8 Things Nobody Tells You About Cardio
Doing cardio can be very beneficial for your heart, your lungs and your overall health, but overdoing cardio has actually been proven to lead to a shorter lifespan. This is just one of many counterintuitive things that many people simply don’t know about cardio. So today I want to go over the eight things that nobody tells you about: cardiovascular exercise, starting first with the simple fact that you don’t burn as many calories from cardio. As you might think.
Most people believe that you burn a lot more calories from cardio than from resistance training, but according to the research there actually isn’t that much of a difference. For example, we can look at a study published in the journal of strength and conditioning research in this study. Researchers compared the energy expenditure of 30 minutes of weight, training to 30 minutes of a hit circuit style, training workout to 30 minutes of a steady state.
Cardio workout performed at 70 percent of the participants maximum heart rate. As you can see in the graph in front of you, there was no significant difference in energy expenditure between the weight training and the steady state cardio groups. In other words, if you want to lose fat from a purely caloric perspective, you would be just as well off performing a resistance training workout with a decent amount of training volume. In fact, resistance training is even better from a pure calorie cutting perspective, because another thing that no one tells you is that cardio can cause constrained energy expenditure.
This is one reason why cardio isn’t that effective for weight, loss and fat loss in general constrained energy expenditure? Basically, points to the phenomenon that doing cardio tends to lower calorie expenditure in the hours after you’re done with the cardio, when most people do aerobic exercise their nonexercise physical activity, known as neat tends to go down. This refers to the calories you burn through everyday activities, mostly movement, that’s not related to exercise. A couple.
Examples include fidgeting, bouncing your foot up and down, and even the way that you sit in your chair. The point is after burning calories through cardio, people tend to become less active throughout the rest of the day. For example, they might keep their hands and their feet still, instead of bouncing their feet around and fidgeting, or they may slouch in their chair instead of sitting in an upright and active position, they may also be more likely to drive instead of walking if you’ve ever Done a heavy cardio session, you’ve probably noticed this yourself.
A simple task like going to the kitchen to grab a glass of water requires much more mental and physical effort than normal in general. Your body will make many unconscious adaptations where it’ll cut back on every form of nonessential energy expenditure. If you try to burn more and more calories from cardio, reducing the amount of calories that you burn for the rest of the day, which brings us right to the next point, cardio is not that beneficial for fat loss now, don’t get me wrong.
Cardio can be very beneficial for many other things, including improving your heart health endurance and your health and wellbeing in general. However, if your sole goal is to lose weight, cardio is not the most effective option. This was well shown by metaanalysis, in which 14 studies were reviewed, that involved over 1800 overweight and obese people. The researchers looked at whether cardio would benefit weight loss and when the data was in, they concluded that isolated aerobic exercise is not an effective weight loss therapy.
So you’re, probably thinking well duh, isolated, cardio, won’t work because doing cardio alone without dieting obviously won’t help you lose weight. But what, if I told you that you could just diet without the cardio and still lose the same amount of weight without all that extra effort? If you don’t believe me I’ll link up another metaanalysis which, by the way a metaanalysis is considered the gold standard of evidence, but this other metaanalysis also found that adding cardio to a diet plan did not increase weight loss compared to just dieting without the cardio. At all, the difference was 11 kilos of weight loss versus 107 kilos of weight loss. So, if you’re doing cardio to improve your cardiovascular health or your endurance capacity you’re on the right track.
But if you’re doing cardio to lose an extra 03 kilos, which is the same as a little more than half a pound, I think you’re wasting your time. Another thing that most people don’t realize is that cardio can slow down and reduce your strength gains. Most people do cardio with the hope that it’s going to help them lose fat, but losing fat by doing more and more cardio, rather than focusing on your diet.
Will very likely lead to reduction in the amount of strength that you gain from your workouts. Numerous studies show that combining cardio with resistance training reduces explosiveness and muscle mass. This is called the interference effect, also known as the concurrent training effect, and essentially, these negative effects outline the way that cardio and strength training both try to make the body adapt in two opposite directions.
This leads to subpar results in both. I’ve actually experienced this personally. In the past, when I’ve worked on increasing my squat strength without any cardio, I’ve been able to get my weight much higher than when I’m also running long distances same thing.
Vice versa. If I focus on only running long distances from my lower body workouts, I can improve my pace and the time it takes me to run a certain amount of miles by focusing just on lower body cardio. However, when I do both, I usually find myself not progressing or progressing very slowly in either one.
This is because your body will quickly make adaptations based on the type of exercise you perform, and the adaptations required to get stronger and build. More muscle are different than the adaptations required to do long. Repetitive, high endurance, cardio movements like running these adaptations include changes in muscle, fiber type composition from fast twitch to slow twitch, or vice versa.
Reduced speed of muscle activation and various changes in gene activation and enzyme. Concentrations that ultimately impair strength gains right along with impaired strength gains. Most people won’t tell you that cardio can also impair muscle growth. We can look over at a metaanalysis that took a close look at the effects of combining cardio and resistance training on muscle growth.
The scientists found that adding cardio to a resistance, training, routine reduced muscle growth effect size by 39 percent. One thing that I will mention is that this study was slightly flawed because they were looking at lower body strength gains being diminished when combined with lower body forms of cardio. Now most cardio is focused on the lower body like jogging cycling and using the elliptical.
They all concentrate on the lower body, but what this study doesn’t show is, if you were to try to build lower body strength with weight training, while also doing upper body forms of cardio like rowing. It doesn’t show that would interfere with your lower body muscle growth. However, I’m willing to bet that it would take away from your upper body muscle growth.
One reason for this is what I just mentioned, which is the fact that you won’t gain as much strength and it’s a fact that shrink gains and muscle growth are very closely linked, but other than that. Another reason cardio impairs muscle growth is that it reduces the activity of mtor, which is a crucial enzyme for muscle growth. At the same time, it also raises ampk, which is an enzyme that slows muscle growth.
This is another reason why we have the interference effect and it’s difficult to progress meaningfully in both aerobic and anaerobic exercise activities. At the same time, another thing that most people still don’t get is that there is no fat burning zone when it comes to cardio. It has long been believed, and many people still continue to believe that if you want to maximize fat loss, you should do cardio at a low intensity, because that’ll put you into the socalled fat burning zone.
The idea is based on the fact that the fuel source that your body uses will change in response to exercise intensity. Your body normally prefers to use fat as fuel for everyday tasks and activities that don’t require a ton of energy, it’ll oxidize, the fatty acids floating around in your blood, which can come from your body’s fat stores or from a prior meal. You’re probably wondering what does this have to do with exercise intensity? Well, fat burning is an aerobic process, which means that it requires oxygen when your exercise intensity goes high enough, like when you’re lifting, really heavy loads for squats you cross, what’s known as the anaerobic threshold. Imagine activities where you’re lifting a really heavy weight a lot of the times.
You might even hold your breath to squeeze out those extra reps, but this is because, when you perform activities that require quick and large bursts of energy, you cross the anaerobic threshold and your body can no longer rely primarily on fat and oxygen for that activity. Instead, it has to burn more carbohydrates to have enough energy, in other words, alongside with the fatty acids that you will still be burning. Your body also starts to burn more muscle, glycogen and blood sugar for that fast, acting energy.
This is where the idea comes from the idea that, if you want to maximize fat loss via cardio, you should do it at a lower intensity to burn a higher percentage of calories from fat rather than from carbs. But this belief is plain wrong. Research shows that, given the same energy expenditure, you’ll see similar fat loss results with high and low intensity cardio, there’s literally no difference in terms of fat burning.
It doesn’t matter how much fat you burn acutely, but rather how your energy balance and nutrient partitioning is affected over time, so at lower intensities, your body might burn more calories from fat, but later on in the day or on a different day, it’ll switch to using Carbs, instead also, even if your body burns a higher percentage of calories in the form of fat from a less intense workout, a more intense workout might have burned more overall calories. And if you take a smaller percentage of a larger number of calories, you can still wind up with a larger number of fats being burnt off. This makes it much better to focus on calorie balance for fat loss rather than getting into a certain heart rate range.
That’s considered your fat burning zone and on the same topic, we have fasted cardio, which many people, including myself, have believed in the past, that it’ll burn more fat, but it doesn’t burn more fat. It’s easy to think it does, because when you’re fasting, you’ll have lower insulin and glycogen levels, which should, in theory, enhance fat burning, to put it even simpler. If you don’t have any energy to use from the last meal, you ate, your body will be forced to use stored, carbohydrates in the form of glycogen and stored fat in the form of body fat. But is this actually true well, part of it is true, but in general, fasted cardio does not lead to faster fat loss, even though you do use more fat for fuel while training in the morning on an empty stomach burning, more fat for fuel.
During your cardio session doesn’t equate to more fat loss overall, for example, we have a study that found that if you burn more fatty acids during a cardio session due to training in a fasted state, you’ll burn less of it over the next 24 hours. So again, your body switches fuel sources. Your metabolism literally compensates for the enhanced fat burning during fasted cardio by burning, less body fat later. Ultimately, you’ll burn the same amount of fat over 24 hours, whether you train, fasted or not.
It once again comes down to overall calories in and overall calories out. If you want proof, you don’t have to look further than a 2017 metaanalysis published in the journal of functional morphology and kinesiology. That concluded that fasted compared to fed exercise does not increase the amount of weight and fat mass lost. They also mentioned that weight loss and fat loss from exercise is more likely to be enhanced through creating a meaningful caloric deficit over a period of time, rather than exercising in a fasted or fed state, so focus on being in a calorie deficit.
If you’re trying to burn fat, finally, last but not least, I started with this, and now I want to bring your attention back to the fact that doing more and more cardio might actually shorten your lifespan rather than extend it. This is something that many people don’t realize and something that I would say most people don’t have to worry about. For most people, cardio will provide many health benefits. For example, it’ll improve your heart health, lower blood pressure, strengthen your immune system; it’ll help regulate blood sugar and it’ll, improve your mental health.
However, as with many things in life, more isn’t always better. In fact, research shows that doing too much cardio can actually shorten your lifespan. If you even go on webmd you’ll find that both people who get no exercise and high mileage runners both tend to have shorter life spans than moderate runners. This is why many marathon runners never live to see the age of 60.
Cardio is stressful on your body and if you overdo any stressful activity, it can hurt you more than it helps you a few days. A week of cardio is likely to benefit your lifespan, but I thought this was an interesting fact to share, because most people don’t realize that too much cardio can have the exact opposite effect. Like I said, most of you aren’t extreme marathon runners, so you won’t run into this issue. It’s just a very interesting fact to note that too much of cardio can lead to negative health consequences so that about wraps it up.
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