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October 18, 2012

How Much Cardio Should You Do?

I get asked quite a bit about cardio, and we have written on it before. Cardio can be a trap. Especially if you get your body to the place where you can ONLY see results when you do more of it.

Like Jade says, “The amount of exercise you do to lose the weight, will be the amount you will have to continue to do to keep it off.” So adding more and more cardio to your regimen it not the smartest of strategies.

I was there a couple years ago, and it is scary when you are doing 2 hours of cardio a day, and nothing is changing.

Huh? How is that possible?

Burning hundreds and hundreds of cals, eating 90% tight and still not losing inches?! The answer is because when it comes to exercise, oftentimes it is about HORMONAL signals, not just calories. So you can be burning cals like crazy and yet, you look the exact same.

The type, duration and mode of exercise drastically influences how you body will look.

I had that moderate-intensity “cardio look”–it’s related to excessive and chronically high cortisol output. Lots of exercise, especially in the moderate-intensity zone can leave us with chronically high cortisol levels, which can eventually interfere with our insulin metabolism. When this is broken, the thyroid can be affected, the adrenals too and even the reproductive organs.

And before we know it, our metabolism is simply not responding despite more and more exercise.

Like I said, a TRAP.

Metabolic Effect wrote a great article on this very topic, called “Is Your Metabolism Broken?” which describes the science behind what goes on during this metabolic shift.

So, when I get asked about cardio, and “how much should I do?” my answer is always: the minimum effective dose, AKA as little as possible.

The more you do, the more you have to continue to do to get results. So it is always ideal to do less if you can get away with it.

Use weight training as your primary form of exercise to help build muscle and shape the body. Do metabolic conditioning if you want a little higher breathless component. Add 1-2 days of sprints to your routine. 100-200m, resting as long as needed in between and doing 6-10 of them. But keep the moderate duration, steady-state stuff to a minimum.

If you just love cardio, fine, but be sure the moderate-intensity stuff is not the bulk of your training. You gotta lift ‘dem weights!

Like my friend Jen Sinkler says, “I lift weights. For cardio, I just lift weights faster.” :) In the video below, I give my full answer to the question about cardio.

See what you think!

Don’t forget, my treadmill + weight-based workout program, #treadLIFT is available through this Friday May 6th, 2016 ONLY! All workouts are 30 minutes or less, so your body will stay responsive. The workouts are intense, fast and results-driven. GET #treadLIFT HERE.



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