~ From Dr. Chris Cherubino, Chiropractic Physician, Cherubino Health Center, www.cherubhealth.com ~
Are people still doing “cardio”? The answer is obviously, “yes” since I see hordes of (especially women) sweating it out on the treadmills every time I go to any of my gyms. With all the research about exercise in the last 5 years, I’m surprised that people are still doing this monotonous waste of time, especially in light of their other options:
Popularized by programs like Insanity and T-25, high intensity interval training seems more like a fad than science, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Research has shown, rather unequivocally, that doing small bursts of intense exercise, moderated by periods of rest, is more effective at burning calories and training your heart than longer periods of moderate exercise. 20 minutes of HIIT burns more calories and strengthens muscles in a way that an hour of running can’t.
This is sort of a modification of HIIT with emphasis on doing something very difficult in incredibly short periods of time. Basically, one tabata timing exercise takes 4 minutes. 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest, 8 times. A good exercise to start with is the leg press. Load your plates up to a medium weight–a weight you could do about 12-15 reps with normally. Now, get your timer ready and work as hard as you can for intervals of 20 seconds with 10 seconds in between. Not only will your legs be SCREAMING by the fourth or fifth set, but your heart-rate will be elevated for a long time after you’re done–burning more calories and conditioning your vascular system.
Many people give me funny looks at the gym when they see me loading the squat rack with 90 or more pounds of plates, but what they aren’t realizing is that training muscles heavily is what leads to a higher resting metabolic rate. Why should you “cardio people” care about this? Because to really lose weight (and keep it off) you need to get your body to the point where it burns more calories just by LIVING. The only way to do this is to create bigger, stronger muscles. And before anyone asks: No, you will NOT become a huge muscle-bound person by training heavy. You will initially feel a little bigger because the muscle will form beneath your fat, but within a few weeks time, as your body composition begins to change, you will absolutely be thinner and be a better shape. As an added bonus “cellulite” (which is really just fat and connective tissue) will become much less obvious as you train heavy because the new muscle will smooth out the surface of your skin long before all the fat is actually gone.
For an illustration of why cardio is useless and possibly harmful, check out Part 2 next week!
For further reading, check out the following research reviews (or the actual studies they reference):