Cardio is usually the answer when you ask anyone how to lose weight. But that is not necessarily correct. That is one of many harsh truths about cardio you will learn by spending a few minutes reading this article.
Cardio does not have to be boring, but it also does not have to be the answer to everything. There are some things nobody tells you about cardio and that is what Max Posternak set out to do.
Max Posternak is the founder of Gravity Transformation, a website focused on giving tips and training guidance for people looking to improve their fitness and lose weight. His YouTube channel has over 5 million subscribers.
Check out his arguments about 8 harsh truths about cardio below.
8 Harsh Truths About Cardio
1. You Don’t Burn As Many Calories As You Think
Many people believe that you burn more calories from cardio compared to strength training, but research tells us otherwise. This research compared 30 minutes of HIIT, 30 minutes of weight training and 30 minutes of a steady-state cardio workout. What did it find out? There was no difference in energy expenditure between weight training and steady-state cardio.
2. Cardio Can Cause Constrained Energy Expenditure
Doing cardio tends to lower cardio expenditure in the hours after you’re done with the cardio. A study from 2011 showed that if you burn more of one substrate during a cardio session, you’ll burn less of it over the next 24 hours.
3. Cardio Is Not That Beneficial For Fat Loss
This is one of those harsh truths about cardio that we don’t want to believe in.
According to Posternak, cardio can be beneficial for heart health, endurance and overall health, but if your sole goal is to lose weight, cardio is not the most effective option.
A meta-analysis of 14 studies that involved over 1840 overweight and obese people found that cardio was not very effective for weight loss. “Isolated aerobic exercise is not an effective weight loss therapy,” the study concluded.
Diet is the solution to losing weight, as this other meta-analysis concluded, even if you don’t do cardio you are likely to lose as much weight as dieting with cardio.
4. Cardio Can Reduce Your Strength Gains
Losing fat by doing more and more cardio, rather than focusing on your diet, will likely lead to a reduction in the amount of strength you gain from your workouts.
5. Cardio Can Impair Muscle Growth
A meta-analysis looked at the effects of combining cardio and resistance training on muscle growth. Scientists found that adding cardio to a resistance training routine reduced muscle growth effect size by 39%.
However, it’s not all terrible, as Posternak says there are some flaws in the analysis as they were looking at lower body strength gains being diminished when combined with lower body forms of cardio.
6. There Is Not Fat Burning Zone In Cardio
Some people still believe that to lose weight you should do cardio at a low-intensity rate that will put you in the so-called “fat burning zone.” The idea that low-intensity cardio will burn fat instead of carbs is wrong.
7. Fasted Cardio Won’t Burn More Fat
Doing cardio in a fasted state does use fat for fuel, but that during your cardio session does not equate to more fat loss overall. You can burn more calories at the moment, but you will burn less calories in the next 24 hours.
Your metabolism compensates for the enhanced fat burning during that fasted cardio.
8. Doing More and More Cardio Might Shorten Your Lifespan
Lastly in Posternak’s list of harsh truths about cardio is that doing too much cardio often can actually shorten your lifespan. But this is not something most people have to worry about, because it tends to be more geared toward extreme marathon runners.
If you want to know more arguments from Posternak’s harsh truths about cardio, check out his video below.