Chronic Cardio – Are You Wasting Your Time?

If your workout consists of only cardio, are you wasting your time? First, doing any type of exercise is not a waste of time, but it is not necessarily the best way to get the results you want. Clients at Prime Fitness in Totowa, New Jersey, know that we emphasize a well rounded workout program. You do need cardio for heart health and to boost endurance, but you also need strength training, flexibility training and balance training. In fact, doing too much cardio and avoiding other types of exercise may be sabotaging your efforts for weight loss.

Are you trying to burn the most calories?

The more you exercise, the more calories you burn. If you’ve read that cardio burns a lot of calories, you’d be right. The problem occurs when you consider the source of those calories. Calories are a source of energy and cardio workouts don’t just derive that energy from fat, it takes it from muscle tissue, too. When you do cardio exclusively, you’re breaking down both and the less muscle tissue you have, the lower your metabolism will be. However, combining cardio with strength training, like HIIT, not only burns a lot of calories, it builds muscle tissue at the same time, so you’ll burn more calories around the clock.

If you’re only doing cardio, particularly only one type of cardio, you may be sabotaging weight loss.

I’ve had people come in extremely frustrated because they run regularly and still can’t shed weight. There’s nothing wrong with running, as I said before, but when you use just one type of exercise, specifically if it’s just one exercise, like running, your body becomes efficient. That means it becomes good at making those movements and burns fewer calories. The longer you do it, the fewer calories you’ll burn. The more variety you have in your workout, the less potential there will be for developing caloric efficiency.

Cardio as part of an HIIT workout rather than steady state cardio brings more benefits.

If you’ve ever participated in HIIT, you know that part of the workout is to get your heart pumping with short bursts of high intensity, followed by a recovery period. That is cardio, but so much more. HIIT can be used to build strength and increase flexibility, based on the exercises you do. The same is true for using kettlebells, which combine all types of exercise. Both types not only burn calories when you do it, but continue for hours after the workout with afterburn, called EPOC.

  • If you vary your speed when you do cardio, it’s the most effective. You’ll get more benefit in a short time frame by doing that.
  • Cardio trains the body to be as efficient as possible and ultimately use the least amount of oxygen and calories as possible. While it’s important for heart health, it’s not nearly as important for weight loss.
  • You will always need cardio of some type in your workout to make your heart and breathing strong, but never to the exclusion of other types of workouts.
  • If you include cardio with HIIT training or part of a kettlebell workout, you’ll save time. You’ll get a full body workout and more benefit in less time. The American Heart Association suggests a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise—steady state cardio—or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise—HIIT.

For more information, contact us today at Prime Fitness NJ

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