Sure chocolate vs vanilla and superman vs batman are often highly debated, but nothing compares in fitness circles to the debate of strength work vs cardio. At the moment it is very popular to hate on cardio- why?
Because for many people its uncomfortable. It’s hard work and it hurts.
But does that mean we should avoid it?
Where did the anti-cardio movement begin?
Back in the early 2000’s strength coaches caught on to studies that suggested that extended periods of time spent undertaking cardiovascular exercise caused a spike in cortisol, the bodies stress hormone.
It was believed that this would send the body catabolic, which in reference to the main fear from cardio training meant “losing the gains”.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that someone can get very lean, without cardio- understanding this and coupling it with the fear that you could be losing muscle by doing so- people stopped doing it.
If you can get lean without cardio, why do it?
Seems a pretty good question and fortunately the answer (or at least part of it) is so simple it would be criminal not to answer this.
You shouldn’t be doing cardio solely to “get lean”. You should be doing cardiovascular training for cardiovascular adaptations.
These include increasing the efficiency of your heart pumping blood throughout the body, better capabilities to transport oxygen throughout the body and increased VO2 max, decreased resting heart rate, improved heart rate variability and increased mitochondrial function too.
Suffice to say it’s pretty important.
Still weights vs cardio?
Perhaps its time we shift the way we view it, keeping in mind at Hybrid our focus is health first, aesthetic and performance come next. Therefore it would make sense that we include cardiovascular exercise as essentially it is just another tool to our kit when it comes to maximising your health.
What is the best type of cardio?
There is no one best form of cardiovascular exercise, the best type however is the one you most enjoy. Whether that is a jog, swimming, kayaking, hiking or hitting the trails on a mountain bike isn’t too important.
What is important is that you enjoy it, then it’s more likely that you stick to it or even better don’t see it as “cardio”, rather doing something you enjoy that happens to benefit your cardiovascular health.
The adaptations you gain from smart cardiovascular programming go far beyond the gym- it should come as no surprise that the health of your heart is incredibly important (shock horror).
In next weeks article we will go through some of the best options for your cardiovascular training and some of the ways we recommend our clients to train to make significant improvements to their overall health and as a follow on, allowing their training and performance to race ahead to the next level.
As with all things in life, with cardio its important to work smart, while working hard for optimal results.
Have any questions for us? Or maybe you disagree with us- fire away in the comments section. More than happy to discuss with you.
The Hybrid Team