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TrainedByNik

No cardio training all year… Why?

 

Sounds weird, right?

 

Now let me explain you a few vital things about cardio and why you are biased about it.

 

In my opinion (as well as in opinion of many other credible coaches), 99% of people seeking results in fitness are biased about cardio: 90% of their training is cardio and only 10% – resistance training; 8 out of 10 clients that come to me first ask how much cardio they should do; when I prescribe resistance training to them and all I see them doing in the gym instead is cardio… I can keep going forever….

 

Reason #1 to not be obsessed about cardio – the absence of efficiency due to overdoing it:

The whole brief point here is this: whatever you do on a consistent basis for a long time stops being as effective as it was when you started doing it in the first place. For example, your body adapts to caloric deficit (so called dieting). As a result, metabolism slows down and you plateau (stop seeing progress). That is why we do refeeds, carb cycling and cheat meals (check my article on that topic HERE.). High calorie diet for bulking proves to be effective for muscle growth itself also for only a few months. After, your body gets used to it, insulin sensitivity drops, and you now gain fat as well. Last example. We are all aware that beginners see huge progress in muscle building and especially strength in the first year. But then, body adapts and it slows down, so we have to de-load (take a little break from hard workouts) and then kill it again. This is just briefly and simply how it is.

 

So, why the hell then, some people do cardio training all year round for fat loss purposes? It is a fact that your body starts burning less and less calories if you keep the same duration and/or intensity. So to keep burning the same amount of calories you need to keep increasing one or both. But, you can’t increase it forever. So why not to do cardio for around 3-6 months, take advantage of it while you are sensitive and responsive to it, then take 2-4 months off to re-sensitize and start over. This is why most people complain: oh, I’ve been doing cardio everyday for 2 hours 6 days a week and I can’t lose weight anymore. Yeah that’s the reason for sure.

So for fat loss purposes, in my opinion, the best course of action is to cycle your cardio training: from no cardio at all for a few months, then easy, to medium, and then to peak. And then repeat the cycle again.

In other words, I would highly recommend peaking (maxing out your cardio period for faster fat loss) only when you really need to be in your best shape (in terms of low fat %), for example, for a wedding, photoshoot, contest, and so on…

 

For example, this one of my clients did NO CARDIO AT ALL for the whole 5 months period of transformation!

More examples? I am here in my best shape so far (at the moment of writing this article), DID NO CARDIO for 3 months before taking the picture (5 minute warm-ups before workout don’t really count)

 

Reason #2 to not be obsessed about cardio – misunderstanding heart health:

I am not a cardiologist, and not going to get into too much detail about the types of heart hypertrophy in this article since it’s a completely different topic we can discuss for days. But briefly, to let go of most stereotypes about heart health most people believe that cardio is go good for, I have to say that there are 2 types of heart changes that might happen as a result of any training involved:

 

1) Hypertrophy of wall thickness and mass (also called left ventricular hypertrophy). This phenomenon has NOTHING useful and healthy for your heart. Heart is a muscle as well, and when trained in high heart rate ranges for years consistently (80-90% of heart rate max), it increases in size. In professional sports it is often called the athletic heart, or athletic heart syndrome (AHS). There is a more in-depth article on that phenomenon HERE.

 

2) Increase in left ventricular ejection fraction. This is something that is HEALTHY for your heart. Briefly, this is an increase in the amount of blood pumped out of your left ventricle per every beat (usually ranges between 40-60%). The more blood is pumped out per every beat, briefly, the less we “wear out” our cardiac muscle by making it do less hard work. This is achieved by training our heart in 55-65% of our heart rate max for 30-60 minutes. Notice that here, compared to heart hypertrophy, we avoid overexertion.

 

So, if we want to make our heart healthier, all we need to focus on is the heart rate range, NOT THE TYPE OF TRAINING. If you can do strength training in 55-65% heart rate max, go for it! But I understand if you train hard to build muscle, it’s almost impossible to maintain such a low range, you will always be within 70-90%.

Want me to help you transform your body with minimal or no cardio at all?

 

 

Author: Nik Kurdoyak

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