F & F: Cardio
All month this month I have been talking about keeping your ticker working and giving you guys tips and tricks from foods to exercise to maintaining you’re a healthy happy heart. This week I am going to dive into an exercise that is and has been taboo for such a long time that even I had believed the hype about it up until my eyes were opened by an old mentor of mine who has passed on a few years ago.
This topic that I am going to talk about is cardio. Cardio has been taught to us by every exercise professional in the industry that it burns calories, burns muscle, is an aerobic exercise, is not good to do when trying to build muscle, it helps burn fat, it is associated with movements such as walking, skiing (of all sorts), running, swimming, cycling, rowing, and any other active movements that do not include traditional "weight barring" exercises, I use that term very loosely, so weight lifting is not cardio.
So, what so all the above terms and statements mean? How did all these "exercise professionals" come to determine those specific conclusions? This month’s Fact and Fiction will not only define the above terms and explain some of the myths surrounding those statements but also, hopefully, clear up the fog that these so-called professionals have created and make things just a little bit clearer for you.
So, let's get started and start defining these wonderful terms listed above, shall we!
We will begin with defining the term cardio,
Cardio. Is short form term for the word cardiovascular, which means:
"of, relating to, or affecting the heart and blood vessels" - Dictionary.com
So basically, cardio refers to the system that affects the heart, lungs, veins, and arteries and everything that it is connected to.
Fiction: Working out with weights doesn't affect cardio.
Fact: Just with the definition from above we can deduce that any external load placed on the body affects the cardiovascular system because the veins and arteries are interconnected into our muscles to provide the proper vitamins, and nutrients to feed our hungry muscles.
Next, I want to define the term aerobic.
Aerobic simply means with oxygen, so doing exercise with oxygen can be said as aerobic exercise.
Anaerobic simply means without oxygen so doing exercises with no oxygen means you are doing an anaerobic exercise. I know that is very complicated stuff!
Fiction: Working out with weights is an anaerobic exercise, not an aerobic exercise.
Fact: Whenever you breathe and conduct any movement that places an exertion on your body you are doing an aerobic exercise. The only time you are doing anaerobic workouts is when you are holding your breath for long periods of time, such as snorkeling without a snorkel, your body starts to go into an anaerobic phase while you are underwater and when you surface again your body goes back to an aerobic state.
And lastly, I am going to tackle the last three all in one kind of thing.
Calories is simply a measure of energy. Muscle is comprised of elastic tissue that made up of protein filaments that allow us to control and move joints (in short). Fat is stored energy that your body will use at a later date, and helps with repair of your body.
Fiction: The more calories you burn the more fat you burn. And you don't want to run too much because you will start to burn muscle.
Fact: As I said before Calories are simply a measure that we use to measure energy output so if you are on the treadmill and expend 120 Calories you just used 120 J of energy or 120V, for the engineers out there. Now, when it comes down to burning the macro nutrients there is a lot more confusion. To clear this up you use Carbs right away and last up to 30 secs, then fat up to 2 hrs., and after 2 hrs. you use protein (or muscle). We never, ever want to be in the protein burn. Ever!
When it comes down to the movements named above, let's pick on running, what you are doing is an aerobic exercise but you are placing a load on it and resistance as well so you are getting a resistance workout just not as intense as you would in the gym working out with weights.
That pretty much sums it up and I hope I cleared up some of fog that most trainers out there have put out to confuse not only themselves but the general public as well.