If you’re looking to achieve maximal benefit from the time you put into your workouts, long duration “slow-go” cardio is NOT the way to go, and for many reasons. Here are 5 reasons why they suck and 4 studies that support this basis.
Many people across gym today are still stuck doing long duration, low-intensity cardiovascular exercises, yikes!
Here’s the deal: if you’re looking to achieve maximal benefit from the time you put into your workouts, long duration “slow-go” cardio is NOT the way to go, and for many reasons.
Here are my top 5:
1. Minimal calories burned.
45 minutes on the treadmill may burn a whopping 300 calories if you’re lucky, the equivalent of ONE TENTH of a pound of fat. Exercise ten hours a week and you might just lose a pound!
Which brings me to my next point:
2. Way too much time involved.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have hours and hours of my time to pour into working out each week.
In fact, very rarely do I ever a couple hours of exercise weekly, and you know what?
That’s ALL you need. In fact, research has shown that anything more than 90 mins a week may be detrimental! (more info here)
Beyond that, slow-go cardio is:
3. BORING as heck.
Sitting on an exercise bike staring at the wall in front of me for 45- 60 minutes? No thanks.
But perhaps even worse is the fact that slow-go cardio provides:
4. No prolonged metabolic benefits.
Did you know that with higher intensity exercise it is possible to continue to burn calories for up to 48 hours post workout?
It’s true. But you know what else is true?
Long duration, low intensity cardio provides virtually NO prolonged elevation in metabolism.
In fact, with slow-go cardio, metabolism returns to baseline almost IMMEDIATELY following the exercise session.
And finally, the reason that trumps all the others:
5. Minimal fat loss.
Minimal calories burned during the session and virtually no additional calories burned afterward = minimal, if any fat loss results.
And let’s be honest, the only reason anyone is doing cardio is for the “result”.
So if slow-go cardio isn’t a great solution, what is?
The Research on SHORT, intense workouts or HIIT:
As mentioned above, “slow go” cardio is OLD news and extremely ineffective when compared to short-burst intense exercise, and here are a few of studies to support this that my buddy Alwyn Cosgrove passed along:
Schuenke MD, Mikat RP, McBride JM.
Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management.
Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002 Mar;86(5):411-7. Epub 2002 Jan 29.
In this study a 30-minute circuit style resistance training session was put to the test.
The result was a 38 hour increase in metabolism ñ massive AFTERBURN.
Let’s put this in perspective: Say that you worked out at 8AM on Friday. By way of short- burst, intense exercise, you’d still be burning calories from that workout while out at the movies on Saturday night.
You want to burn calories by watching Iron Man 3? Now you can.
Kramer, Volek et al.
Influence of exercise training on physiological and performance changes with weight loss in men.
Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 31, No. 9, pp. 1320-1329, 1999.
This study showed that those who added short burst intense exercise to a reduced calorie diet burned up to 44% more fat than those who dieted alone.
Don’t get me wrong, diet is the NUMBER ONE component of the fat loss puzzle, but once you’ve got that down, short burst intense workouts can really take your results to a whole new level.
Bryner RW, Ullrich IH, Sauers J, Donley D, Hornsby G, Kolar M, Yeater R.
Effects of resistance vs. aerobic training combined with an 800 calorie liquid diet on lean body mass and resting metabolic rate.
J Am Coll Nutr. 1999 Apr;18(2):115-21.
This study compared slow-go aerobic exercise to short burst intense resistance training and found that the resistance group lost significantly more fat without losing ANY lean muscle even at an extremely low calorie intake (not so for the aerobic group).
In fact, believe it or not, while the aerobic group experienced a decrease in metabolism (and lost muscle), the resistance training group actually increased overall metabolic rate.
THAT’S the power of short-burst resistance training, and it doesn’t require much work at all.
If cardio is not the answer for faster weight loss, then what is?
Research Has Proven That ALL You Need Is A 4 Minute Technique To Improve Fitness Levels and Lose 9 Times More Belly Fat Than Running, Jogging, Cycling or Any Other Traditional Exercise.
Plus: On The Following Page You’ll Discover The Shocking Reason Why Losing Fat Requires Unlocking This One Chemical Compound Stored Deep Within Your Fat Cells.