Fashion is cyclical. We don’t need to look any further than the emergence of neon errythang on college campuses to prove that. In 2010 kids started raiding their parent’s closets to find anything and everything from the 80’s.
Health and fitness is pretty much the same thing. For a few decades it was common knowledge that cholesterol killed us. Now that isn’t the case. On the exercise side of things, cardio used to be all the rage. It was soooo fetch. Nowadays hating on cardio is in vogue amongst most of the fitness community.
Which kind of sucks. Cardio has been given a bad rap.
First, why do people hate cardio?
People take shit too far, ya dig? Swinging from one extreme to the other is a specialty of the internet, and killing off cardio is a perfect example of this. Online fitness peeps started hating on cardio because we had a ton of clients and friends who thought if they needed to get in shape, they should just go run.
And run they did. Then they ran some more. Then they ran again.
They lost weight, but most of them looked the same. This story is repeated hundreds of times over from frustrated exercisers who don’t get the results they want. They’ve depended on cardio as their only form of exercise, and taken it too far.
No shit you didn’t get any results. Too much cardio doesn’t work for a few reasons:
- Too much cardio atrophies muscle tissue, which hurts your metabolism.
- The body adapts rapidly to steady state cardio. The calorie burn you got from a session 4 weeks ago might be significantly more than what you’re getting today, if you aren’t changing things up.
- Steady state cardio is more boring than watching CSPAN. The more you hate something, the less likely you are to do it.
All of these are valid reasons as to why cardio itself doesn’t exactly get the job done. The Internet, being the Internet, declared cardio fucking useless.
To recap: Cardio was awesome. Now it sucks. Don’t do it, or you’ll die.
Back in the more moderate point of view, level headed people realize that cardio does have some uses. Not only is it good for fat loss, it can help you lift more, and it’s also pretty damn good for your heart.
Ironically, that’s the main reason most of us were told to do aerobic exercise to begin with. To watch out for our hearts. But we forget all that shit, because who the fuck cares about a heart.
The truth is:
Cardio isn’t a gains killer. Don’t believe me? Just look at Alex Viada and the people at Complete Human Performance. Not only are these people strong as fuck, they can run marathons, do triathlons, or even bust out a 4:30 mile. All while squatting well over 600+lbs.
Doing steady state cardio is a good way to help increase blood flow, increase the number of calories you burn, and make your heart more effective at pumping blood. All of these things have significant health benefits, help you look better, feel better, and live longer.
There’s also a reason cardio was initially prescribed to help people lose fat. It fucking works. Hopping on the treadmill for 20 minutes to run at a good pace is a damn good way to burn through extra calories. Burning through extra calories is a proven way to make sure you shed fat.
In a lifting program they can also increase your ability to get more work done, which actually makes you better at lifting thanks to increased work capacity. Having a higher work capacity, or the ability to lift more weight for longer without excessive fatigue, makes you more effective at getting bigger and stronger.
In regular people speak: cardio can help you lift more, which can help you get bigger and stronger.
Will doing 8 hours of steady state cardio per week hurt your chances of building muscle? Yeah of course it will if you’re not eating properly and that’s all you’re doing. Very few people actually need to do that much cardio unless they’re preparing for some sort of event.
Hell, if you’re following a decent lifting program you can do 20 minutes of cardio before or after. Don’t stress over when either. For 99% of us it makes 0 difference. What matters is that you do it.
A mix of lifting and aerobic exercise beats one over the other every single time, it’s not even a debate.
Quit your bitching about your lack of a 6 pack and go for a run.