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Why Cardio is Over-Rated
You can look lean, mean and even shredded without it. It might even be hurting you.
By Courtney Krueger / www.TrainEatLive.com
Oh, the cardio craze; it's all around us! You see these "cardio crazies" everywhere: sprinting through your neighborhood, biking up steep hills, and racing to keep up with the insanely fast pace of the treadmill at the gym. They have a determined look in their eye and sweat pouring down their face. Their mascot is the energizer bunny and they attempt to keep going and going and going.But the question is, are they going somewhere, or are they just "running" around in circles? (and wasting battery power) While cardio is important and offers calorie torching and cardiovascular health benefits, it is not the answer to every fitness question. You MUST incorporate strength training into your work out routine to obtain the strongest results.

I was once told by a fitness instructor that if you could either do only cardio or weight lifting for one year, you should lift the weight. This confused me since I was also told that muscles can't be seen without blasting the fat that covers them through cardio. But then I discovered the irony; what really blasts this fat into oblivion? Muscle! Strength training starts a fire in our muscles that continuously burns fat. It keeps our metabolisms aflame, resulting in sustained long term weight. Think of it this way; a pound of muscle burns more calories than a pound of fat. Therefore, the more muscle we carry means the more calories we'll burn even when doing.nothing! That should get you to the lifting bench!

Now that we understand the fundamentals of weight training, let's examine why cardio should be limited for a certain gym-going posse: the hard core lifters and body builders. When these buff bros enter the gym, their blood sugar is up, and their energy storage is stable. If they were to immediately join the "cardio crazies" on the treadmill, they would exert potent energy and use up stored glycogen. This would have a negative effect on their lifting routine, hindering muscle overload. Actually, they should only do cardio about two or three times a week at low intensity. Cardio burns calories that their muscle mass depends on to be built. If they're concerned about gaining fat, they should take it up with their kitchen not the stair master. Their diet will determine whether they collect the weight they're not looking to gain.

What about the people who aren't looking to gain; what about women? You see women running from the weight room all the time, as if it's going to bite them. They make up the majority of the "cardio crazy" population since many are frightened by a dumbbell. Why? Because it will bulk them up and make them bigger. Wrong!!! This is an ironic fear because weight lifting will only make them smaller, firing up their fat burning machine and increasing lean body mass. And their DNA and genetic make-up will prevent them from ever resembling a bodybuilder. Everyone will benefit from a strength training regimen, so get out there and lift those weights! Then you can burn calories by not lifting a finger!

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