T Nation

Cardio is Good, Why All the Hate?


#1

Ever heard the phrase “Too good to be true?” well doesn´t it strike you as odd that after centuries of athletes training with cardio, it has now been discovered that you can achieve the same or better results in JUST 10 MINUTES!! (infomercial voice) Seriously, someone back in the last couple of milleniums should have stumbled on HIIT if it really were the holy grail of cardiovascular efficiency and efficacy.

Seriously, whats with all the anti-cardio stuff? Seems like if you do more than walk from the bench press station to the water fountain your biceps will catabolize away or some such nonsense.

HIIT is better for a fat loss blitz? Yes

Training like a marathonian isn´t optimal for muscle building? Yes

BUT, being honest here, how many of the T Nation readers are professional bodybuilders whose living depends on being at 100% of their muscle and definition peak?

Is it really sensible to completely skip cardio because it purportedly can make you gain 20 grams less of lean muscle mass, and forgo all of these benefits it DOES give?:

  • Increase in exercise tolerance
  • Reduction in body weight
  • Reduction in blood pressure
  • Reduction in bad (LDL and total) cholesterol
  • Increase in good (HDL) cholesterol
  • Increase in insulin sensitivity
  • Promotes high quality sleep (recovery is important for muscle gain too)
  • Improved immune system
  • Lower resting heart rate and recovery during exercise

Sources:

HIIT and other kinds of “fast cardio” do not give the same results, just as low rest high rep weight training does not give the same results as low rep training with long rest. The heart produces different adaptations to HIIT and lond steady rate cardio, I recommend reading “Ultimate MMA Conditioning”.

I probably will be moderated away or ridiculed by forum members, but I really think this anti cardio trend is doing a disservice to the health and results of many readers.


#2

Who, specifically, are you addressing this to?


#3

I don’t enjoy doing cardio. I really enjoy picking up heavy shit. This is why I am on a forum about sports that involve picking up heavy shit instead of one dedicated to something else. Nobody said cardio is worthless or a bad thing, but many people don’t like it much. I think you’ll find that this is a pretty common sentiment around here.


#4

[quote]Apoklyps wrote:
I don’t enjoy doing cardio. I really enjoy picking up heavy shit. This is why I am on a forum about sports that involve picking up heavy shit instead of one dedicated to something else. Nobody said cardio is worthless or a bad thing, but many people don’t like it much. I think you’ll find that this is a pretty common sentiment around here.[/quote]

I understand that if you don´t like it, and see no value in it, then there is no reason for you to do it. Not discussing it.

But regarding two points you mentioned:

  1. A lot of articles here say cardio is worthless/ bad thing. “The death of cardio” “The final nail in the cardio coffin” etc etc I am adressing T nation regarding this “brainwashing” it seems to be doing trying to end cardio…because walking is not cardio, doesnt raise the heart beat enough to provide benefits, so I dont count a “you can do some walking” at the end of an article as coming close to promoting some cardio in the readers.

  2. Many people here are focused on strength, true, but it might surprise you that there are people here that have additional objectives apart from strength or muscle. It may be because of crossfit or as a healthy addition towards creating an overall balanced body and conditioning.

I´m not asking for a big overhaul or anything, but seeing at least one article really exploring the benefits of cardio and how to practice it would be refreshing.

Seriously, is it so far fetched to think that an article on Alex Viada (ultra marathoner with 700 pound squat) would be of interest to T Nation readers, for example?


#5

I see you are a level 0, like myself. Given that you have not paid Biotest for anything, is there a particular reason they should cater to your desires?


#6

It really depends on your goals. Also, you don’t have to agree with all the articles posted on here or any other site. Most articles are just opinion/personal preference so there’s no use getting worked up about it.


#7

Literally the first article I found when I searched for cardio in the search box at the top.

In reality though, this is a site about the “intelligent and relentless pursuit of muscle” (see the tagline), I’m not sure what kind of cardio article you were expecting.


#8

I used to only do HIIT since that seemed to be the most beneficial. For as long as I can remember I have suffered from anxiety attacks ( from age 8 or 9). When I did a lot of HIIT I noticed my anxiety would be more severe. Through research I found that large amounts of lactate in the blood can trigger anxiety. I started doing pure aerobic work far below my lactate threshold and my anxiety all but disappeared. Aerobic work is really a miracle drug for me. I refuse to take medication for my anxiety. The aerobic work has done wonders. All the reading I’ve done points to immense benefits of pure aerobic work from cardiovascular health to cancer and Alzheimer’s disease prevention. I still do lactate work when I need to for certain goals, but I know it isn’t good for me in large doses. That said, everyone is different.

I now view exercise, diet, sleep, and really everything as medicine. HIIT has a place, like almost everything, but pure aerobic exercise has so many benefits I don’t see why everyone doesn’t do it. It’s almost as beneficial as sleep. It will keep you alive and functioning. I’ve never lost muscle from it and when I started doing it daily my hormonal profile improved so much people started asking me what I was doing and one person asked me if I was taking steroids. Sure, overdoing it will hurt you. But in the proper doses it is a miracle drug.


#9

You’re a bit late to the party on this one. Like most things in the fitness industry, the pendulum of cardio prescriptions has swung from one extreme (aerobics being touted as the king of exercise during the 80s to early 90s) to the other (the HIIT hysteria and anti-“cardio” nonsense you’re referring to, starting with the publishing and subsequent misinterpretation of the Tabata study in the late 90s).

Now, fortunately, the pendulum has swung back to the middle and most intelligent coaches and trainers recognize the benefits of both types of training, and the good ones understand how and when to program each one appropriately. As early as 2005, Eric Cressey posted an article on this very site which outlined the benefits of low intensity aerobic work for strength athletes. Since then, Mike Robertson, Tony Gentilcore, Jim Laird, Joel Jamison, and others have gone to bat for aerobic work. Jim Wendler has been including “weighted vest walking” as a suggested activity in most of the programs he’s written for this site.

So, while you’re right in what you say about aerobic work, you’re far from the first person to realize it and your claim that contemporary strength coaches and specifically the people who write for T-Nation haven’t yet caught on to the benefits of aerobic work is misguided.


#10

[quote]TrevorLPT wrote:
You’re a bit late to the party on this one. Like most things in the fitness industry, the pendulum of cardio prescriptions has swung from one extreme (aerobics being touted as the king of exercise during the 80s to early 90s) to the other (the HIIT hysteria and anti-“cardio” nonsense you’re referring to, starting with the publishing and subsequent misinterpretation of the Tabata study in the late 90s).

Now, fortunately, the pendulum has swung back to the middle and most intelligent coaches and trainers recognize the benefits of both types of training, and the good ones understand how and when to program each one appropriately. As early as 2005, Eric Cressey posted an article on this very site which outlined the benefits of low intensity aerobic work for strength athletes. Since then, Mike Robertson, Tony Gentilcore, Jim Laird, Joel Jamison, and others have gone to bat for aerobic work. Jim Wendler has been including “weighted vest walking” as a suggested activity in most of the programs he’s written for this site.

So, while you’re right in what you say about aerobic work, you’re far from the first person to realize it and your claim that contemporary strength coaches and specifically the people who write for T-Nation haven’t yet caught on to the benefits of aerobic work is misguided. [/quote]

What this guy said.

Diet is the same. Used to be 6 meals per day, all super clean or you’re fucked. Now folks are spruiking eating pop tarts.


#11

the biggest problem with all cardio hate i see on this site comes from Shugart missinterpretation od cardio. he is using marathon like cardio as an example that last for several hours, and not cardio that lasts 30-45 min. of course if you run for 2 hours you will look like crap eventually, but if you do it smart and take advantage of certain states (like fasted or after weightlifting) you will do good. everything excesive is bad


#12

“Everything in excess is bad.”

Like…not eating? AKA “fasted cardio” LOL.


#13

really youll diss on fasted training? do you know that your body holds enough sugars so you will need to be fasted for few days to start losing muscles. dont listen to all that fasted your so catabolic you’ll lose all your muscles, body was this wayy for as long as humans exists, do you think cavemen eat first thing in the morning so they dont go catabolic:)


#14

Oh okay dude, you totally changed my perspective. I’ll stop listening to all those people, and my own body.


#15

lol i didnt come here to change your mind, i came to give my advice from my experience. if your body reacts different than mine its perfectly fine.


#16

[quote]tsantos wrote:

[quote]TrevorLPT wrote:
You’re a bit late to the party on this one. Like most things in the fitness industry, the pendulum of cardio prescriptions has swung from one extreme (aerobics being touted as the king of exercise during the 80s to early 90s) to the other (the HIIT hysteria and anti-“cardio” nonsense you’re referring to, starting with the publishing and subsequent misinterpretation of the Tabata study in the late 90s).

Now, fortunately, the pendulum has swung back to the middle and most intelligent coaches and trainers recognize the benefits of both types of training, and the good ones understand how and when to program each one appropriately. As early as 2005, Eric Cressey posted an article on this very site which outlined the benefits of low intensity aerobic work for strength athletes. Since then, Mike Robertson, Tony Gentilcore, Jim Laird, Joel Jamison, and others have gone to bat for aerobic work. Jim Wendler has been including “weighted vest walking” as a suggested activity in most of the programs he’s written for this site.

So, while you’re right in what you say about aerobic work, you’re far from the first person to realize it and your claim that contemporary strength coaches and specifically the people who write for T-Nation haven’t yet caught on to the benefits of aerobic work is misguided. [/quote]

What this guy said.[/quote]
x3.

Good post.


#17

[quote]prometheus1 wrote:
Is it really sensible to completely skip cardio because it purportedly can make you gain 20 grams less of lean muscle mass, and forgo all of these benefits it DOES give?:

  • Increase in exercise tolerance
  • Reduction in body weight
  • Reduction in blood pressure
  • Reduction in bad (LDL and total) cholesterol
  • Increase in good (HDL) cholesterol
  • Increase in insulin sensitivity
  • Promotes high quality sleep (recovery is important for muscle gain too)
  • Improved immune system
  • Lower resting heart rate and recovery during exercise[/quote]
    Properly programmed weight training and a good nutrition plan can deliver those exact same benefits, no cardio required.

Aerobic training isn’t “necessary”. “Necessary” is a very tricky and context-specific word when it comes to any type of exercise.


#18

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]prometheus1 wrote:
Is it really sensible to completely skip cardio because it purportedly can make you gain 20 grams less of lean muscle mass, and forgo all of these benefits it DOES give?:

  • Increase in exercise tolerance
  • Reduction in body weight
  • Reduction in blood pressure
  • Reduction in bad (LDL and total) cholesterol
  • Increase in good (HDL) cholesterol
  • Increase in insulin sensitivity
  • Promotes high quality sleep (recovery is important for muscle gain too)
  • Improved immune system
  • Lower resting heart rate and recovery during exercise[/quote]
    Properly programmed weight training and a good nutrition plan can deliver those exact same benefits, no cardio required.

Aerobic training isn’t “necessary”. “Necessary” is a very tricky and context-specific word when it comes to any type of exercise.[/quote]

To add to this, I can’t think of many “xxx is good” phrases that are universally true, if any. “xxx is good” for who? For what goal? Under what circumstance?


#19

I agree that no cardio is bullshit. I notice I recover from my works faster when I do something as simple as 15 minutes on the bike twice a week. I feel like I have more energy overall and my mood is a little better. There isn’t any value in being strong when you cant climb a set of stairs or carry a bag of concrete more than 50 feet without gassing out. Plus, I know a cop at my gym who is one of the strongest members (500lb+ deadlift) so I question this wisdom that cardio compromises strength significantly. Granted, don’t run 20 minutes then squat, that will screw you up.

EDIT:
and you have people like hockey players and gymnasts who need to be both strong and have significant aerobic endurance. Take it for what it is worth.


#20

[quote]dagill2 wrote:

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]prometheus1 wrote:
Is it really sensible to completely skip cardio because it purportedly can make you gain 20 grams less of lean muscle mass, and forgo all of these benefits it DOES give?:

  • Increase in exercise tolerance
  • Reduction in body weight
  • Reduction in blood pressure
  • Reduction in bad (LDL and total) cholesterol
  • Increase in good (HDL) cholesterol
  • Increase in insulin sensitivity
  • Promotes high quality sleep (recovery is important for muscle gain too)
  • Improved immune system
  • Lower resting heart rate and recovery during exercise[/quote]
    Properly programmed weight training and a good nutrition plan can deliver those exact same benefits, no cardio required.

Aerobic training isn’t “necessary”. “Necessary” is a very tricky and context-specific word when it comes to any type of exercise.[/quote]

To add to this, I can’t think of many “xxx is good” phrases that are universally true, if any. “xxx is good” for who? For what goal? Under what circumstance?[/quote]

oxygen?