Cardio is a gold mine. Almost every gym owner is willing to trade free weights for a bunch of treadmills in order to create a playground for the local fatsos. In case you don’t know, gyms make most of their money from fatsos. There are two main reasons for that. First, many people are fat. Second, fat people usually have more money than starving people.
However, this rule only works up to 300–350 pounds. Past that threshold, you are a threat to the equipment rather than a money cow.
The goal of the cardio mafia is to count paper while unaware overweight warriors are pedaling hard and dreaming of Brad Pitt’s ripped and sexy body from Fight Club. To make the experience more complete, some people read celebrity gossip magazines during their cardio sessions. You see it in the movies all the time. Monkey see, monkey do.
Cardio a.k.a. conditioning is not bad at all. It has many benefits for your overall health, physique and shape. You can even build some muscle if you do high-intensity cardio such as sprinting. The problems with cardio are caused by the high expectations. People think that an hour of cardio gives them the right to cheat and usually reward themselves with a protein bar full of enough sugar to hold the title Diabetes in a Box.
The average person would burn 350-550 kcal in an hour of cardio. When you reward yourself with a waffle that contains 450 kcal, your cardio session goes down the drain as far as far caloric deficit is concerned. However, all other benefits stay and even this practice is better than sitting on the sofa and daydreaming about candy bars.
There are many forms of cardio, but they all fall into two main categories – lazy cardio a.k.a. slow-paced cardio and action cardio a.k.a high-intensity cardio. The first type includes light activities such as walking or slow running. The benefit of this method is that it is easier on the joints, and allows for a faster recovery. I would even say that you could do this type of cardio every day, maybe even two times a day. The negative side of slow-paced cardio is that it does not preserve muscle mass since it’s a slow twitch dominant activity. You don’t need big muscles to walk for hours. Thus, you do not get them.
The other form of cardio is called High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This type of training calls for fast and explosive work followed by a low-intensity phase. It targets the fast twitch fibers and actually builds muscle. Many articles suggest that HIIT leads to faster gains because it keeps your heart rate elevated even after you have finished exercising. It sounds nice, but there is a major problem with this type of cardio – it puts a lot of stress on the joints and affects strength training sessions.
Dieting Still Rules
I am sorry, but dieting is way more effective than cardio for weight loss.
If you count on cardio to negate the damage of frequent McDonald’s parties, you will have to perform as much work as one of those bunnies powered by a Duracell battery. It is not very practical, and in most cases, it’s even impossible because the schedule of the modern slave man does not allow it.
If someone claims that a special form of cardio will make you ripped faster than dieting, he is a liar.