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Training & Nutrition Insider Secrets for a Lean Body
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Training & Nutrition Insider Secrets for a Lean-Body
2.1 Bad Cardio vs. Good Cardio
It is common to hear fitness professionals and medical doctors prescribe low to
moderate intensity aerobic training (cardio) to people who are trying to prevent
heart disease or lose weight. Most often, the recommendations constitute
something along the lines of “perform 30-60 minutes of steady pace cardio 3-5
times per week maintaining your heart rate at a moderate level”. Before you just
give in to this popular belief and become the “hamster on the wheel” doing endless
hours of boring cardio, I’d like you to consider some recent scientific research that
indicates that steady pace endurance cardio work may not be all it’s cracked up to
First, realize that our bodies are designed to perform physical activity in bursts of
exertion followed by recovery, or stop-and-go movement instead of steady state
movement. Recent research is suggesting that physical variability is one of the
most important aspects to consider in your training. This tendency can be seen
throughout nature as animals almost always demonstrate stop-and-go motion
instead of steady state motion. In fact, humans are the only creatures in nature
that attempt to do “endurance” type physical activities. Most competitive sports
(with the exception of endurance running or cycling) are also based on stop-and-go
movement or short bursts of exertion followed by recovery. To examine an
example of the different effects of endurance or steady state training versus stop-
and-go training, consider the physiques of marathoners versus sprinters. Most
sprinters carry a physique that is very lean, muscular, and powerful looking, while
the typical dedicated marathoner is more often emaciated and sickly looking. Now
which would you rather resemble?
Another factor to keep in mind regarding the benefits of physical variability is the
internal effect of various forms of exercise on our body. Scientists have known that
excessive steady state endurance exercise (different for everyone, but sometimes
defined as greater than 60 minutes per session most days of the week) increases
free radical production in the body, can degenerate joints, reduces immune