Cardio Fanatic’s Listen Up!
Cardio Fanatic= Someone that does at least 15 minutes of consistent moderate heart rate work:
Spinning, cycling, zumba-ing, running, rowing, ellipticalling, stairstepping…
If you’re in a hurry – scroll down for 5 reasons to stop your Cardio Insanity. If you have 1 and a half minutes,
Read below to learn WHY I stopped running and HOW not running got me to drop body fat, inches and dramatically increased my strength.
Yup, you read the post title right
In the past month I’ve stopped running ( not an easy thing.. I’ve been a distance runner since I was 7 years old)
BUuut I had to! I have some serious coaching certifications coming up that demand me to get my body a lot stronger and need more energy and a lean physiques to keep up with my clients.
(Yup, running was totally holding me back from getting more muscle, it was greatly zapping my daily energy AND it was actually keeping inches on me)
Okay, okay – let me be totally honest. I’ve stopped running over 4 mins at a time.
But I have dropped from running 2.5 hours per week / (20 miles) to 40 mins total each week
I’ve been doing lots of heavy weights and short cardio intervals (1-4 mins)
You might think I’ve bulked up and gained some inches..
NOPE! quite the opposite (In fact I have to take 3 dresses to the seamstress to take in)
I’ve dropped 2% body fat, dropped 6 inches, and greatly ramed up my BMR, metabolic rate ( Increased it 65 points)
This ALL happened in 2 weeks of dropping my long runs, seriously.
It’s all to get me to be able to nail a ONE arm push up by APRIL.. here’s my leaner stronger bod working on it.
Sooo.. If you’ve been kicking your own ass and spending hours working out weekly. Listen up.. STOP the long cardio!
This may make you super uncomfortable.. I get that! I fought the hard science of this for years.
BUT I had to admit – I kept doing the same thing and not seeing the results I really needed.
Albert Einstein: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Einstein hit it on the head.. and he should know! My standard long runs (bout 15-18 miles/week) were totally sabotaging me.
I’ve listed all the reasons why + why it long cardio is totally holding you back from a leaner, more defined, stronger and healthier you
5 Reasons to Stop Cardio Insanity!
Reason 1. You’re totally wasting your time
Yes it takes a long time – those 18 miles were sucking up about 3 hours a week. But get this
Steady state cardio (anything over 10/15 mins consistent) is working smaller muscle groups. Yeah your legs are working – but look at a distance runner opposed to a hurdler or sprinter. The distance runner is thin, but not defined or muscular at all.
Distance runner, cyclists gym cardio fanatics have more body fat than the hurdler, sprinter, kettlebeller (girevik)
That’s because those BIG muscles- your glutes and core muscles BURN more calories and are used in quick powerful moves AND heavy weighted moves.
I guarantee that skinny, painful looking gal on the left has about 15% body fat. The sprinters – they’re probably around 8-10%
Keep reading to know why.
Running, spinning, gym cardio machines – do not hit these guys. If you can go for more than 5 mins and not be maxed and gassed out- you’re wasting your time.
I was too! In my early 20’s I’d go to at least 2 spin classes a week and run a couple 8 mile runs- but I was holding at 24% body fat.
Now I’m at 13% Body Fat and feeling my best ever at 40 years old.
Reason #2 Overtraining makes your body eat it’s own muscle.
YUP – totally true.
See when you create muscle by lifting weights (or bodyweight/yoga moves) you are putting stress on your body – GOOD stress, but still stress. So now if you put more demands on a body that is already working hard your body has a protective mechanism – where it holds onto fat.. it thinks you are in battle. LITERALLY
Think of our ancestors- If we pushed and pulled and threw a bunch of heavy stuff and then ran for a long time – we were literally fighting for survival. The body is smart and it kept our super great grandparents alive by putting a lock down on their body fat. That way they could survive.
So when you go to your kettlebell, crossfit or vinyasa yoga class and then run for an hour later that day- you’re not burning any more fat, in fact you’re shutting off your fat burning and dropping your metabolism. This is called a “catabolic” state.. this means your body is breaking down. YIKES!
Reason #3 You stop burning calories sooner
With cardio/ endurance work you’re only burning WHEN you’re moving. Not so when you create muscle with high strength moves. Once you lift something heavy – those muscles actually burn more calories for up to 72 hours!! This is called EPOC . (Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption)
That spin class? Yeah so your fit bit says you burned 550 – but that’s it. No mas once you get off that damn bike
Reason #4 Once your body gets what to do. It stops changing AKA: SAID Principle
Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand
So yes that 3 mile run around Greenlake used to kick your but and burn over 400 cals. Now you’re lucky if it’s burning 200 and remember – those calories stop once you stop moving.
So if you’ve been hitting that same elliptical, rowing machine, aerobic class before work for more than 6 weeks, you’re burning way less calories when you started and you just may be holding onto body fat .
Now this applies to ANYTHING!! not just in the gym.. but life as well- If you’re using the exact same skills at work – your brain is working half as hard as it used to, right? So even if you have a killer lifting routine – if you’re been rocking it for more than 5-6 weeks- you’re getting waaaaay less out of it- not building as much muscle or burning as many calories as when you started that routing
Reason #5 You’re beating up your joints and your back
Completely. Impact over long periods of time is super no bueno for your body. It causes joint damage and mineral loss. See when you land on each foot – every joint down that limb recieves FOUR TIMES your body weight. That means my 130 lb body was putting 520 lbs of weight on my hip, knee, ankle and foot every freakin time I landed a step – how many steps are in 7 miles.. please never tell me! Also your spine gets those reverberating shocks all the way up to your neck – ever seen a marathoner with a super strong and healthy back? Yeah me neither
Here’s what to do:
Don’t get bummed.
I totally get this. Running used to be the way I checked out, pounded out my stress and got my monkey brain to let go. I get this. THis can be an emotional hit.
Instead take on longer walks, decrease the stress and impact on your body, catch up with a friend, get some awesome learning or entertainment ( I love Brene Brown’s books OR David Sedaris) through podcasts or audible
Stop the cardio that lasts for over 10 mins at a time.
Seriously – Just knock it off. If youre a busy adult that wants your body to change you’re slowly torturing yourself.
Keep your workouts to 3-5 exercises, 4-12 reps max and 4-6 sets. Do 3-4 sessions a week ANNND change them up at least every 4-6 weeks
Yup you’ll dramatically cut down your gym time too! How about more time do other cool things you love in life
Hire a good trainer to keep your body learning new skills + keep you from getting injured. LOOK for these certs
NSCA, ACSM, NASM, SFG. SFB, SFL
WHile you’re at it – make sure you’re taking 1-2 rest days. You can roll, stretch, take a YIN or Hatha yoga class, take an ‘effing bath and listen to some music!