Mar 09 2015

Cardio Cardio Cardio – Is It Your Friend or Foe?

“Cardio makes you fat” many articles and newspapers have claimed… Contradicting this, a colleague will point out, “but I lost TONS of weight doing cardio” What is the deal with cardio? Should we be doing it for optimal results, or is it really a waste of our valuable time? That’s what this…

“Cardio makes you fat” many articles and newspapers have claimed…

Contradicting this, a colleague will point out, “but I lost TONS of weight doing cardio”

What is the deal with cardio? Should we be doing it for optimal results, or is it really a waste of our valuable time? That’s what this weeks blog is here to tell you….

 

TOO MUCH CARDIO on TOO FEW CALORIES is – you guessed it…..BAD!

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This is why cardio gets a bad name – too many people, in pursuit of rapid weight loss, increase their cardio levels dramatically AND cut their calories at the same time. This is too much of a shock to the body, and what happens is the body starts to lose muscle, because it’s an easier fuel source than fat. Don’t be one of the cardio bunnies that is stuck on the cross trainer, going further and further into the realms of ‘skinny fat’.

So what constitutes too few calories?

Anything lower than 1200 calories a day is simply too low for anyone, ever. Fact.

Also, a cut in calories of more than 20% off your maintenance level is too big a drop. It will cause your changes in the neural and hormonal system which can potentially make it harder to loose body fat or even cause fat gain as the body goes into survival mode (survival mode is where your body hangs on to the fat that you do have, thinking that there is a shortage of fuel, or food…your metabolism also slows as your body tries to conserve energy)

 

SENSIBLE CARDIO on SENSIBLE CALORIES is OPTIMAL!

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If your goal is fat loss, then you want to get the best results for the LEAST amount of work possible. Why make life harder for yourself than it needs to be?! So, small changes are key.

So what constitutes sensible?

Well this depends on your starting point, but in reality we are looking at small changes of 5 – 15% from what you are doing RIGHT NOW. For example, if you are doing 2 hours  (120 minutes) of cardio a week, we might increase by 10% only, to 132 minutes, and see what results that gets us. If the fat starts coming off, we KEEP EVERYTHING THE SAME until that fat loss stalls.

Same when it comes to the diet. Drop your weekly calorie intake by 5-15%, never any more. Never up your exercise and reduce your calories at the same time! We are in the business of building AWESOME physiques here, and for that you need to eat 🙂 Anything over a 1000 calorie deficit underneath your maintenance level is simply too much, and that’s when you’ll trigger your bodies survival mode.

 

TOO LITTLE CARDIO on TOO HIGH CALORIES equals a FAT BELLY!

Take in more calories than you’re burning off and….yup, your belly will be back 🙁 You need to find your ‘maintenance’ level  – by that we mean the amount of food and cardio your body needs to stay flat (not gain fat, nor lose fat). If you like your food, for you that might mean keeping the cardio a little higher AND the food higher. Once you’ve found your maintenance intake, everything else can be worked back from that.

How to Work Out Your Maintenance Calories

Take your bodyweight in pounds, and multiply by one of the following multipliers that most closely fits your situation:

BW x 12 = if you are very sedentary and you exercise less than 2 times per week

BW x 14 = if you are reasonably active, exercising from 3-5 times per week

BW x 16 if you are very active (or you have an active job) and you exercise more than 6 times per week

That’s really all there is to it – we all need some cardio to stay lean and healthy, but how much depends on your ultimate goals and starting point.

WHEN YOU ARE READY TO GET SERIOUS

Becs

Author

Salman