Not a bad article on the fact that most of the time, cardio is a waste of time – at least, the cardio most people do. In my not-so-humble opinion, if you can talk while you’re exercising (whatever the exercise) you really aren’t doing it properly. You’re not building your fitness, and you won’t be burning anywhere near the energy you should be.
But more importantly, cardio is not the most effective way of losing weight, or leaning up.
Proper (i.e. intense) resistance training (weights) is far superior for a number of reasons which include:
1) Not only do you burn at least as many calories as doing cardio would, but you continue to use up energy long after your resistance workout. This is not the case with your usual cardio.
2) You build muscle with resistance training. For guys, this is good because you look better, and the more muscle you have, the more energy you’ll burn through, at any given time. I.e. A guy with next to no muscle burns very little energy while sitting on the couch, as opposed to a muscular guy who will be burning considerable amounts of energy while also just sitting on the couch!
For girls this is also good – girls don’t have the testosterone required to build muscle like a guy; resistance training will however build enough muscle on a girl to give them the “toned” effect. This is, after all, what “toning” is – the loss of fat and the build up of a bit of muscle.
3) Resistance training makes you significantly stronger. Cardio generally speaking is high impact and damaging to your body (at least, running and cycling – to a lessor degree – is). Cardio in general makes you weaker.
4) Resistance training greatly reduces the amount of injury you’re likely to receive (primarily because you’re stronger overall).
Why do people think cardio is the thing to do?! Guys say to me “oh yeah i just want to tone up you know, and get some abs, so I’m going to start doing cardio and doing heaps of ab exercises”. Wrong and fkn wrong.
I used to run quite a lot. In fact every week I’d do at least one 11km run a week, usually within 50 minutes. But the fact that I was doing this while weighing 90 – 95kgs meant it was taking rather a toll on my knees, and it also significantly reduced my leg strength.
So I gave it up. And it has had no effect on my leaness. I do virtually no cardio, yet I would bet I could easily beat any of my cardio hooked mates in a 5 – 10km run. Because an intense, hardout, resistance workout 4 times a week, keeps you far fitter than a periodic leisurely half hour jog on the treadmill.
OK so I wouldn’t expect to be able to trot out a sub-50min 11km run right now; I’d aim for under the hour. But if I were to start training for such a run I wouldn’t do it by running 11km practise runs; instead I would do something along the lines of the interval training the article recommends at the end.
These HIIT sessions will send your heart rate to a new level. And you can record your distances run/rowed and ropes skipped, and aim to do even better in your next session. This is how you get cardio fit.
Tim Ferris also highly recommends this approach in the 4 Hour Body.