Is Cardio Doing You More Harm Than Good?
This is often one of the most hotly debated topics in the fitness industry. In the past, cardio was seen as the be all and end all of fat loss. The aerobics industry saw a boom with millions of women wearing leotards and swinging their arms and legs here and there in an attempt to lose weight.
Fast forward a decade or two and most people now realize that cardio is extremely detrimental when done in excess.
We must establish a few facts here. 45 minutes of jogging or stationary bike is not bad. Pounding the treadmill daily for 2 hours is bad. Long distance marathon running just to lose weight is bad. You do not need to be running like a hamster on a wheel for hours just to lose weight.
A few high-intensity interval training sessions a week should more than suffice to start burning your fat off. As long as your diet is good and you’re on a caloric deficit, it is inevitable that you will lose weight.
Excessive cardio causes the body to get stressed out and release cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that has been linked to weight gain. So, in other words, your excessive cardio sessions are actually detrimental to your weight loss goals. For every step forward, you’re going two steps back.
Too much cardio also causes a decrease in T3 hormone production. This hormone which is produced by the thyroid is used to burn fat. When your T3 hormones decrease, your body will not be able to burn fat as effectively.
Cardio also stresses out your joints, strains your back and damages your heart. There is no scientific proof that shows a correlation between cardio and good cardiovascular health or longevity. What usually happens is people discover that they have knees that ache and ankles that may be sore from too much cardio.
People who do a lot of cardio often find that they have voracious appetites and the bodies crave carbs. This is due to the fact that the body needs a lot of carbohydrates to keep up with the demands placed upon it due to excessive cardio.
In many cases, those who do excessive cardio, usually restrict their carb intake so that they can lose weight. When the body does not get the carbs it needs to keep up with the cardio demands, it will hold on stubbornly to its body fat. You will notice that the weight on the scales does not change.
You will also feel more fatigued and moody. This is not a fun situation to be in.
Excessive cardio also causes oxidative damage and creates more free radicals within the body. In other words, you’re destroying the cells in your body and hastening the aging process.
These are just some of the negative effects of cardio. The truth of the matter is that short bursts of intense workouts are far more effective than long, steady state cardio sessions. However, depending on your level of fitness, you will need to tailor your workouts to suit your needs.
Ideally, your cardio workouts should not exceed an hour. 45 minutes is ideal and your workouts should not be hard all throughout the session. You want to use steady state cardio to bring your body weight and stamina to a point where you can do more short high-intensity workouts.
Then, you will dispense with the long cardio sessions and just stick with the short workouts. This is best way to get lean and stay lean.