Why you need to stop the cardio obsession.
Good Ole Cardio...this is the lifeblood of the workout to so many of us. It used to be the sole reason I worked out. I had always thought that if you didn’t at least sweat when you were working out, then you weren’t really doing anything at all. FYI, that is also another fitness myth. Cardio is the one thing that most women do because it’s where they feel comfortable in the gym. However, a deeper issue to this is that most women do extreme cardio because it is also a form of punishment for what they’ve done.
I’m not saying never do cardio again. This isn’t a training on the facts that cardio is bad for you. This is a training on why SO MUCH CARDIO is really hurting you and not helping you.
If you continue to perform cardio based routines only in your workout, then building the physique that is shapely, defined, and toned is not going to happen. Have you ever heard of the term “skinny – fat?” This is a condition where we appear fit or thin in clothes, but you actually will have a higher body fat percentage than you did before you even started working out. If tracking your body fat percentage is something that you haven’t even been doing, WHY NOT!!!!How do you know if you’re making progress? And please don’t tell me the scale!☺
Cardio is something that can be limited to once or twice a week. If you want to do it because you love it, then by all means please continue to do it. However, don’t do it expecting a result from it like a fit, strong body because that my friends, is not going to happen. Do it as a part of lifting regimen. Let me ask you, have you ever seen a marathoner or even an avid runner with a reallygood body? I’m not asking if they were thin, or if they were cardiovascular strong. I’m asking have you ever seen one with a really good defined body. I haven’t, and I’ve logged more than 300 competitive running miles in the last few years alone.
Here’s why you need to cut back on the cardio ladies and step up to weight rack.
Reason #1: Death By Cardio
I think we can all agree (without getting into all the science) that during caloric deficits, your body would rather sacrifice muscle than fat. If you didn’t know this, then I’m here to tell you yes, yes it does. However, we are convinced, hell we deep down whole heartedly believe that the more aerobic exercise we do, the better we will look. If you want muscle, then the one thing you need to remember is that aerobic exercise is death to muscle.
Reason #2: Workout Adaptation
Your body adapts to your exercise routine, even if its weights. If you have yet to visit my gym than you will understand this is why I change out the routines every month. Whether it be from lack of imagination, or you get comfortable because you’re becoming more successful in your cardio, the mis-guided believe that exercise is exercise is really just wasting your time. Your body is doing the moves automatically, not even calling for the muscles to fire. The longer you choose to do just cardio, to get results you will have to increase the intensity, the duration, as well as change the exercise. If you’re already doing cardio for 45 minutes, do you really want to increase this to an hour or an hour and a half????? NO THANK YOU! Workouts do not need to be longer than 30 minutes when you have a structured weight lifting plan in place. Workouts should be cycled every 4-6 weeks. (Jen tip: this is why I do 30-day routines ;) )
Reason #3: Stress Hormones
You may all be aware already that I’m a huge advocate for monitoring your stress and teaching healthy eating as a huge factor in your health and fitness goals. I talk about the role of hormones a lot in my bootcamps. One hormone that is always combating your efforts is cortisol. If you’re not familiar, cortisol is what is released in the body when the body feels stress. Insulin works to counteract high levels of cortisol. And remember when insulin is high we are storing fat. Add a crap diet onto all your cardio only routine and you have a recipe for disaster. One that will leave you frustrated, asking WTH and wondering why you can’t make any progress. Cardio leads to insatiable hunger and crazy ass cravings because of the increase of stress that the workout has on the body, the body feels stressed so cortisol is produced. Insulin comes in to lower cortisol and starts fat storing not fat burning.
BONUS TIP: Did you know that it’s virtually impossible, NO MATTER WHAT YOU EAT, to gain any fat in the post-workout period, which is roughly an hour after you finish lifting weights!
Finally, I want to reiterate that cardio is good for you, when practiced the right way. I use cardio to boost my mood and feel invigorated. However, I also boost my cardio with weights. This is why I decided to teach bungee fit classes. Cardio increases your cardiovascular fitness. It increases your endurance and should make you feel accomplished, not punished. It should be a bonus to your workout week not the OMG not another day of plyo jumping. Cardio group fitness is a great way to come together with other people and build community. It’s a great way to work through problems and come up with ideas. It is not meant for you to rely upon it to measure self-worth or the main routine you use to build a strong defined physique.