T Nation

What Is Cardio?


Despite everything I've always thought of cardio as anything that gets me breathing hard, if its 10 minutes on the treadmill or a game of basketball. However, everytime I look at training routines cardio is never less then 20 minutes and wrecks havoc on muscle gains. So I guess my question is what line defines something as cardio? is it defined by hormonal responses? times, or intensity? is it the same thing as endurance?

say your going to put a person on a treadmill. starting from 0 seconds what point defines what he is doing as cardio? after 20 minutes at 6mph?


"When there is adequate oxygen to support the energy needs of the cell, metabolism is said to be aerobic. When the demand for energy at the cellular level outstrips the ability of the cardiovascular system to provide adequate oxygen for oxidation, anaerobic metabolism comes into play. "



Cardio over 20 minutes doesn't "reek havoc on muscle gains." If it did, every sucessful bodybuilder on the planet would be a 150 pound midget by now. The whole "HIIT is the only way to do this" mentality preached by so many is proven false again and again in the real world.


Don't the bodybuilders use it to cut? mainly because when they are not cutting they want to gain as much muscle as possible?


Muscle costs calories to build. Excessive cardio can certainly limit muscle gains if not enough calories are consumed. It can also benefit the heart and work capacity.

You just need to find a balance that helps you meet your goals (unless you are just trying to get a discussion going).


Trying to figure out if and how much cardio I should include while playing basketball. Or if I have no choice but to limit the amount of basketball I play. I've always tried to just use basketball as cardio but it never seems to workout for the look I want. As much as basketball players run they don't seem to have similar definition with bulging muscles that even an amateur bodybuilder in the offseason would have. I don't know if you follow basketball but say Tim Hardaway in the later part of his career had muscle but didn't looked ripped. If simply running is considered cardio, wouldn't all the practices and games he had plus suicides count as cardio or some form of hiit?


so if i breath less while lifting less oxygen gets to the muscle fibers and then the exercise is more anearobic?

so if i do 4 sets then the last 2 sets will be purely anearobic because i am depriving the muscles of oxygen? and why are vasodilators so popular? dont they increase blood flow? i would think you'd want increased blood flow only AFTER the set is completed. sorry if i sound like an idiot..i'm a thinking man


what is cardio????

Shorter rest between sets...


To your first question, Yes. I don't know if you heard of them but for some time they had these gadgets like big rubber bands used to constrict bloodblow to a muscle to get it to work in an increased anearobic state. This is only true the longer the exercise or set is. Since initially it is all anearobic. You can get that from the article from the second post.

For your second question, Are you asking if you hold your breath for four straight sets even in between, or strictly talking about performing sets not even thinking about breathing?

Third you want to increase blood flow when performing exercise because it allows you to exercise longer and harder and cause more muscle damage. In the end the point of your exercise is to increase cns ability and/or maximum repairable muscle damage. So more blood flow will allow you to get in more reps to damage more fibers causing more repair.


Or anything over 5 reps.