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is your cardio workout making you fat?




Roy Buri – Deitingen/Schweiz – Pixabay

Are you interested in losing weight? Then you should cut back on classic cardiovascular exercise. Shun it, even. Abolish it. Throw out your treadmill or better yet, give it to someone you don’t like as cardio doesn’t work if your goal is long-term weight loss.
I recently got an email from Helen in response to my PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME PAGE.  “Thank you so much! So informative and completely explains the type of pain I’ve been feeling.  I walk 10+ miles a day and I’ve been hurting like crazy. I couldn’t explain it, but this article does the job for me.”  I am not picking on Helen, but what is she doing walking (or running for that matter) over ten miles a day?  Believe it or not, I run into this situation more frequently than you might imagine.  There are many problems associated with this approach to exercise.  With Jim’s help, I will tackle a couple of them today.

Jim Karas used to have a weight problem.  Today he is a celebrity trainer who has several best selling books under his belt besides a regular guest on numerous TV programs — including the Dr. Oz Show.  Last week he wrote an article for Yahoo called, “Is Your Exercise Making You Fat?“.  I surely don’t agree with everything Jim espouses (one article about a day in his life had him drinking DIET COKE for BREAKFAST), but as far as this topic goes, he largely hit the nail on the head with his article.  The quote at the top of the page was taken from the first paragraph of his article. 

Some of you like to run for the sake of running.  Far be it from me to discourage you.  Just be aware that there are some serious myths floating around about the benefits of running / Cardio Training (I wrote about some of these in depth in my numerous posts filed under CARDIO TRAINING -vs- STRENGTH TRAINING).  Jim’s biggest beef with using Cardio Training as a weight loss tool is that it causes the loss of lean body mass —– i.e. muscle tissue.  According to the scientific literature, he is correct.  Why would anyone perform exercise that is known to make you lose muscle mass when muscle mass is so tough to acquire in the first place?  They buy into all those old WEIGHT LOSS MYTHS.

I have always heard that after the age of 30, people are losing 10% of their muscle mass per decade for the rest of their life —- unless they are actively and specifically doing something to combat it (and as is usually the case, women are affected by this phenomenon significantly more than men).  How do you combat this muscle loss?  There is only one real way —- STRENGTH OR RESISTANCE TRAINING.  You see; loss of lean body mass presents an ugly metabolic dilemma once you realize that muscle burns more energy at rest than does an equal amount of fat — far more energy. 

Why is this weight gain happening? It’s simple—muscle loss. When you lose muscle, your metabolism is destroyed.  You are also decimating your metabolism by dieting without exercise or dieting with cardio. Your successful weight loss formula is dieting plus strength training. Period.

He is absolutely correct here.   This quote then begs the question of what sort of diet you should be eating for weight loss. It is essentially the same base diet I would recommend for gaining weight as well.  You need to be eating a LOW CARB diet based on WHOLE FOODS, that will not only CONTROL YOUR BLOOD SUGAR, but is non-reactive as well (HERE).  Although some of you will get away with eating a wider variety of foods, non-reactivity is a concept that is absolutely critical for people with CHRONIC ILLNESSES.  The sort of eating that best promotes all of this leans towards PALEO

Are you interested in gaining weight? If you are, perform cardiovascular exercise, and a lot it.

Besides the weight issue, Jim goes on to talk about some of the other problems associated with Cardio Training.  These range from postural issues to JOINT POUNDING, along with several others.  He touches on a big one in a round about way.  Running, he says, actually weakens the Immune System.  He is correct you know.  Much of this has to do with the fact that the peer-reviewed research is showing that Cardio Training seriously stimulates the ADRENAL GLANDS.   While this is not all bad, it provides an addictive factor to Cardio Training along with a big shot of Cortisol —- a stress hormone that among other things makes weight loss difficult to impossible by causing people to gain BELLY FAT.

You never want to worry about the calories you burn during exercise. More important are the calories burned after exercise, called EPOC (Excess, Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption). You get up to 38 hours of EPOC from interval-based strength training.

This is a great point that I have made on numerous occasions.  For some reason, Resistance Training / Strength Training boosts your metabolism long after you are finished exercising.  And while Interval Training (sprints) has the ability to change your body’s shape, true Cardio Training will not do this.  If you want to sculpt your body, you need to spend a half hour in the gym several times a week or be TRAINING AT HOME.   Here is another WEIGHT LOSS post.

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