Thanks so much everyone who read our first blog, we promise to keep it coming while people want the info! Even got a few emails from people I have never met asking about it all. Good to know this stuff is getting to the people who need it most.
This week we are going to tackle another contentious topic - CARDIO. This is another field where people carry a whole bunch of misconceptions and biases. Not to mention everyone seems to be an expert on it too... This probably spouts from it's general philosophy being quite easy to understand - basically if you do long bouts of cardio you are burning large amounts of calories and therefore if you eat low calories you must be losing fat right? Not really... Along with my misguided views on carbs I used to believe the above philosophy. Seems pretty hard to argue with doesn't it? I used to have clients eating around 1000 calories a day and burning easily 1200 a day through their exercise and they still didn't lose weight. Mathematically that makes no sense!! I thought these clients were breaking their diets, just like many PT's. If you ask any PT they will tell you that calories in and calories out dieting starts well and then gets extremely slow and eventually stops working (provided they are not full of it). But defiantly many of us continue to hit the treadmills, classes, swimming pools etc etc etc aiming to train as long as humanly possible with the intention of losing weight. We all know that person who is "big" despite their massive cardio output each week.
A study done at the University of California tested female runners doing 54km a week against another group of women doing no cardio. They had the energy intake (food consumption) the same for both groups, the group doing no running were outputting roughly the same calories in their day to day living as they were consuming and the group doing 54km a week were expending roughly 2700 Kj/d more then they were consuming. Both groups maintained their weight throughout! This is pretty difficult for most people to comprehend so they even checked if perhaps the running group were compensating their energy out by lowering their activity levels between jogs perhaps by being tired from it all, but day to day energy out was found to be the same in both groups!
Data like that slides in perfectly with all the stuff I was experiencing as a young PT and I am sure many other people reading might find this study coincides with their own cardio experiences. So the question many of you might be pondering is "what else then?" And my answer is sprint training. Now those of you who are doing general interval training, please don't get that mixed up with this! Sprint training is exactly that... SPRINT training. 1 minute fast with 1 minute slow on the treadmill is NOT sprinting! No one on earth can sprint for 1 minute! If you can sprint for 1 minute, please forgive my rash statement, and then immediately sign yourself up to some 800m races, because the next Olympics and new world records await you! That aside, the reason I so passionately recommend sprint training is because of a little thing called science. Sprint training has been shown time and time again to increase our post exercise metabolic rates enormously plus our RMR (resting metabolic rate) increases too! Steady state cardio on the other hand gets a slight bump in post workout metabolic speed while RMR decreases. Not to mention most steady state cardio is coupled with low carb dieting, now that is a cocktail for Metabolic Damage!
Before finishing I want to give a big thank you to Dr Layne Norton and Joey Zinghini for helping me form much of these views, their coaching has helped me become a better trainer but most importantly has helped my clients!
In closing, I am not bagging out runners or swimmers etc they are all commendable sports like any other, but they are just not optimal choices for people wanting fat loss. I AM however bagging out any professional who starves their clients and makes them run and walk for hours, you Sir/Madam need to retire.