Is cardio good or bad for you?

  • YES – according to major health organizations like American Medical Association, American Heart Association, American Physical Therapy Association and American College of Sports Medicine.
  • NO – according to some of the most well-respected fitness authors in the world

Now, wait a minute….

How can there be such disagreement on whether or not cardio exercise is good for you?

Maybe the question of what is termed “good” and what is called “bad” gets lost in the details.

Let’s classify you into one of 3 categories, to set an example:

1. You want to lose weight and/or bodyfat and you’re in a hurry (aren’t we all?)

2. You want to build muscle and “tone up” (speed would be nice)

3. You are reading this because you truly are motivated by good health and longevity, and this is your daily motivation to exercise and eat well. (you’re in no particular rush, but you’ll get there someday)

Ok, which one are you?

Since you are reading this article, you can probably be classified in group 1 or 2 – lose weight or build muscle.  If you are in group 3, you’ve got it together but exercise may not be your primary drive – which is totally okay (we are only human after all!)!

Now that you can identify your purpose in exercising, we can answer the question, “Is cadio good or bad for you?”

When it comes to fat loss, cardio is both good and bad. But, let me explain why…

Most us have been trained for Steady-State Heart Rate Training (SSHRT). This is where you pick a target heart rate and continue cardio exercise for a prolonged period of time (30-60 minutes).  The increased circulation is great for:

  • Delivering nutrients to joints and causes healing
  • Smoking cessation
  • Blood pressure reduction
  • Cholesterol-lowering effects
  • Medication dosage reduction

Interval-based training, on the other hand, alters heart rate and intensity for short periods of time. In general, I don’t recommend interval training over 20 minutes. In fact, if you can successfully interval train for more than 20 minutes and you are not an Olympic athlete, then I’d politely suggest you take a look at your method for accuracy.

Interval training, at a medium or high pace, is more like cardio exercising then actual interval training. Your heart rate might fluctuate some during your high intervals, but it mostly remains high after the first couple of rounds.

The best way form of interval training can be very effective for fat loss. When your body can no longer withdraw oxygen from your bloodstream to flex your muscles, you’ve hit your VO2max. This creates an anaerobic state, or oxygen-deprived state, which produces lactic acid.

Lactic acid is important for fat loss. There are 2 things to keep in mind…

1. Lactate Threshold – how long/hard it takes for lactic acid to set in (your max exercise capacity)

The best fat loss program trains your lactate threshold to get higher. When you’ve reached max capacity, everything is worth more… every exercise you do, every weight you lift, every set you finish. Plus, your progress is much more evident and simply feel “unstoppable.”

2. Lactic Acid Reabsorption  – the energy cost/calorie spent it takes to get rid of lactic acid from your bloodstream

Lactic acid reabsorption is your body’s attempt to re-balance pH. For 2-3 days after you work out, your body spends energy “consuming oxygen” to replenish what was lost in cardio or interval training. Sometimes, this is referred to as “Excess Post Oxygen Consumption” or  (EPOC).

In summary, you want to train to hit your VO2max over and over again while producing lactic acid, which burns calories for days fending it off.  This needs to be kept in balance with good joint health, lower stress levels, being off of medications, normal blood pressure, etc. If not, your body will slow down any other process to focus on its priority.

Have you noticed what your body is telling you? This is where it gets really interesting…

  • Does your body need better posture?
  • Do you need a higher metabolism?
  • Do you want fat to go away from certain trouble spots?

These are all signs that your body may need more attention, introducing postural strengthening to fat loss, for example. Our body design is incredibly complex, yet simple to understand on an instinctive level.

Slouching may be poor muscular health, but do you think it is a depressed state of mind?

It’s time that we listen to our bodies and let it drive us to phenomenal shape so we never have to feel that way again.

Losing fat and getting in shape starts with education and intensity. You’ve just been educated, so you haven’t started working out yet, here is what I want you to do:

Step 1: Invest in Double Edged Fat Loss (this will end your confusion losing weight, once and for all)
Step 2: Begin Workout 1A tomorrow morning. You’ll see results in no time.

I want you to commit to this. I know you can.