I'm pretty sure I will write about this topic until I am blue in the face but that is okay. Everyone needs to understand this.
Traditional cardio sucks for fat loss. That's right. You doing hours and hours of cardio will not help you change and maintain the physique that you aspire to have.
All my cardio lovers probably gave me an eye roll. And that is okay. By the end of this you will have a better understanding of where I am coming from.
Elevating your resting metabolic rate is vitally important into your body transformation. Manipulating hormones that promote the release of fat is also a priority. Strength training has a much more powerful effect on these processes than aerobic training.
The wrong message is still preached. I know this because when I enter a gym I see two things. Every piece of cardio equipment taken up and only a fourth of the weight room occupied.
We were not meant for absurd amounts of aerobic cardio. All the running, elliptical machines and stair steppers for endless amounts of time is pointless. Long sessions or too frequent sessions of cardio can lead to high levels of cortisol production. Cortisol can force the body to break down its own muscle tissue. When this happens your body will break down your own muscle tissue and use it as fuel. It also leads to increased fat accumulation, especially around the midsection.
Muscle loss due to excessive aerobics cardio effects your resting metabolic rate. It also inhibits natural hormone production.
So let's say you took the basic approach of cutting your calories and increasing your activity through cardio. This sets off an alarm in the body where the body sacrifices muscle tissue to maintain balance. Your body will lessen energy demands and store or hoard body fat as a survival response. During this time you will feel tired, groggy and hungry all the time. Once you reach this physiological state it becomes almost impossible to lose any more fat. You can cut calories and add all the cardio you want and the results will be minimal, if any. What you end up with is horrible cravings, ridiculous amounts of time on cardio machines, and a distorted body image. Weight regain plus some happens when a normal healthy caloric intake and exercise regimen is resumed. This generally results in a vicious cycle of huge swings in body weight and appearance. Sometimes the damage to the metabolism and hormones becomes so great over time that it's irreversible without medical intervention.
Do you need to do cardio?
Yes, but not the kind that is being preached. There are moments where steady state low intensity cardio is beneficial. But all those moments lead to you beginning or progressing in a sound strength training program. Cardio can help you build an aerobic base so you recover from strength training and recover between sets when you are lifting weights.
You do not need all the fancy machines on the cardio side of your gym to aid in your transformation. All the aerobic activity you need is walking. Yes, I said walking. That means when time permits, walk. Whether that means walking outdoors more, window shopping at the mall or longer grocery store trips. Walking will give you all the aerobic activity you need without all the harmful side effects of too much steady state low intensity cardio.