| Avoid long-duration mindless cardio and opt for hard and intense workouts like kickboxing (picture below) to lose fat quickly
My fellow strength and conditioning coach Craig Ballantyne, a workout routine and fat-loss expert, feels that cardio is a lame form of exercise and a complete waste of time. He says that doing cardio signifies inefficiency and a sheep-like mentality towards doing something just because some others are doing it. I agree somewhat with his observation.
I have spent a fair amount of time in big gyms and I shudder when I see all those poor folks sweating it out in the cardio section.
Ballantyne calls cardio the economic stimulus bill of the fitness world — you can pin your hopes on it but generally it is going to do nothing for you, and it will waste your time and resources. Sure you can knock off a few pounds with this meaningless form of exercise but almost all of it will be muscle (which, remember, weighs more). So from a heavy, fat person you end up as a lighter, fat person. Dont kid yourself. No form of cardio alone will make you lose the fat that you can pinch below your skin.
Here is why I think cardio is a bad idea:
Most people hate doing cardio
Have you ever met a person in the gym who is excited about doing cardio?
Hey, dont get me wrong. I love my endurance training and still do a kilometer in about four minutes. But I dont call my routine cardio. I have a small group I train outdoors, sometimes on the track, sometimes in a park, often on any free land available. But we dont do cardio! We train our guts out, seldom ever running more than six to eight minutes in a complete session.
Contrast this to what some people do in the gym where a routine cardio session lasts for 30 to 45 minutes, most often under advice from personal trainers. No wonder people hate doing cardio.
People are obsessed with calorie counters on the machine
Most people get obsessive with cardio. All they can think of is how many calories they have burnt and how much food that means they can eat.
People think you have to do 30 minutes of cardio to stay healthy
Your diet is far more important for cardiovascular health than your exercise regimen. Besides, far from being healthy, long-duration cardio actually downsizes your lung and hearts reserve capacity. Reserve capacity means that your heart has the ability to pump more blood faster in times of stress. Reserve capacity for your lungs allows them to deal with high exertion like lifting, carrying, running or going up the stairs. By performing for 30 to 45 minutes you are sending a signal to your heart and lung to become fuel-efficient and pump blood economically. So you become a great fuel-saving machine but when you have to deliver power you go phut! In other words, in times of emergency, when your heart and lungs have to perform powerfully, you find that you dont have the capacity to do so. I know a doctor in my gym who does routine cardiovascular exercise, yet pants up a single flight of stairs.
Cardio keeps you fat!
Where do you find the fattest people in the gym? No marks for guessing — they will usually spend their time in the cardio section. A lot of their time!
Long-duration cardio burns fat during your workout. Sounds ideal, right? On the contrary, this sends a message to your brain that you need a reserve of fat available at all times. So the next time you work out, you will have something to throw in the fire. This self-defeating vicious cycle will naturally ensure that your body makes more fat every time you finish exercising.
Thats why you have such a hard time losing fat at the gym. Every time you burn fat during exercise, your body reacts by making more fat.
Long duration cardio secretes cortisol, a stress hormone
Every doctor will tell you that cortisol is the primary reason why people, particularly men, tend to put on belly fat.
Finally... aerobics is dead!
The biggest mistake of the 1980s is finally over and done with and hopefully resting in peace. Jumping around for 45 minutes will not boost your lung or heart capacity. Do enough aerobics and it will make you sick, tired and old before your time. In fact, aerobic exercise causes free radical damage to skin and other tissues. Look at any marathon runner — how worn out and gaunt his face looks compared to a sprinter who looks full of energy and much younger than his age.
Dr Al Sears, a leading heart specialist and a certified fitness trainer in the US, writes about how when he was in medical school, a number of young marathoners were developing heart and lung problems. Later he came to know that this pattern was called the Jim Fixx phenomenon after the popular fitness guru of the 70s. Fixx claimed that the secret to a healthy and long life was long and slow endurance running till he died of a heart attack — while running!
Today, exercise physiologists know that the new science that prompted aerobics and long-duration aerobic training doesnt work. It isnt natural and your body knows it.
SAY NO TO LONG- DURATION CARDIO
Instead, choose anaerobic endurance training. Choose any activity — body weight resistance-training, weight training, skipping, swimming, cycling or running and exert for short periods followed by short periods of rest. By increasing the intensity and varying the duration of each interval according to your own programme, you can lead your heart and lungs to transform and stay fit and strong.
While long-distance and long-duration cardio causes your heart and lungs to shrink, short bursts of activity (it can be as simple as climbing a flight of stairs at your best speed) builds up reserve capacity in your heart (a great way to avoid a heart attack) and triggers the expansion of your lungs. Not to forget stripping your body of all fat.
This kind of activity will promote afterburn. As soon as you finish exercising, your body starts burning fat to replace the carbs that you used up during your workout. After a while, your body will slow down making fat altogether. It simply will not need fat as a fuel for your exercise any more!