Why Cardio is Overrated

by Anna D

I have been an avid gym goer for quite some time now and I always notice a particular trend – the cardio machines are always crowded. Most of the time, there’s even a line to use them. I’m talking about the treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, etc. Whenever I look in that direction, I just shake my head in disappointment. It’s good for me because then the weights are free for me to work with but it’s not always good for the people who are cardio kings or queens.

Why Cardio is not the answer…

Besides the popular belief that you have to do tons of cardio to lose weight or get rid of belly fat, we have been led to false beliefs. This belief is an old fitness myth that tends to be kept alive by biased media which are influenced by their advertisers.

cardio-workout

Don’t get me wrong, cardiovascular activities such as walking, running, biking, climbing stairs can beneficial to your health and weight loss but not in the way that many people do it. It should not be priority in your fitness routine and here are the reasons:

  • Most people don’t nearly do any intense sessions on the cardio machines. They either watch t.v. or read a magazine or hold on to the handles for support. When you do this type of cardio all the time, your body gets used to it immediately and stops responding. Thus, not giving you any results.
  • Doing a lot of repetitive movements for long periods of time taxes your joints which can deteriorate in the long run
  • You are bound to get tired of your chosen cardio activity that you will get bored and not go to the gym anymore.

Seriously? You can let go of the handles.

Seriously? You can let go of the handles.

What to do instead…

If you do love cardio and you just can’t seem to shake off the treadmill from your veins, do this instead:

  • Get a structured strength training (weight lifting) program and perform it before your cardio session
  • Follow this beginner High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Protocol on the treadmill or bike:
    Warm-up for 3-4 minutes at a fast walk or light jog
    Interval 1 – run at 8.0 mi/hr for 20 seconds
    Interval 2 – walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 90 seconds
    Interval 3 – run at 8.0 mi/hr for 20 seconds minute
    Interval 4 – walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 90 seconds
    Repeat intervals 1-4 another 2-4 times
    Cool down for 5 minutes
  • As you get better with the beginner HIIT protocol, you can either increase your interval times and rest times by 10 seconds or increase the speed or incline on the machine.
  • You can perform this protocol for a minimum of 15 minutes to a maximum of 25 minutes. Doing more than 25 minutes of HIIT is unneccesary.

The reason why this HIITs are so effective is due to its metabolism boosting effects that happens after you’re done with it. Because your body is working at such a high intensity than what it’s used to, it also has to work hard to restore your body to its normal state. All the restoration that your body does after the session is what speeds up your metabolism.

Another benefit to HIITs is the feeling of not being hungry after a cardio activity. You probably felt ravenous after running long distances but if you switch to doing these intervals, you won’t feel hungry at all.

So, the next time you head to the gym and feel an inkling for the cardio machines, make sure to follow the above protocol. You’ll be sure to get more results in no time compared to the usual long duration cardio routine that a lot of people are so fond of.

If you have any questions about this article, please post them below. Thanks for visiting!

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