Thursday, October 2, 2008

Cardio Kills

I came across this article called "Cardio Kills" in the Chicago Athlete Magazine (pg. 41). The article immediately caught my eye because I love my cardio (running) and couldn't believe that someone would write such an article. According to celebrity trainer Jim Karas, cardio breaks down muscle, injures joints and increases appetite without increasing metabolism, thereby leading to weight gain. He encourages his clients to focus on weight training and circuit training.

Here are a few quotes from the article:

“Excessive cardio breaks down the human body at an accelerated rate…Anyone running a marathon or preparing for a marathon is slowly killing themselves.”

“Cardio does nothing to improve the lean muscle to body fat ratio, and burning muscle diminishes your results…Beyond a certain point, marathon runners can go into starvation mode - the body becomes catabolic, burning muscle for fuel.”

“Consistent pounding of the body from traditional forms of cardio can lead to severe injuries in your back, knees, ankles and everything in between…Take a look at the Chicago marathon. Half to three-quarters of the runners have on knee braces.”

It's really hard for me to believe that cardio is not of benefit to our bodies. I know that running has made a huge difference in my life ( weight loss, energy, confidence, etc.) I recognize that strength training is important as well. I think it is important to encourage people to incorporate more strength training into their workouts but to take out cardio completely is ridiculous.


How important is Cardio to your workout?

What do you think about Caras plan?

*Read this article in Women's Health Magazine to get a better understanding about the differences between cardio and strength training.

I don't know about y'all but I plan to keep Running!


Anonymous said...

Lurker checking in!

From my experience, I think the he raises some valid points about cardio such as: increased appetite, can be jarring to joints and the nations obession with cardio as the only means of weight loss.

Although i haven't read his book, it seems that his view is un balanced. He doesn't mention less taxing forms of cardio nor does he recommend cutting down on frequency.

When i had foot surgery, i was afraid that i would gain weight because i couldn't get on the treadmill. So i relied on calisthenics, pilates and weights with great results. So i thinks it depends on the individual.

BTW, awesome blog!

Angie R.

Jim Karas said...

Hi, it's Jim Karas, author of "The Cardio-Free Diet."

It's important to understand that I believe cardiovascular health is EXTREMELY important to your health, weight, etc.

BUT, classic cardio, such as running, stepping, etc., is horrible for your body, especially when performed for hours upon hours a week and when done outside.

You see, the interval strength-training in the book provides:

1. Enhanced heart health as you are spiking your heart rate in intervals which EVERY research study shows is more effective than steady state aerobics.

2. An increase in your lean muscle tissue. Only strength training preserves and increases this calories burning tissue. Cardio actually diminished muscle, which is another reason why it should never be performed.

3. Increases your after burn, known in the industry as EPOC, or Excess, Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. If you can believe it, 31 minutes of interval strength training increases your metabolism for 38 hours. That's HUGE. Cardio boosts it for 2-3 hours.

There are SO many more reasons why cardio kills and strength training is key.

If you can believe it, Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the man who coined the phrase aerobics, came out recently to say that excessive cardio, like cigarette smoking, is a carcinogen.


Take a look at the book as it provides an even more compelling argument and the eating and exercise program has helped thousands of people lose weight and keep it off

If you don't believe me, take a look at Diane Sawyer, who is 62, and decide for yourself.

Jim Karas

Anonymous said...

It is hard to comment intelligently on this since I have not read the book. I'm glad the author commented here though. I am curious as to how much cardio is too much? Is he saying to do no cardio at all? Is his strength/circuit plan one that really generates a cardio effect because you are mixing cardio exercise and doing things with very little rest?

I do agree that someone doing 8 hours of cardio a week and no strength training is missing a vital piece of the puzzle. In fact, another blogger pointed out this article

which I found very interesting. As I train for a November marathon, I've been experiencing a lot of the effects she mentioned. I'm burning more calories than ever but struggling to lose weight despite what I eat. I still keep up my strength training but I can tell a difference in the tightness of my body despite my efforts and I hate it. I'm looking forward to getting this thing over with so I can get back to a more balanced routine.

I will never, ever give up cardio like my weekly step class. However, unless I am training for an endurance event I won't be running 30 miles a week again either.

Cruz said...

Yeah I have to say that I would feel off balance without my morning runs. I've become addicted to it, it makes me feel good the entire day and I actually find that my appetite is lessened for the entire day. I think anything done excessively and obsessively is bad but since I'm not a fitness expert he may very well be right. Still, I will not stop running, lol.

Fitness Goddess said...

Thanks for the comments everyone, especially Jim Karas. I will look into your book.
I know that I need to change somethings up in my my workout because I lost alot of weight and now it's been really difficult for me to lose my last 20 pounds.

djmadmike said...

this is not new...interval training & HIIT are more effective. Most major bodybuilders dont go running when leaning out instead they go for brisk 40min walks. Unless you are competition training running is considered aggressive. everyone i've work with has come in complaining about joint pain or wanting to find something else.

todoni said...

From my research on the subject, I found out that when a person wants to maintain or gain muscles, cardio has to be reduced. Pretty much cardio kills muscle growth. I also learned that HIIT or maximun intensity training (MIT) is the way to go. Take a look at a long distance runner and a sprinter, bodywise we can see a great difference. I would say that it depends on what we want to achieve with our body, as for me I want to build more muscle so I had to recuce my cardio.
There is still more to learn on the subject.

Erica said...

I am loathe to believe in such extreme beliefs. At the end of the day, too much of a good thing is not so good. I think that our (North American) relationships with food and exercise is extreme--we either don't exercise, or we exercise until we pass out; either we eat excessively well where we cut out any fat at all, or we eat all the bad things in the world. I advocate a more measured approach to cardio. Cardio, I think, is good, just not in excessive quantities. Same with weight training. Same with circuit training.

Brigitte said...

I used to do a lot of cardio including running and rowing but now I only do it 3 times per week for 20 minutes at a time and weight train 3 days a week.

Since limiting my cardio, I've really noticed a change in how my body looks and feels.

Anonymous said...

Different people need different advice. I'm am a 52 year old runner who has run for 21 years. I recently tweaked my knee skiing and when I had it checked, the doctor said I had the knees of a 20 year old.

Some people are runners, some are weight lifters. Some people can eat meat, others do better with a vegan diet.

You have to find out what works for you by trial and error. If running makes you feel great (like I feel after a good run), why would you give it up?

Running a marathon is probably not good for the body. The first guy to run a marathon dropped dead!

Exquiste Lady said...

I think, like everything else, it is important to be balanced with everything. Too much of anything but God is not good for us so the individual has to know their body type, medical history, fitness goals, and assess all of the different weight loss options that are out there. We have so many forms of exercises today that there is so much to choose from so if a person mixes up the types of exercises they do, their body will always be challenged in different ways; different parts of their body will get a chance to rest from vigorous repetitive exercises due to the change of style; and it helps with not getting bored from doing the same type of exercise over time.

What I am finding out lately is that it is important for me to plan my exercise routines and have everything prepared the night before for when I get up that next morning. What I started to do is have my workout stuff (clothes, sports bra, socks, mp3 player- fully charged) laid out the night before. If I am walking I plan accordingly for time, if I am doing one of my exercise DVD's I have it laid out by the DVD player, if I am going to the gym then I plan what types of exercises I will do when I get there the night before.

Having a plan for doing a variety of exercises is helping me to be consistent more because I noticed that I would spend atleast 20 minutes to a half hour trying to figure out what type of exercise I was going to do, looking for workout clothes, and after that I had lost my motivation and I was getting close to my time to get ready for work. So mixing and planning exercises is one way to combat the body being worn out from one type of exercise while being consistent.

Fitness said...

So the article seems a little silly to me. Cardio is a very important part of any good fitness routine. I love spinning, running, and swimming. Anyone who tries to tell me that it's not good for me must be into some kind of new age tactics. It's silly to think that it's not good for your heart and other organs. Plus my dog would be really upset if I quit running. :)