Harmonize Fitness
Harmonize Fitness

The problem with cardio


Cardio is great for optimal health, it has a lot of benefits as we´ve seen before, but too much of it can be counterproductive.

There´s a huge problem nowadays when it comes to optimal body composition, it´s not only that a lot of people are obese or overweight it´s also a lack of muscle mass. Lack of muscle mass is also a huge problem in skinny people, they may be slim and skinny but that doesn´t mean it´s healthy.

Muscle mass and strength play an important role on maintaining optimal health and longevity. When we talk about longevity we´re talking about quality of life, making sure that you live a long life with the best quality possible.

Most people when they´re working on losing muscle they give cardio exercise a high priority, some of them go for long sessions of steady state cardio, others prefer to take cardio or aerobic classes and even when they improve health especially heart and lungs, they help you improve endurance if you over do it you´ll start losing muscle mass which is the opposite of what we want. The goal when you want to lose weight is to lose muscle and maintain as much muscle mass as possible and if you´re skinny the goal is to build muscle mass.

Too much cardio will break down muscle especially if you don´t do enough resistance exercise, this is a huge problem especially with girls because they think that if they lift weight they´ll get big and huge like bodybuilders which is not the case, there need to be several things into place working together to build muscle and it takes a lot of time, if this is your case don´t be afraid of lifting weights, if you don´t want to get big you won´t get big you just exercise the right way to gain enough muscle mass to get a physique that looks tone.

Lets be clear, you don´t need cardio to lose weight and to make this bad news worse if you do it the wrong way it will cause more damage, certain types of cardio exercises or activities based on cardio can increase injuries, decrease performance, impacts on recovery from your resistance workouts so you need to find a way to use in a way that helps you lose fat and even be beneficial for recovery.

It doesn´t matter if you´re losing weight or if you´re maintaining your current weight and physique if you rely on cardio to achieve those goals every time you´ll need to do more and more of it and increase the intensity and if you´re not prioritizing resistance exercise and you´re not working on the other 3 principles of fitness (diet, sleep, stress) to make sure that your hormones and metabolism are working efficiently then with time you´ll need more and more cardio and a lower calorie diet just to maintain your weight and it gets harder when you want to lose weight.

Even when a lot of people recommend to do cardio every day it´s not beneficial, it can block your progress on resistance exercise and in the long term it can lead to damage on joints, if you already have problems with joints then cardio can make it worse.

We need to make a huge distintion here, in this case when we talk about cardio we talk about having a cardio session schedule whether it´s 45 to 60 minutes of steady state cardio or 15 minutes of HIIT. We do need to be active throughout the day but there are so many ways of increasing activity like walking when you´re on phone calls, parking farther from the entrance at the office, mall, when you go shopping, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking 15 minutes after each meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner).

Walking is actually the best form of cardio and physical activity you can do because it doesn´t have any negative impact and you can do it anywhere, you don´t need special equipment, finding opportunities to increase physical activity throughout the day just by walking is the best option when you´re starting your fitness journey, then according to your goals you can schedule 10 to 15 minutes of cardio a couple days a week and 1 or 2 HIIT sessions per week to help you lose fat a little faster or to improve performance.

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