Is Cardio a waste of time or a useful tool?
Since the dawn of the fitness industry, cardio has been used by bodybuilders and novices to achieve one goal – decrease body fat percentage. It is not a secret that many athletes want that six-pack and the first thing that is associated with nice-looking abdominal muscles is cardio…
However, is cardio really that useful for dropping these extra kilos or is it just a waste of time? Well, today we are going to find that out, but first…
What is the price of cardio?
Though cardio may offer a variety of benefits that can help us get closer to the ultimate goal of burning extra calories and losing weight, there are hidden costs to it… So let’s have a look at those!
Cardio is time-consuming.
We live in a world where everything moves fast and if we are not adaptive, we may fall behind. Putting these extra 30-40 minutes after training is something not many people could afford. Students, working adults, pregnant women, and entrepreneurs are managing their schedules very strictly and don’t have any spare minutes.
We know for sure that our time is our most valuable asset, so we should spend it wisely. Furthermore, time spent on cardio is NOT the only price we pay.
Cardio right after strength training decreases our performance.
Our anaerobic work (weight lifting) suffers when we combine it with aerobic work (cardio) In other words, doing cardio right after our strength training is NOT a good idea. These are two different types of stress for our body and they require the adaptation of two different types of muscle tissues.
We want to be as efficient as possible. That’s why we shouldn’t be doing cardio right after our weight lifting session. But does this mean that cardio is bad for us and we shouldn’t be doing it at all? Let’s find out in the next paragraph…
Should we totally exclude cardio from our training?
It really depends on our goals. For instance, if you are trying to lose some body fat for the summer because you want to look good on the beach, then cardio might not be necessary.
Walking 10k steps per day or adding some other aerobic work such as swimming, running or cycling is a great way to increase your physical activity. However, if we are preparing for a bodybuilding competition or a photoshoot, then cardio might be able to come in handy.
“But you said that cardio right after training will make our progress in the gym suffer.” Yes, and the solution is simple.
You should split the cardio from your strength training!
Simply, do cardio a couple of times per week when you are NOT having a weight lifting session at the gym. If you are very busy on your rest days, you can try doing cardio in the morning and then have strength training in the evening. If your goal is to lose body fat as fast as possible, leave cardio for the last couple of weeks of your plan. Keep your physical activity high and progressively add cardio if you feel that you’ve hit a plateau.
Things to keep in mind:
- Strength training burns more calories than cardio
- HIIT training burns more calories than cardio and requires less time
Cardio is NOT a magical tool that makes you lose fat. It is just a tool to increase your physical activity and burn more calories. Cardio could be used to manipulate our calorie consumption. In other words, you could eat your favorite cake IF you have burned some extra calories this day (via cardio)
Focus on progressing on the compound movements in the long-term and walk more. Take the stairs, instead of the elevator, park further away from the supermarket. Implement cardio ONLY if it gives you pleasure and you can afford to spend your time on the cardio machines. We hope that this article helped you understand some important information on this “magical” thing called cardio.
If so, feel free to spread the love by sharing it with a friend who might need to read this.