7 Feb

Personal Trainer Liverpool Street Gym Client in EC3 talks about cardio

Personal Trainer Liverpool Street Gym Gavin Gillibrand provides his perspective on cardio in response to his client 


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 "Cardio sucks" said one of my clients.  "As long as we don't have to do lots of running and sitting on the bike, I will be happy, " she said.  My client had been told that to burn fat effectively, she would need to do lots of cardio, hence her comment.  The look on her face was priceless when I told her we wouldn't set foot on a treadmill and that the stationary cycle would be gathering dust.

"The most effective way to burn body fat is with heavy weight training," I said.  "We will also incorporate exercises like weighted sled pushes/pulls and heavy farmers walk into your programme. These exercises are highly anabolic".

I explained that these exercises recruit lots of muscle fibres within the large muscle groups and release anabolic hormones like testosterone and IGF-1. This means they will promote muscle mass and strength, and in turn, burn a lot of body fat.  I also assured her that she wouldn't get "bulky" and that this was just a myth.   This is opposed to "traditional cardio" that many use to try and burn fat. Things like the cross trainer, stepper, the treadmill and aerobic based classes which can be catabolic in nature. Catabolism is a metabolic pathway where the body breaks down muscle tissue and uses this as a source of energy.

Even Jay, one of the PT's at the studio agrees:

There is a time and place for low intensity aerobic activity like long walks, and if you have an injury, you need to be careful, but the majority of the cardio performed in the gyms across the world is not effective. It may be fun, but it's not effective.

"Farmers walk and the sled, like the strongmen in world's strongest man?, she said.  "The very same", I said.  For those that don't know, the farmers walk involves picking up two heavy dumbbells or kettle bells and just walking, usually for time or distance. It's a fantastic exercise that uses every muscle in the body and really taxes the cardio-respiratory system. This basically means heart and lungs.

Let me make one thing clear here. Please don't think I have a problem with cardio. I actually enjoy running myself and go every Sunday. But when I get to the park, I will sprint for 20 minutes.  Running doesn't suck.  Cardio doesn't suck.  Ineffective, waste of time cardio sucks.

Effective, modified strongman, cardio based activities can be very useful in the fat loss arsenal, for both men and women.  Focus on exercises that use 2, 3 or more muscles at the same time, exercises that really give a "bang for your buck".

As always, work harder on your nutrition than you do in the gym for accelerated results.


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