warmup or cool-down. Think 10 minutes MAX.
2) Incorporate weight training into your routine. Feel free to move quickly through your workout, breath heavily, and sweat. but….
3) Leave the gym feeling better than when you entered
4) stay on the extremes of the cardio scale. Sprint or walk. Don’t jog. You can sprint on a bike or elliptical also. (More on that later)
5) adhere to the pyramid of effective weight loss.