Can You Lose Weight Working Out 3 Times A Week The Dark Side of Cardio

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The Dark Side of Cardio

Does cardio have a downside? But everyone says cardio is the best exercise method for weight loss. So what’s the deal?

I recently received a letter from a woman who discovered that good old cardio has a bit of a hidden, darker side.

***

Craig,

I saw an orthopedist today and he noticed a few things that would be causing my hip pain (which improved with light exercise). One of my legs seems to be longer than the other. And when I increased my cardio times (to try to get more results) the difference started to “come out” and resulted in hip pain….

***

She learned her lesson the hard way.

When someone with a small injury or biomechanical defect does the same activity over and over again (like the thousands of reps you do in cardio), they’re going to hurt you every time.

Why are you runners still at the physical therapist? Or why do people always get injured when they go from being sedentary to doing cardio 3 times a week?

Do you think I’m full of it? Well, I’m not the only one with this opinion. We need to turn to the words of Alwyn Cosgrove for an even better explanation…

CB: Alwyn, where do you start working with an overweight person?

AC:

With full lifestyle and structural assessment. Typically an overweight person has so little structural integrity that my first approach is a training program that targets their weaknesses and imbalances. By manipulating the rest periods, I can always get a cardio workout without the overuse injuries that often occur in the untrained.

Research (Jones et al., Sports Med. 18(3): 202-214, 1994) has shown that the intensity required of the average sedentary person trying to improve their cardiovascular system is likely to cause excessive structural overload—in fact, in this study, 50-90% injury rate in the first six weeks of training.

Interestingly, a typical program for an overweight person is usually 1000 reps (ie aerobics) which will cause more problems.

A better system would be to focus on the muscular system and control the set durations and rest times to create the same metabolic and cardiovascular demand.

***

Yeah, cardio is like good water torture…because the pressure when applied over time will always break you. Even this woman’s doctor said intervals were the best for her preparation.

So prime your muscles with strength training (bodyweight exercises performed on the floor) and low-volume interval training (performed at a slightly harder than normal cardio pace) rather than jumping into hard aerobics for fat loss. If you have good nutrition, you will lose as much or more fat with this approach than with cardio classes. Nutrition is more important than exercise for beginners.

Train smart and train safe!

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