Saturday, February 14, 2009

5 Reasons Why the Term "Cardio" is Lame

"Cardio" is the "Economic Stimulus Bill" of the fitness world. You can put your hopes in it, but generally it isn't going to do anything for you, and it will just waste your time and resources.

Most people don't realize that there was "life before cardio". People used to exercise outdoors. They participated in sports. They played games - outside! - with their family and friends. They used their feet or bicycles for transportation (rather than driving 15 minutes to the gym to go do "cardio").

So here are the top 5 reasons why I think the term "cardio" is lame.

1) People hate doing cardio.

Have you ever met a person who smiled when they said, "Oh, I have to go do cardio now." (That's not the same as the excitement an endurance athlete gets when they go "training". That's different from "cardio". Endurance athletes don't call their workouts, "cardio".)

NOTE:
So if you are a runner, and you love to run, and you tell me (with a smile), "I'm going out for a run", then that's cool by me. Nothing wrong with that. But if don't like to run, and you tell me (with a pout), "I'm going out for a run because I have to get my cardio", then I say, "Boooooo to that". Life's to short to hate your workouts!

2) People mistakingly believe that 30 minutes of half-assed cardio (which is what most people do) will help them lose weight.

But it won't. It just wastes their time. People are obsessed with the calorie counters on machines. I truly believe this is how folks get hooked and obsessive compulsive with cardio...because all they can think about is how many calories they have burned, and how much food that means they can eat.

"Cardio" does not promote healthy relationships with food.

3) People think you have to "cardio" (i.e. go to a gym and exercise on a machine that doesn't go anywhere) for 30 minutes in order to be healthy.

You don't have to do "cardio" to be healthy. There is so much more to health than 30 minutes of "cardio". Your diet is more important for your cardiovascular health than your exercise regime. Plus, as long as you're active each day (doing manual labor, "cardio", playing sports, or lifting weights), you're doing enough to meet the minimum required amount of exercise for cardiovascular health.

4) People think "cardio" will help them with sports performance or their short, burst fitness (like climbing stairs).

It rarely does.

In fact, the guy who does "cardio" in preparation for his basketball, soccer, hockey, or Ultimate Frisbee league is going to be sorely disappointed by how slow he is - and by how he lacks sports-specific fitness as much as all the guys who just lifted weights all off-season. Plus, doing traditional "machine cardio" does not prepare you for sports-specific movements or speed of movement, so you're just as likely - if not more likely - to get injured during the early season.

5) It signifys a waste of time, inefficiency, and a sheep-like mentality towards doing something just because everyone else is doing it.

Seriously, if you were from another planet and you came down to earth and went into a big commercial gym and look at the "cardio" section, pardon me, the "cardio theater" section, you'd smile to yourself and say, "wow, this planet is going to e easy picken's".

"Cardio" is also lame because people use cardio as a time to catch up on their magazine reading and TV watching (and now Internet and email time). That about says it all. Workout time is not multi-task time.

So what should you be doing instead if you want to sculpt your body, burn fat, lose your belly, and get lean before summer?

You should skip the "cardio" (let's not ever use that phrase again) and focus on total-body, multi-muscle resistance training and interval training exercises to help you build "everyday" strength and fitness (like the ability to carry groceries or children, or climb 3 flights of stairs as fast as possible).

Plus, with these total body workouts, you'll save time and get more health benefits than you will with straight "cardio". (Sorry to use that term again.)

Helping you get more results while saving time and money,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training

PS - If you want the best, fastest, and most effective fat burning workouts that you can do at home...

...(without the indignity of driving to a gym to use a sweaty, disgusting "cardio" machine), then grab your copy of Turbulence Training for Fat Loss.

Click here for a $4.95 Trial Offer of Turbulence Training for Fat Loss   

57 comments:

David at Animal-Kingdom-Workouts said...

Couldn't agree with you more on "cardio'. I actually just wrote a post at my new blog on why I think running is a terrible exericse. Do you ever see a lion or tiger running at a moderate pace for hours to "get his cardio" in? In my mind, only man is stupid enough to think this is a good idea.

I think your comment about the sheep mentality is also bang on. So many people do cardio because everyone else is doing it. Plus, if you can read or watch TV during your workout, you're not really working out, imo.

- Dave

Nir said...

Couldn't agree more about the people walking the treadmill\elliptical just to say "I work out"

But 'cardio' isn't just that. I love my running. One difference is though, I don't jog. I run. I run for longer than 30 minutes but treadmill people can't hold 2 with me. I love the intensity, speed, I usually run on trails, dry rivers and such, climb hills and mountains.

Bad side is I was over training but I still love running. And I'll take anyone to run with me as long as their stronger than me and will push me more than I would myself.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS said...

great stuff guys, i agree with both of you. Stay strong!

Nia Shanks said...

Great blog! I touched on this a little the other day. People desperately need to get out of the traditional "cardio" mindset.

Deb Froehlich MS CSCS said...

Great post Craig. I couldn't agree with you more. I work in one of those big commercial gyms and just shutter when I see all those poor folks doing their repentance daily and some twice daily (crazy). I have to admit though I've been guilty of it myself. It's easy to get caught in the vicious cycle. As sir Edmond Hillary once said...."It's not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."

Deb Froehlich

http://greenfitcoach.com

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS said...

Twice daily cardio! That is so sad. No joke, those people need help.

Keep fighting the "anti-cardio" revolution,

Craig

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great post. I don't know why folks don't get it. I train in a small gym in my neighborhood and the early morning and after work cardio frenzy is a daily event. Every machine in use and a line of people standing around waiting to get on the next available one. It's tragic!

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS said...

So true! Glad you guys understood the point of this article!

Sergeant Major said...

I feel that I am fighting a losing battle with my students at times. Kenneth Cooper is the guilty party, he coined the phrase Aerobics. The problem is that is forty year id research and has been overruled now. I recently got Direct TV and FitTV is an included channel. All I see there is different people doing the same 1980's vintage "Aerobics" with barbie bells and calling it sculpting or muscle confusion or some other pet phrase. It is about people wanting to stay within their comfort zones instead of working out. We call it working out for a reason all yea of little faith.

Amy J + Energy = Bliss! said...

I disagree! I love my cardio! But I am addict. And I do my cardio with 17 lbs of weight strapped onto my limbs!

I have to do my cardio daily IN ADDITION to weight, body-weight resistance training. Just cuz I am addicted - I go through withdrawal if I go without it for over 3 days. I don't enjoy weight training, but I LOVE the cardio! Proof...i have this idiotic grin on my face when I'm on a stepper, rower or running..really big grin! I'm so happy! It's embarrassing. Everyone else is suffering through their 30 minutes of slow cardio and I'm in joy! [By the way, I think ellipticals and steppers are a wasted effort unless you do them at a fast running speed which very few do.]

I used to do steppers in the gym at the highest setting and my feet would be a blur! For 45 minutes or more! I was in heaven! FUN! No one could keep up. No one! "How do you do that they all asked?" Now I do it at home on a slower machine and I mix multi tasking in email & internet with speed bouts. I put 5 lbs on each ankle and 3.5 lbs on each wrist. It's not a wussie workout!

So I personally cringe when you say "Cardio is lame". It's all in HOW you DO the cardio. Lance Armstrongs time training rides are cardio - but certainly not lame!

I challenge anyone to strap 17 lbs of weight on their limbs and do cardio for at least an hour and say it's lame. lol!

I do agree that in order to burn maximum fat and get maximum definition one needs to do weight/resistance training.

Ok.. so maybe I'm just weird. But I love cardio! :-D

Azal said...

not very impressive reasons. sorry. Cadio mean different things to different people and all the guys who are into health very well understand what is correct cardio. and yes, One who finds exercise a burden will find any type of activity boring you can only offer pills to that guy not an alternate activity. Cardio is the way of life. The life before the motor vehicals before the guns, and computers. Health/ cardio was built in the basic fabric of life only one thing people did not have a choice then (or atleast they thought that) today there is choice and the result is fat!

Anonymous said...

I am glad cause I read some people do cardio twice a day.I mean its insane.

I think people should concentrate on being more active.Also I always use the logic what would a homosapian do, and thats the right way to do it because thats how are bodies were made.

A homosapian ate whole foods only and maybe ran for killing his prey.And stuff like climbing trees is resistance training.

So I agree.Exercise is the will to move your ass.Not visit a gym.

I just quit my gym and have been doing my own stuff and its more fun, no judging and stuff and no queing.

I think the only thing you need in a home gym is a barbell and weights.

Elizabeth S. Lingjaerde, text & photo said...

I get really confused here, with all this information. It's really too much sometimes...anyway, I used to do a lot of cardio. After two child births and no exercising 1o yrs ago, my belly was fat, and my energy level low. I started jogging in 2001. First I did max 10 min, but ended up doing 20 min jogging 3-4 times weekly, in a hilly forest, a sort of Turbulence Training the natural way. I became very fit and lost several lbs! Then I increased to 1 hr every second day. The difference was not much however (!), but it sure kept me fit, except doing anything for my belly.... Later I have tried everything. Pilates, Yoga, kayak, skiing, swimming. I even wrote a book about Superfoods. I agree with Ballantyne that diet is the No. 1 important thing. I am now 48 years, I look at least ten yrs younger, I am 5,3 and 113 lbs. My goal is 105 lbs and get rid of the excess belly fat which seem no never get off my body.

I am now doing 15 min run-walk-run (exhausting!) and then 30 min warm up and supersets + daily 10 min Tibetan Yoga. I got a stability ball.

After only one week I feel the muscles are more worked than ever. I really hope this works to get rid of my stubborn belly fat. But am I right in what I am doing now?? I keep you posted on how my progress has been in the next two months. But, is my cardio routine right in combination with 3 supersets ?

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with Craig here. I used to be overweight too, and I did a lot of cardio to start losing weight. So here's the thing (speaking from my own experience here), when you are overweight, you'll lose weight no matter what kind of exercise you are doing (provided that you are not stuffing cake into your mouth all day), but it's what your final goal is. Do you want to have the body of athletes? To actually lose belly fat? Because long hours of cardio doesn't help. I used to do about 3 hours of cardio (not interval of course) everyday, and in the end I found myself more tired and worn out, plus my joints were in constant pain. So for people who say that cardio did help them, well I think I just cleared some things up for you, you will lose weight initially, but you'll stop when you hit a certain point. I've been following TT for a while now (a little over a month) and I'm already feeling how much it's doing for my, I'm trying to cut my body fat down to 10% or less, and currently I have about 16%.

Anonymous said...

I do all kinds of cardio for fitness, weightloss and health. I was doing a lot of gym classes (esp step) and I was so pleased to see my weight drop, chronic asthma disapear and high blood pressure drop. My doctor was delighted. I tried the turbulance training for with interval training and although I actually lost more weight, my asthma wasn't as good nor my blood pressure. It seems that your program and a continuation of high energy cardio is the best balance for me. I don't think you should condemn cardio. I enjoy cardio, and the more I do the better my breathing is and I enjoy it all the more. I like the music and the company of others.

Anonymous said...

Hi Craig, Firstly I would like to thank you for the fantastic workouts that you have done for me and so many people. You are spot on with your assessment of cardio. Short bursts of cardio are the most effective way of fat loss not long boring running for an hour! My body changed within a week of doing your workouts and I certainly wont be going back to long cardio running. People at my gym view my attitude to cardio as "weird". Following a good diet does help as well. As for the weight machines I actually found that I was getting weak areas in my body from using them. Since using dumbells and my own body weight I have actually strengthened the weak areas of my body. Sorry folks Craig is spot on.

Ruth said...

I agree totally, cardio is mind numbingly boring! I did it for years and have plantar fasciatis to show for it - worth it? No it was not! RX

Conor said...

Hey Craig,

You should start an organisation against Cardio :)

I agree fully with this post. As someone who has tried many different workouts, I have lost 2 stone in the past year with diet change, resistance training and intervals.

In the last 5 weeks I shifted 3% body fat with a new workout. It's a shorter, more enjoyable training session and helps hugely with my wrestling and overall endurance.

Down with Cardio!

Conor

Nite Tanzarn said...

There are so many versions of the "truth" that it is difficult to distinguish between truth, myth and commercial interests anymore. My view is there is no right way of doing something...some of my friends have experienced very inspiring results using cardio, others have not. Some people diet with no exercise and this works out great for them, others do something similar to TT and they are doing great. I use a combination of the three and it works out well for me...problem is that I travel a lot and find it difficult to stick to my regimes. Cheers

USA FIT Atlanta-Gwinnett said...

I am a runner (Marathons to be exact) and I don't "do cardio". I run because I'm training or because I love it - different days mean different things. However, the running in and of itself has not been the key to good performance. It is the circuit weight training that has not only built my strength but has also increased my "cardio". I feel bad for people I see at the gym who are going at a snail's pace on the machines and are frustrated becuase they aren't losing weight even though they are doing their "cardio". There is so much more to it, and so much more they could be doing to improve their fitness.

Bob McEnaney said...

"Cardio" can mean alot of things to alot of people. But I know what you mean......going and lollygagging on an elliptical is NOT cardio. However, working HARD IS!

Bob
http://totalcyclingperformance.com/blog/

Anonymous said...

hey,
stick to what you know best fitness, never mind the political comments about the stimulus package , its not your area of expertise. You do not know what the outcome will be, if your really interested in helping others during a recession try lowering your prices.

Aaron said...

Craig, this is one of your best articles yet. And simply because people need to hear the truth about cardio and an economoic "stimulus" package.

Both are a waste of time and resources. Both seem to have infected the world with high hopes and, cardio has done nothing but let us all down.

Thanks for the workouts and the Fatigue Management Training (FMT) we call Turbulence Training. My clients love it.

www.movementfirst.blogspot.com

Gabi said...

I am new to your workouts and have done a few of the "free" ones you sent to me when I signed up and I have to say, I love them. I did the New 2009 Version of 300 AND one of your superset workouts, mixing in your Abs Circuit for beginner, intermediate and advance yesterday and my body is aching. In a Very VERY good way. I haven't felt this good, like I actually worked out, in a long time. But, I hate to admit this, I did do a 40 minute ... dare I say it, "cardio" *runs and hides* :) Sometimes I just do it, to do it. As an "extra" workout... and yes it was so I could have a extra glass of wine. So when you wrote that people do cardio so they can eat more, I actually laughed. I thought, spot on!!

But here is the problem, as a female who is turning 44, I was always under the impression that cardio would help keep the weight off, I think many women are, but the truth is, it does just make me tired and I rarely jump for joy to do cardio....So I would say you are 5 for 5 with how our mentality is with cardiovascular workouts and how we we perceive its ending effect.

I do an hour workout and then a 30 mintue run or a 40 minute aerobic video 6 days a week.

How do I convince myself to stop doing Aerobics and cut down my workouts AND get better results?


Gabrielle

Anonymous said...

I run 4 days a week for 30-40 minutes. 2 days a week I do bodyweight exercises like chin-ups, push-ups, planks and burpees. I've never been in better shape. I run outdoors and sweat buckets. I do steady state but I know I'm working tough. No way would I be able to read a magazine or send an email when I'm out there, are you kidding? Looking at my workout, you could say it's mostly 'cardio' so how come I'm in such great shape and have never looked more toned? I haven't even changed my diet either. I think these things depend on the individual. Running has does it for other people I know, too. So go figure.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a cardio maniac myself. I set aside only one day a week for a cardio workout. Personally that's more than enough cardio for me. I only use cardio for building stamina. That's the greatest benefit of cardio I get to my knowledge. To each his own. I don't think it would hurt me to spend at least 30 minutes a week on my hyperextension machine. I'm sure someone will have a problem with that workout too. I say do what works best for you. One female bodybuilder stated that a little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing. I am more into the weight lifting myself.

Hayley said...

Traditional Cardio...ZZZZzzzz! However, I do Body Attack and Body Combat which are 90% "cardio" I guess, and I love them both. I go for the fun of it rather than so I can say 'Hey I've worked out'! I've been doing the TT interval training too and its so much better than running on a treadmill hour after hour...

Markku said...

I love the TT workouts - they are probably the best ones right now. However I must say that to condemn cardio is quite fashionable and not so smart. I think what a person should do is to train like an athlete and use every way to build up conditioning that they want and that includes cardio if they really want long term health benefits. Every athlete knows that they first have to develop their base conditioning which includes a fair amount of cardio. Then they include more and more higher intensity training and less cardio.. etc. This is what a typical yearly cycle looks like. I firmly believe that this the long term approach a person should adopt. If you only do HIIT and TT type of stuff you get results fast but only to a certain point and your long term results are less than optimal. Markku

Erin Naatz said...

I just watched a couple of gals at work go for a "power walk" around the building. They have been doing this for the past couple of months to get into shape and guess what...they still look exactly the same! Too bad they don't "get it".

Anonymous said...

Sex sex and more sex. And cigarettes. And beer. And Billie Holiday.

DGREATGNAZZINI said...

Cardio....
In response to this article, I'm thinking that a definition of cardio is in order.

For instance, any excercise that promotes an elevated hardrate higher than 70 percent of maximum, is probably Cardio.

I enjoy reading about Turbulance Training and think it has many benefits, but if it cannot get the heart rate up (And keep it up) for at least 30 minutes a day, 4-5 times per week, it is not meeting all of your workout needs.

I think most would agree.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you in the sense that if you can read a magazine etc., during cardio you are not working very hard or hard enough to make a positive impact. When I do Cardio , there is no way I can read let alone talk very well. It works for me. I also do weightlifting daily and eat a very clean diet. I even just competed in my first Bodybuilding Show. So I have to agree to disagree, it's all in the way the Cardio is done.

Lisa Hainsworth said...

Hiya, I'm a fitness Instructor in the UK. I've been teaching Spinning (amongst other things) for over 10 years. Some of my class members have been coming since my first class and haven't changed their shape in all that time! I keep telling them to get some weights lifted but they're addicted! I don't do much cardio but loads of weights and never looked better! I agree totally with you!

Marilyn said...

I am a trainer at the Y and I see tons of people just bopping up and down on ellipticals, steppers or running at a very slow pace on treadmills. I am a runner and I never did weight training until I recently became a trainer and I love it. But I also loooooove running. It does help me keep my weight down. I have a treadmill at home and actually get a better workout (doing intervals) than when I run outside; I really ramp it up. Than I follow it up with weights as well. Here's my problem with saying that "cardio" is terrible or worthless. Look, many people at the gym would not do anything at all--period. If all they can muster is 30 minutes a day on a "cardio" machine, then that's better than the average. Not everybody has the committment or ability to do weight training. Many are just lucky that they at least are committed to doing some sort of exercise. Yes, if you're planning on getting into the best shape of your life, fine, do only weight training and no "cardio." But if you're Joe Schmo, just looking to relieve stress, add a few years to your life by getting that "cardio" workout, than he deserves a hi five. I am not a workout snob and I know not everyone is committed to fitness the way I am. Something is better than nothing.

SY said...

I actually do 'cardio' between TT workouts, and do them on an elliptical, because I love to read. So rather than sit on my ass and read for 45 minutes, I get my butt on an elliptical so I'm at least getting my activity in on off days while enjoying reading my books. Might be the only good reason to do 'cardio'.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS said...

Hey everyone, thanks for your comments. Awesome to see so many of you joining the TT Fat Loss Revolution. If everyone just did a little less cardio, and a little more resistance training, there'd be more people getting results!

Stay strong,

Craig

Wendy said...

Hey Craig
I teach Aerobics in NZ and continue to do so after all these years for these reasons: for all the mums that come along for motivation, a set time limit where they just come and go, the group / buddy thing they need after being with littlies all day, the music, and the fun that goes with it all. I love it just as much as they do and its so cool to see them come in feeling worn out and dejected then leaving on a high because a). theyve done something for themselves, b). theyre out of the house, and c). theyve basically had a really good time. I think thats a whole lot of good reasons to still do aerobics. Technically not the best perhaps in some peoples book, but they sure feel better when they leave and that makes for happier and healthier people.

kats said...

ohhh its sooo confusing !

evry one has a different storey its realy difficult to know what to do - and dont wana keep spending money on new books all the time.

As im so confused i do half a fast uphill walk and the other my workout doing weights??

who knows if thats right - i geuse as long as im exercising 3 times a week i cant be doing much wrong !!

I hope !!

kats said...

ohhh its sooo confusing !

evry one has a different storey its realy difficult to know what to do - and dont wana keep spending money on new books all the time.

As im so confused i do half a fast uphill walk and the other my workout doing weights??

who knows if thats right - i geuse as long as im exercising 3 times a week i cant be doing much wrong !!

I hope !!

grant said...

I think you should be more specific than "cardio is lame"....I've been doing martial arts for 20 years and nothing else will build my lungs for sparring, better than fast cardio, running, wind sprints, fast running, distance, from 3 to 6 miles 4-6 times a week, along with my multi body part, less rest type of weight training workouts that Craig promotes, they work well. But fast,intense cardio will burn more calories than a weight workout.

Anonymous said...

I am a trainer at a gym, but I have a membership at a small 24/7 gym so I am not bothered at the gym I work at. Its a very sad fact, but everytime I am there I have the free weight area to myself. The cardio equipment is packed all the time, and I am the only one in the gym that is breaking a sweat and sucking wind.

SueBK said...

I recently turned 40 and I've hated exercise my whole life. Hated with a passion. Partly because I grew up in the tropics and partly because I grew up in the 80s. I mean seriously, who wants to run about for an hour when its 33°C and 90% humidity?

Sadly, however, at 40 the truth of my lack of exercise has started to show :-( I thought I'd search around the net and see what was out there that wasn't too labour intensive (ie running, running, running) and didn't take up too much of my time. Although I would like to say health is a priority, the reality of my day is that work, kids, dinner, housework are bigger priorities.

I stumbled on a couple of site with body weight type promotions and figure it couldn't hurt.

The results? Since New Year, just doing something every day, putting together my own possibly inept routines:
* lost 6 kg (13 lbs)
* lost 6cm (over 2 inches) from both my waist and hips
* lost a massive 16cm (6 inches) from my tummy
* lost 5.7% body fat, putting me just inside the "acceptable" zone; and
* my BMI is just 0.2 outside the acceptable zone.

I figure if I can get those sort of results from about 10 minutes a day - why the heck would I spend hours and hours on a treadmill each week?

Anonymous said...

if cardio is not the way then how do i train to be able to run 3 miles in under 28 minutes. i would really appreciate some input. to be perfectly honest i hate running.
but in order to be able to get on with my local fire dept. thats what i have to do. help!!!!!

Elizabeth S. Lingjaerde, text & photo said...

Hmmm... hey guys, why this totally NON cardio attitude?? I totally agree with the asthmatic patient and the martial arts guy that cardio is good for you. First: Martial art is one of the ancient, most intelligent, most versatile body regimes you can do. I am a previous martial art woman myself (Shotokan and Tae Kwon Do) besides doing ballet and skiing (cross country and down hill in all styles). I learned from these that being versatile is the best you can do for yourself. A mix of cardio and body weight exercises. It built stamina, strength, condition and immunity. BUT it is all down to HOW you do it. You have to feel every detail right. The beauty about martial art and ballet is that it is extremely detail oriented. Just an inch away from the right posture, and it's disaster. But if you do it right, you do it well. If you forget braced abs, straight back, shoulders back, head up, rolling feet, breathing right and the list goes on...(get a damn good teacher), you're harming yourself.

Tim James said...

" Quote -Anonymous said...
hey,
stick to what you know best fitness, never mind the political comments about the stimulus package , its not your area of expertise. You do not know what the outcome will be, if your really interested in helping others during a recession try lowering your prices." Unquote

ANONYMOUS -Try sticking to the topic not attacking people personally. At least you could have the balls to show who you are!

Craig's clients testimonials are proof enough of why people aren't achieving results with the old aerobics mentality.
As Craig said, I have no problem if you like running."
Just dont run if you hate it for the sake of burning body fat. It is less effective than high intensity training.

Someone training for martial arts is going to have motivation to train with intensity.
Craig wasn't dissing that.
Read the article again people. Some of you totally miss the point he is making.

STBF said...

Craig, maybe you should do another post where you give your definition of "Cardio". It seems that half the population confuses any form of running with the quote un-quote cardio. I don't consider Martial Arts as a form of cardio...actually it's pretty close to Tabata Intervals. The purpose of the HIIT's...

"(High Intensity Interval Training) is cardio performed at such an intense level that your body will spend the rest of the day expending energy to recover from the ass-kicking you gave it. This is commonly referred to as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) and it means that you consume a great deal more oxygen recovering from the exercise bout than you would have if you'd just done a steady-state workout."

HIIT's encourage losing fat, unlike Steady State Cardio (which encourages losing muscle).

Do you burn more calories running for an hour? Yes..during that hour. But the effects of HIIT's can last 36 hours...and burn fat. Now what's the confusion.


ps. Craig, thanks for turbulence training, at 42 I can finally see my abs! After a year of doing Cardio I lost weight, after 12 weeks of HIIT's, I lost fat.

Anonymous said...

I do bodyweight exercises but I love exercising (running) in the fresh air. When I'm stuck for time I'd rather get a run in than a bodyweight session. I don't care which burns calories faster, I love my running, it's good for my mind and it keeps me relaxed and trim. I am suspicious of anybody who says 'their' way is best. I know people who have lost fat through hill-walking or swimming or running or boxing or whatever. And I know people who tried all of these and got nowhere. Running works for me. And if something works, you don't break it. Some of my best ideas (I'm a writer) have come to me while out running. It's a mental activity as well as physical. To some people, this type of 'cardio' would be nightmarish. Each to his or her own.

Anonymous said...

Really great post Craig. I am also enjoying everyone's posts. I couldn't agree more. I strength train 3-4 days weekly which prepares me for those things I love to do, such as trail running, mtn biking and surfing. I couldn't imagine running a treadmill ever again for the sake of "cardio". Let me quote Don Wildman, whom I believe says it's simply, "Getting fit shouldn’t be a goal in itself; fitness allows you to do all the other things in your life you want to do. Think of it as training for life."

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS said...

STBF - great idea!

huw.duggan said...

I think the guy who needs to do the 3 miles in 28 mins for the Fire Dept entry has hit the nail on the head so to speak - he needs to train for a specific event, i.e. HE HAS A GOAL....!

If you asked the majority of the people that we are laughing about on this blog (i.e. the 'passive' trainers at the gym reading the trash mags on the CV machines) why are you doing this? I would put money on the answer being something like...(said in a misty eyed vague way) I want to loose weight. So.....here is the question to all you gym attendants and so called 'instructors' out there - why are you letting your clients train at your facility without ENSURING that they have a SMART (i.e Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed) goal or objective - How can you reach a target if it's not defined, how the hell are you gonna know you've arrived if you don't know where you are going? So to all those people out there who are paying their £70 a month at the 'fashion' gyms and who are following the rest of the sheep - take a step back(metaphorically, and physically off the treadmill) book a time with a fitness expert (if you can find one at your gym!) and set yourself some goals....Then, and here is the crunch - does it matter what you do to get there? Well to a certain degree no, but obviously it needs to be a sensible approach and something that will progressively work for you SAFELY (Look, there are billions of people on this planet of ours - we are all different and some things will be right for some, some things will be right for others - the key thing is set yourself a goal and understand what you need to do to get there. And finally, to the Fire Dept guy, Question, how do you eat an elephant? In small chunks.....set yourself a (SMART) goal and build up gradually and you will be running 3 miles in a lot less than 28 mins my friend...!!!

Dusty O Tyrrell said...

Hey There!
Okay, 31 days in the hospital in Orlando...out on 2-24-09. Congestive heart failure, pneumonia, a bit of negative insulin activity due to the meds I was given and then...there's the hospital 'food'! Whew! I am now ready to start anew...currently in a Las Vegas motel waiting to make the drive back to China Lake, California tomorrow, Friday. Stay tuned. WE will work together to sew this old boy back together but know this: I'll be happy to share how I ended up in that condition with anyone who wishes to know and there's a whole lot to write about that's not correct for this forum but I'm hoping to chat with Craig soon and perhaps we can come up with something that will continue the good work he's doing.
Dusty

JeremyD said...

Great post! I agree. I've been using TT for three weeks and I feel worked after just the weight training portion.

I think MSN is more upset with the comment on the Economic Simulus, because you hit that nail on the head as well.

Joel said...

Craig as usual is spot dead on.
I know that I hate cardio and it sucks.

Putting TTraining into action will do away with any lengthy cardio sessions.

Alan Mokbel said...

I think the confusion part here is the "half-ass" cardio vs "high intensity cardio".

I understand from Craig that he dismisses the people slow walking on their treadmill while watching TV. Why don't these people simply take a walk outside, enjoy the fresh air and maybe some time with their spouse.

TT and any type of HIIT workouts are hardcore and I believe this is what Craig is emphasizing.

I am a martial artist myself and yes, martial arts forces us to bring our fitness to the next level, it requires endurance, speed, agility, balance, flexibility, strength... in short, you have to train in everything.

my 2 cents!

Al

Sharon from SA said...

Hey Craig (and everybody else)

Sharon here from beautiful sunny South Africa!!

I agree fully with the dumb "cardio" bit!! Treadmills, etc. - pah! - what a waste of time.

I am a "natural born runner" though, and living in sunny gorgeous South Africa - and being able to run in moderate weather conditions just about 300 out of 365 days a year, having the most breathtaking trails to run on - who wouldn't become an addict??

I have always been addicted to running, especially endurance events, and have done the Two Oceans Marathon, Comrades and last year (2008) completed my first Ironman - BUT, I have to mention that too much endurance training and not enough strength / resistance workouts do result in bad injuries.

I suffered a hamstring injury (overuse off course!!) late last year, and was forced to look at alternatives to running and cycling.

I tried your TT workouts Craig, and MY WORD - I am now a keen follower and try out every new exercise on every new email.

And you know what? My running has improved tremendously!! I now only run 4 - 5 times a week, I still cycle and swim as I truly LOVE doing triathlons and road running races, but with LESS running and more resistance training, I've become a much better athlete!!

And what a bonus, I've lost 3kgs (6.6lbs)in the past 6 weeks. And as you would know, power to weight ratio is quite important for us "addict" runners.

Everybody is commenting on how great I look, on my newly aquired muscle difinition (complete with six-pack and all!!); and not to mention my increased running speed.

So yes, I run and cycle and swim for the love of the sport - but I can honestly say that strength / resistance training really provides an amazing challenge with LOADS of benefits.

Oh yeah, and thanks for all the awesome tips on healthy eating for fatloss - as you say, we all know all this stuff, we just need to be reminded about it every so now and often.

I'll definitely join the "movement against 'cardio'" - ;)

Keep training hard all you guys and dolls.

Yours in Sport

Sharon from SA

Anonymous said...

The mainstream definition of cardio seems to apply specifically to running, biking, swinning or any other type of slow, long-distance work. In fact cardio is any activity fueled by the cardiorespiratory system more specifically the oxidative system. Essentially any activity we partake in, that can be sustained over a long period of time by oxidation is "cardio". Watching t.v. for 2 hours is "cardio, walking is "cardio", running 20 miles is "cardio".
My point is, the word "cardio" is not used in the correct context in my opinion. For someone to complain about going to go do cardio is pretty sad. Next time you go to complain to a freind about doing cardio, try saying "i'm going to go jog at a half-assed pace, watch some t.v. and stare at the girl/guy on the treadmill in front of me for the next 30 minutes". Sounds kinda of ridiculous now doesn't it?
With the technology and automation of our time, it's easy for one to be physically lazy. The vast majority in this nation has forgotten what real "work" is. We fight for the closest parking spot to the building, fast food is a viable substitute for actually cooking, we need someone to motivate us to actually lift a dumbell and we complain about JOGGING! for half an hour.
It's time to wake up, if you hate doing physical activity, i.e. cardio at the least, then I can gaurantee you are limiting your own ability to be independent later in life. If you like the idea of some one wiping your ass for you down the road, then more power to you. I, for one, will take the other road, there is no nursing home in my future.
If you want to see change in you body and health, you have to wokr for it. I mean actually "work". Lift some heavy shit off the floor, run a quarter of a mile, do some push-ups, pull-ups and squats. Do it as fast as you can and then do it again. The next day do something different. Oh yeah and guess what, it's astually going to hurt. You will want to stop, cuss, puke and maybe even cry. That is what work or better yet "cardio" should feel like.

For there to be any novel adaptation or gain in the relative arena of one's fitness, there must be disruption of internal homeostasis. The body must be stressed.

fit where you sit said...

yes there are benefits of cardio however you should know what they are and not just "do it because others are" I agree with many points you make. You should know WHY you are doing the workout you are doing, and what it is going to do to help you.