The Psychology Of Fitness

Mindsets, Body Types and Everything In Between

Fat Loss and Cardio – Revisited

It’s been too long since I put up a blog post.  During this layoff from actually putting up posts, I’ve also started a post about the Twinkie Diet, how we learn information, Neurotransmitters and Brain function, Thyroid conditions and how sometimes You just have to work harder than the average person to get the things you want.  Some of those posts, I just need some quiet time to sit down and get ’em done.  Other posts, I actually need to learn more before I write them and yet for others they’re complete but I don’t like how they turned out.

With that said, I’m never content with an answer, until it actually makes sense.  What I mean is this, I wrote, Fat Loss and Cardio ~ I Call Bull$h*t.  In that post, there were two things that I said.

One was that Cardio for Fat Loss sucks.  Two was that there were 5 main components of Fat Loss and cardio (which I only mean to be steady state jogging) is the one with the least significance.

So, I mainly said Cardio for Fat Loss sucks, because well, it does.  BUT, it never really sat well with me.  Meaning there have obviously been times where people have lost fat with cardio.  A couple of days after I wrote that post though, an article on T-nation came out that made me feel justified in writing it.  But something still didn’t feel right to me.

Also, another article, which is required reading for anyone that comes to work for me is from Alwyn Cosgrove on The Hierarchy of Fat Loss.  I personally think this should be required reading for ANYONE walking into a gym.  I’m just saying, it’s pretty damn important.  But again, although the article makes sense, something didn’t sit well with me.

With all of that said, though, both components were missing something – Which is what the rest of this post is about.

First, I stick by my stance in that Cardio (steady state jogging) for Fat Loss sucks big balls.

Cardio for Fat Loss Still Sucks Big Balls

Second though, what I hate about cardio isn’t all forms of cardio, just jogging and elliptical work.  Walking, Incline Treadmill walking, a Step mill, Versa-Climber or Rowing machine are all fine forms of Steady State Cardio.

So why do I hate jogging and elliptical work?  Because once people reach a certain level of fitness, those pieces of equipment become as bad as TV for seeing results.  I see people come in day after day on those pieces of equipment and jog or stroll on the elliptical becoming complete zombies in the process.  I think if you don’t have to think about it, and you’re trying to lose fat, then you like SLOOOooooooooooooow progress.  Bottom line is that after reaching that level of fitness, the treadmill and elliptical become completely and totally ineffective for seeing further results.

So why are those pieces of equipment so popular?  Because the user level to those pieces of equipment is low.  Very low.  You press a button and go.  Typically figuring out how to work the TV’s on them is harder.

So what is the Treadmill and Elliptical good for?  I’ll answer this in order of importance.
1 – Athletes who can’t train outside.  This includes marathon runners and triathletes, mainly.
2 – Generally healthy people looking to stay generally healthy and not wanting to achieve any long-term fitness goals, except maybe run a marathon or recover quicker from their workouts.
3 – Obese individuals who are not comfortable lifting weights by themselves.  And then, the treadmill/elliptical would be good for intervals.  Walking and Incline walking would be better than jogging on the treadmill.
4 – To relieve stress or to get rid of pent up energy.  No thought process is required and you can get in the “zone” of letting off steam.
5 – Those looking to lose weight.  As the 5th best option, behind the best exercise – pushing yourself away from the table, Metabolic Resistance Training, Anaerobic Intervals and Aerobic Intervals.
6 – People that don’t do it every day.  You see, I do believe that cardio is good for fat loss – for about 6 weeks.  If you do the treadmill or ellipitical every day and have been for the last 2 years while not seeing any results, it’s because you’re A – Not going hard enough and B – Not switching things up enough to cause your body to adapt (aka, lose fat).  The “new-ness” of the cardio will cause your body to burn off extra calories without causing your body to catch up by lowering your fat burning hormones.  This makes it ideal for bodybuilders who add it in the last 2 months before a show, someone who is overweight or someone that just starts to work out to get integrated into the gym that they belong to.

Beyond that and for those trying lose fat, despite being long-term cardio fanatics (aka, 2+ years jogging on the treadmill, 3+ days per week), Cardio for Fat Loss sucks.  Can it be effective, yes.  I just told you when it would be.  Should you live by it and embrace it as the best thing in the world?  Hell No.

With that said, the next post will be about the other 7 components that determine whether or not someone will work out consistently in order to see the results they want.

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