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Should You Avoid Cardio?

By: Jason Yun

The topic I'm going to talk about today is cardiovascular exercise. If you've ever tried to lose weight in the past then you know this is a must. Or so you were meant to believe.

'Cardio' exercise as you probably know is where you get on a treadmill or some other type of machine or ride a bike or go for jog and stay at a certain pace and/or incrementally increase the pace throughout the 1/2 to 1 hour that you usually do it for. While doing this you are trying to stay in the 'fat burning zone'. Usually takes about 10-15 minutes of this type of training to get 'into the zone'.

In this zone, about 50-65% of your max heart rate (not hard at all), you are supposedly burning and using more calories from fat and burning more fat off your body. And you are! Problem is although you are burning a greater percentage of fat calories,  it's the total amount of fat calories burned that matters if you want to lose weight--and the fat calories being burned stop once you stop the exercise. Another problem is you are burning body fat that is stored in your body as the primary fuel source.

But isn't that what I want?

You would think so, but after you stop doing the cardio that's when the big problems start to come up. 1st off again, after you stop doing it, you stop burning calories. 2nd, now your body is going to guard the body fat you have left on your body until the next time you do that same type of exercise--'cardio'. See your body wants to use fat as it's primary fuel source when you are at rest--sleeping, watching TV, sitting at work, etc... But when you perform 'cardio' on a regular basis, this slow steady work rate is fooling your body into thinking differently about when it actually is at rest. Therefore it holds on to body fat more readily and actually can create more because it wants to prepare for the next session of 'cardio', so what you eat will be converted to fat a lot easier than before.

It affects your metabolism too. Muscle is your metabolism!! The more lean muscle you have, the higher your metabolism, the more calories and fat you burn off naturally. But 'cardio' has the distinction of making your muscles smaller, and decreasing your metabolism and your natural fat burning furnace.

I don't do 'cardio' and haven't for at least 5 years. I'm not knocking the use of it, especially if you are a professional endurance athlete or your career depends on you having long lasting endurance and cardiovascular strength. But if you are a general person, just trying to be fit and stay within a good body image and composition, then I recommend staying away from regular 'cardio', because you are simply reducing your body's natural ability to burn fat.  Once in a while is fine to get a change of pace in. But as your primary mode of 'cardio' I recommend Interval Training. It's the second most important type of training when it comes to fat loss. But what's the 1st?

I'll talk about those next time and all the benefits that come with them!

At my Columbus boot camp you won't find yourself doing 'cardio'. It's based on interval training and the #1 type of fat loss training.


Jason Yun, a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Sports Nutritionist, is the owner of Yun Strength and Fitness Systems, LLC and is a Columbus fitness boot camp instructor and weight management teacher.


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