4 common misconceptions about cardio

Cardio is an essential component to getting in shape but needs to be utilized correctly in order to achieve your desired goal.  These are 4 mistakes a lot of people make when it comes to cardiovascular exercising.

Cardio Before Weight Training

Many people tell me that they do cardio before hitting the weights in order to warm up.  I’m sure that they do get warm after 20-30 minutes on the treadmill, Stairmaster or bike.  The only problem is you’re training shoulders.   In order to warm your shoulders up before a workout, you need to grab some weights and work those muscles, not your cardiovascular system.

Many people have this idea that by warming up their entire body, they are now ready to hit the weights.  So instead of properly doing warm ups with weights for the shoulders, they tend to jump into the sets.  This can cause joint pain and achiness because the muscles haven’t been properly warmed up.  People that use this method risk pulling or straining a muscle.  They also diminish their ability to exert the most power on each set.

Let me explain, when you first walk into the gym and begin to workout, you’re using sugar for energy and strength.  By expending all of this on the treadmill, you’ve wasted that burst of energy that would be better used for the most demanding workout, which is weightlifting.  So by the time these people decide to lift weights, they’re now using fat for energy and power.  They’re going to display lack of focus, less energy and less strength.

I Run Miles Everyday, Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

Running burns a lot of calories – this includes fat and also can include muscle if you’re not careful.  Many clients of mine ask me, why they haven’t lost weight, even though they’ve been running for years.  The body tends to get used to your daily activities.  Depending on what you eat, your weight can fluctuate.  One misconception is that you can get abs through running miles daily.

The truth is, running can prevent you from possibly gaining extra body fat as long as you keep your same eating habits.  But it will not change the way you look until you change what you eat.  So running can be used as an incinerator to mold your body the way that you want it to look, but diet will be the determining factor for it to actually make that change.

Stationary Cardio Is Not Enough To Burn Fat

I would say the majority of people believe walking on the treadmill is simply not enough when it comes to losing weight.  I’m here to tell you that that is absolutely not true.  When it comes to cardio one of the most important things is consistency.  Think of it like like brushing your teeth, an everyday habit.  If you decide brushing your teeth one full day as hard as you can and using the most toothpaste you can get in your mouth at once will keep your mouth clean for the entire month, you would be mistaken.

Just like brushing your teeth, cardio is most effective when done on a regular basis because like eating, our bodies frequently change.  In other words, cardio that is stationary can be just as effective when it comes to losing weight and getting toned as sprinting on a daily basis could.  And the upside to stationary cardio is that there’s less wear and tear on your knees.

I Only Run 3 Miles A Day, Why Can’t I Grow?

Many guys struggle with trying to grow upper body lean muscle.  One of the obstacles they face are their habits of running daily.  One time I had a client that told me that their habit of running 3 miles a day was not a lot.  One of the problems with this type of running is that it doesn’t give the muscle a chance to tighten up and the body a chance to recover from expending hundreds if not thousands of calories on their daily runs.

I’m not saying you can’t run and gain lean muscle.  But running multiple miles a day only flattens the upper body, making it impossible to ever fill out and continue to grow.  One of the reasons most bodybuilders tend to do stationary cardio is for upper body muscle preservation.  The stationary cardio usually consist of Stairmaster, bike, or walking on the treadmill.  Earlier I mentioned stationary cardio to lean out and burn fat.

If you want to add lean upper body muscle it is imperative that you stay away from long distance running on a daily basis.  Quick sprints can be beneficial because of the short bursts using the quick twitch muscle fibers.  And because the run is over in a matter of seconds, there’s less muscle tissue breakdown.  Also the explosive movement from a sprint acts more like a power lunge or leg pressing movement, engorging the legs with blood and then giving the body time to recover.  Long distance running that lasts anywhere from 15-25 minutes is too long for someone who seeks to build and maintain upper body lean muscle.

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