T Nation

Is Cardio Important?

Me and a friend are having a debate whether cardio is important in training.

I believe that introducing cardio in a training programme is essential for a well toned athletic body and that if you do heavy weights with minimal cardio then you are not on the way to achieving a good physique.

Cardio is also a good way to loose body fat all around the body.

Personally, I avoid cardio like the plague and it hasn’t hurt me any. In all honesty, including some cardio in your routine is certainly a good thing, but it’s far from necessary unless you’re an endurance athlete.

i hope that i am not wrong on this but isn’t resistance training more effective than cardio at burning fat since it burns calories during and after a workout as it boosts the metabolism. am i right or wrong?

Again, it’s all dependent upon your goals.

As for overall health? It’s probably good to do at least 2 sessions of cardio a week for optimal cardiovascular health.

I am finding myself swinging back to the idea of cardio (or GPP or whatever the hell people want to call it these days) being important. I allowed myself to get WAY too caught up in the idea of cardio being so muscle wasting or causing the death of your fast twitch muscle fibers. And guess what? I would go to play hoops or soccer or anything requiring a modicum of endurance and it was brutal.

So, I like to work it in, never to excess, a few times per week in various forms. I simply cannot buy the idea of it just being for endurance athletes.

Different goals call for different methods. If you’re trying to put on maximum mass with no worry about cardiovascular endurance, then cardio will no be necessary. But if you’re training to be say a rugby player or so, you will need the cardio to be able to stay alive in the game.

[quote]Kuz wrote:
I simply cannot buy the idea of it just being for endurance athletes.[/quote]

I can. If you want to play soccer, then train to play soccer. Gear your personal workouts towards allowing you to play soccer. However, don’t imply that everyone else gives a damn about whether they can play soccer. I hate soccer. I also get PT tested yearly so cardio is kept in to do well in that area. You TRAIN like you LIVE. It is really that simple. Throwing cardio in randomly when the goal is the most size and strength possible in a given amount of time is not a good idea if you have no basis for it other than that you heard it was good. People need to have goals and they need to train for those specific goals. That is why blanket statements simply can’t be made about what ALL people should be doing in the gym.

[quote]XDannyX wrote:
I believe that introducing cardio in a training programme is essential for a well toned athletic body and that if you do heavy weights with minimal cardio then you are not on the way to achieving a good physique.[/quote]

Both ‘cardio’ and ‘good’ need to be further qualified.

But no, as a blanket statement, you are incorrect. Cardio is not essential to build a good physique.

I’m thinking that for overall health, yes, it’s a good idea. How you go about it should vary greatly depending on your goals.

It would seem to depend on one’s genetics more than anything. For example, consistent cardio (in any form) would be very important for someone with chronically low HDL levels.

And in terms of goals, different body types would likely attach different significance to the role of cardio in their overall fat loss strategy.

Hey there… In response to your comment about low HCL I am absolutely new to this work out scene. I believe I have low HCL as I am constantly complaining of stomach aches after i eat meat… this led my Boyfriend to believe I have Low HCL…how is running beneficial? I love running but my boyfriend is a strength coach and convinces me out of doing it. Any advice?
Thanks so much!

…and i just realized you typed hDl not hCl LOL sorry about that! I suppose my question has no barring! lol

I don’t think it’s very important, but I do add 2 weekly sessions of lifting a heavy rock for 8x 100m or 200m. Good for lower back, stomach and “cardio”. But while bulking I don’t see the point really, unless you are huffing and puffing going up a the stairs.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Kuz wrote:
I simply cannot buy the idea of it just being for endurance athletes.

I can. If you want to play soccer, then train to play soccer. Gear your personal workouts towards allowing you to play soccer. However, don’t imply that everyone else gives a damn about whether they can play soccer. I hate soccer. I also get PT tested yearly so cardio is kept in to do well in that area. You TRAIN like you LIVE. It is really that simple. Throwing cardio in randomly when the goal is the most size and strength possible in a given amount of time is not a good idea if you have no basis for it other than that you heard it was good. People need to have goals and they need to train for those specific goals. That is why blanket statements simply can’t be made about what ALL people should be doing in the gym.[/quote]

Prof, I think he means for your average guy wanting to have a good build and be healthy and I agree with him. Of course if one were training for an upcoming NPC show an was competing for a good number of years then I would agree with what you said.

Some type of cardio a few times per week is a good thing whether it be hitting a heavy bag, walking, hiking, whatever. But, again if that upcoming BB contest would put you at risk for losing a half pound of muscle… don’t do it!!!

D

If one were to consider cardio as moderate walking as primarily a fat burner to keep it in check (fat, that is), I’d say that it is important to maintain an overall good physique.

That is, if you’re not old and your metabolism is still high.

The question wasn’t whether or not cardio is important for maximal strength or muscle gains. It was about overall physique maintenance.

I know the answer for me. In general, the answer is:

It depends.

General answer.

Some amount of regular cardio is good for anyone, for overall health.

Even for a sprinter or power lifter.