Has there been anything in the fitness industry more hotly debated in the past 5-10 years than steady state Cardio ...
First-Where’d “cardio” come from?
The term dates back to 1969 when a doctor of medicine from Oklahoma named Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper first published it in his book Aerobics. Interestingly enough, this was also the book that popularized the notion of 10,000 steps per day.
Cardio has undergone a number of transitions since Dr. Cooper’s book.
“Cardio’s great! Let’s wear hilarious neon leotards and walk on steps.”
“Cardio? Pfft, what’s cardio? This is Tai Bo! Don’t step on steps, kick the crap out of air instead!”
Then group exercise came in.
“I mean, why beat up air by yourself when you can do it in a room of other people while being yelled at to kick harder?”
“Well, why go all the way to a gym when somebody can yell at you through the TV for p 90 days of Xtreme exercise. Or maybe you’re looking for something more “” yes? That’s Insanity.”
And all the while there’s been a group of people who just like to run down the street, no matter how hot or freaking cold it is… yes I am talking about the joggers.
For the most part they’ve been left alone throughout all the twists, turns, and hilarious outfits that cardio has taken on.
That is, until recently.
The bastardization of running has gotten ugly at times, but is steady-state cardio really all that bad?
I don’t think so, but there’s a but.
As a fitness professional you must teach your clients what it’s good for and what it isn’t.
Here’s what you need to know about steady-state cardio (I mention running under the same umbrella)
- Steady-state cardio is not the way to attain the athletic physique that most trainees are going for. It’ll burn fat, but it’ll also burn muscle. You can’t be great at cardio and building muscle at the same time.
- By its very nature, the more you do cardio, the worse of a fat burning exercise it becomes. We burn fat when we perform a movement inefficiently. Running, for example, makes you better at running. It makes you more efficient both in the enzymatic processes and in your biomechanics. It follows that the more you run, the worse of a fat burning exercise it becomes.
- It’s a great stress relief and social activity.
- Running 5km’s is a nice goal for a client to make because it’s achievable and something that they can be proud of. However, you need to make sure that your client knows that this isn’t a fat burning goal.
Hope that cleared some confusion up.