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Cardio and Weight Training

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  • Cardio and Weight Training

    I watched this discussion on cardio between Eric Helms and Omar on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpjZCp6lX24 . A lot of interesting angles. I will give my thoughts on four of the topics they discussed.

    1. Three distinct motivations for performing cardio work: They three motivations for cardio 1) Treating cardio as a sport 2) To lose weight 3) For general overall health.

    In terms of treating it as a sport, you have to train it hard. I treated running as a sport from 2010 to 2018 and your gains from training diminish quickly. As a sport its a lot like lifting where you get big novice gains, but as you get better it becomes hard to improve and requires a lot of dedication.

    If you are going to use it lose weight, Eric Helms said it was easy to overestimate the effects it has on weight loss. It does aid weight loss and if people went into cardio sessions with realistic expectations there would be no issue, but people expect to much out of it in terms of altering the calories in/calories out equation. That said it discretely helps weight loss by helping to regulate your appetite.

    For overall health, if you get out of breath easily, cardio will improve your quality of life.

    2. Constrained model of energy: I had heard of this concept but this video may have been the first time I heard the concept discussed in a more technical way. The idea is that sometimes if we do more cardio to burn calories sometimes we do less activity the rest of day and we end up negating the cardio we did. Helms mentioned two variables that at least seem to have some effect on this phenomena. The first variable is the amount of calories burned during the cardio session. The less calories that were burned the more likely the body is to be able to compensate. If you go on a 30 minute walk and burn 150 calories its a lot more likely your body can compensate by doing less activity to negate the 150 calories burned than if you run 10 miles and burn 1200 calories. Your body may compensate in the run case by doing 300 calories less of activity during the rest of the day but that would still leave you a net 900 burn. The other variable is how well nourished you are. It seems that if you are well nourished the body is less likely to try to conserve energy than if you are not well nourished.

    3. Interference: Cardio definitely interferes with strength and hypertrophy (though surprisingly more with strength than hypertrophy) according to Helms. There are lots of variables involved:

    1. Impact: Lower impact exercises have a smaller interference as they are less fatiguing
    2. Concretic/eccentric: Concentric focused exercises like cycling having a smaller interference effect than say running which has both a concentric and eccentric portion.
    3. Order of exercise: In terms of performance during the workout you should weight lift first so you have a good weight lifting session. However he only addressed how the other activity could affect the performance of the activity and not recovery.----I wish I could pose a question. Whats more important--getting a slightly better workout in or getting better recovery after a slightly lesser workout?
    4. Timing: The more spaced out the two activities are the less they interfere with each other.

    4. Best type
    Low effort: eg. walking
    Moderate effort: e.g. jogging
    High effort: HIIT

    They all have adavantages and disadvantages but I got the sense that Helms thought you got the best bang for your buck with moderate efforts like jogging, or the elliptical, or cycling at an effort that gets your heartrate up to at least 65% of its max. Low effort cardio like walking is the least fatiguing and has the smallest interference effect but simply doesn't burn a lot of calories if fat loss is an important goal. HIIT can burn the most calories in any given unit of time, but has to be done in potentially shorter durations and is by far the most fatiguing. Moderate efforts can be done for long amounts of time and realistically are the best option for burning calories to lose fat.

    How do you guys fit cardio into your strength training planning and what are your motivations for performing cardio? Other thoughts?
    Last edited by philibusters; 05-15-2020, 05:00 PM.

  • #2
    I was doing moderate intensity steady state on a bike machine for 15-20minutes 1-2/week on off days. Now that gyms are closed I don't do any cardio. I pretty much agree with everything Eric and Omar said. I think the negative effect on strength and hypertrophy is reduced by doing cardio after lifting, rather than before lifting. I think a similar amount of recovery resources are dedicated to recovering from the cardio either way, and it is advantageous to perform the lifting session with less fatigue.

    Also, I've occasionally opted for the elliptical and, going at an easy pace, it tells me I'm burning over 1000kcal/hour... BS

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