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  1. There is a new trend that Instagram fitness gurus seem to be really embracing right now: Outrightly bashing cardio. Now it's because either they have little to no knowledge of training or they want to speak against the norm for the sake of grabbing attention. If your goal is to look aesthetically pleasing, you want to have muscle and lose fat as well. When both these things are nailed down, you get that physique you have always wanted. There was this study in 2012 that studied exactly the same. They took some men who wanted to lose fat and split them into three groups: 1. Group A did only cardio 2. Group B did only weight training 3. Group C did weight training and some cardio The study was done over the course of 8 months and this is what the research found: 1. The cardio group lost the most amount of weight. Along with this group, the weight training and cardio group also lost a similar amount of weight. © Getty Images With this, we can say that doing just cardio or doing a combination of weight training and cardio is good to lose weight. Cardio is the common factor here in training styles. 2. The weight training group did not lose as much weight but they built some lean muscle mass over the course of the study. The group that did weight training and cardio also gained some lean muscle mass over the course of the study. With this, we can say that doing weight training or doing a combination of weight training and cardio is good for gaining muscle. Weight training is the common factor in this case. Looking at this, you probably may think that if you want to gain muscle, you just need to do weight training and if you want to lose fat, you just need to do tonnes of cardio. Sadly, this is the reality in most gyms. Uneducated trainers who think binary and in a single-dimension approach training this way. Let's look at the benefits of weight training along with muscle building: 1. It improves bone density 2. It reduces sarcopenia or even reverses it 3. It protects your bones and joints 4. It makes you more functional Similarly, the benefits of doing cardio: 1. It improves heart health 2. It improves your endurance 3. It makes you more functional Though there are downsides of doing too much cardio, neglecting it altogether is plain stupid. The key point most people miss out here is 'too much' cardio. © Getty Images Sure, you can get jacked without doing any cardio but how good is that when you climb two floors of stairs and are panting? Oh, and the improved endurance would have a carryover effect to your lifting too. So how much cardio should you do and when should you do it? Typically, these are my recommendations as a coach: When To Do It? Post-workout or outside the gym and away from your weight lifting. This is to ensure you do not deplete your glycogen doing cardio and are fresh enough to do your best when lifting weights. How Much To Do? Depends on the style of cardio you are doing. You can do low-intensity cardio for more time or high-intensity cardio for a shorter time. If you are a beginner or weigh a lot, do low-intensity cardio as that will minimize the risk of injury. Low-intensity cardio - 3 to 4 sessions per week of around 30 minutes. High-intensity cardio - 2 to 3 sessions of 15 to 20 minutes each. So, stop following the cardio-bashers and do some cardio if you want to look aesthetically pleasing. Author Bio: Pratik Thakkar is the co-founder and director of GetSetGo Fitness, an online fitness company and the founder of Mars Nutrition, a nutrition supplement company. Both his companies are geared towards providing you with the right information and products without any false or fake claims. You can reach out to him at pratik@getsetgo.fitness and follow him on Instagram.
  2. Once you've decided and made up your mind that you are going to lose some fat this summer, a particularly tricky question is bound to pop up in your mind. Should You Do Cardio Or Lift More Weights To Burn More Body Fat? You will get lots of random information for this question with some weird logic attached to them. So, to solve this problem for you I am going to give you the correct answer with a logical explanation. Which Form Will Burn More Number Calories For You? The first thing you need to understand for fat loss is that you need to create a deficit in your daily calorie intake. This deficit can be created in two ways, first is to reduce the number of calorie intake and second is to increase the number of calories burned. Right now, I am just going to talk about the second one. To burn more calories you will have to work out for at least 5-6 days in a week. Now, what should you choose as a medium of exercise, cardio or weights? Let me tell you something that will help you to make the choice easier. You will burn more calories in a single session of cardio exercise as compared to a single session of weight training. via GIPHY Now I am sure that you would be thinking that cardio is a clear choice as it will help you to burn more calories per session. Well, here is what you missed. Though cardio will burn a number of calories for you inside the gym once you step outside it is weight training that will help you more. When you do resistance training, your body will start building muscles which will have a greater impact on your metabolic rate than cardio alone. Cardio Alone Could Create Problems Trying to lose weight by performing only cardio session may prove to be really harmful to you in the long run. People who try to reduce their weight quickly using cardio exercises are the ones who later on complain about having loose skin. They lose fat but their skin becomes loose and soggy. People who weight train are able to build muscles and thus their chances of having loose skin after fat loss becomes less. Secondly, long duration cardio sessions multiple times a week are going to cost you dear on the joints. People who perform long runs of treadmill almost every day complain about having knee and other joint pains. And thirdly, cardio alone could also lead to muscles loss and chronic fatigue. © Getty Images What Should You Do? You will find people out there who will bash cardio completely. They will tell you that stepping on a treadmill is like a sin inside the gym. Here's my perspective as a coach: Cardio can be included in your workout program if you plan it smartly. Your first priority should always be to train every muscle group with weights at least once a week. Now if you still have some time left that you can spend in the gym, you may include a couple of small cardio sessions every week. These sessions can be included to build up good endurance stamina as well. The way you like to balance it is your personal choice, but yes, resistance training should always be your priority. Anuj Tyagi, author of this article, is a Certified Sports Nutritionist and Therapeutic Exercise Specialist from American Council on Exercise (ACE). Now an Online Health Coach, he is also a Chartered Accountant by education. You can connect with him through Instagram on:- https://www.instagram.com/sixpacktummy_anuj/
  3. Here, I said it. Do not tell me you have never felt the same. As a die-hard fan of weight training, if I were to pick from one of the two, I would always go with the weights. I am pretty sure most bros who go to the gym would say the same. But at times, cardio is the necessary evil. Especially, when you are on a cut and want abs to show up, the extra cardio helps. What if I told you that you could do cardio by lifting weights? Sounds awesome and crazy at the same time, right? © Pixabay MRT Well, it is not. There is a training style popularly known as Metabolic Resistance Training aka MRT, which is technically lifting weights in a cardio fashion. It is basically circuit training that you do by lifting weights. Studies have shown that it can be as good as or even more beneficial than traditional cardio in terms of burning calories. It is pretty intense and can be used as a finisher 2-3x per week after your training session or these can be standalone sessions by itself. How Do You Do Them? You pick 4 to 5 exercises and do each one after the other in a circuit fashion. These exercises have to be done with minimal to no rest between sets. Once you complete the circuit, rest for 1-3 minutes as needed and start another circuit. You can do 2 to 3 such circuits. © Pixabay Like I have mentioned above, you could either do it after a traditional weight training session or as a standalone session. If you are doing it as a cardio routine following a traditional weight training session, here are a few pointers to keep in mind. 1. Pick mostly isolation exercises. 2. Pick the same muscle groups as your training session to avoid overall fatigue. 3. Use higher repetition ranges, aka in the 12 to 20+ range. 4. Pick a lesser number of exercises. 5. Keep the rest periods short between circuits (if possible). For example, if you did a push day involving your chest, shoulder, and triceps, you could follow this circuit 1. Pec Dec/Cable flyes - 12 to 15 reps 2. Lateral raises - 12 to 15 reps 3. Tricep pushdowns - 12 to 15 reps 4. Face pulls - 15 to 20 reps You could do these for 2 to 3 circuits with 1-minute rest between the circuits. It will give you a slick burn and a pump post workout and help you burn a few extra calories. If you are doing it as a standalone session, here are a few pointers to keep in mind. 1. Pick mostly compound exercises. 2. Pick exercises targeting different muscle groups to ensure optimal performance. 3. Use lower repetition ranges, aka in the 8 to 12 range. 4. Pick 4-5 exercises. 5. Keep relatively longer rest periods between circuits. For example, you could follow this circuit: 1. Dumbbell Squats - 8 to 12 reps 2. Dumbbell Rows - 8 to 12 reps 3. Dumbbell Bench Press - 8 to 12 reps 4. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts - 8 to 12 reps 5. Dumbbell Overhead Press - 12 to 15 reps You could do these for 2 to 3 circuits with 2 to 3-minute rest between the circuits. References: 1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19855309 Author bio: Pratik Thakkar is the co-founder and director of GetSetGo Fitness, an online fitness company. He is regarded as someone who will make it easy for you to understand the process by putting things in the right context and providing science-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding. You can reach out to him at pratik@getsetgo.fitness and follow him on Instagram and Facebook.
  4. This article does not constitute medical advice. Please see your licensed medical physician for information about how best to manage diabetes in your individual case. It's always a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting a new diet or exercise regimen. Diabetes has become as common as a cold lately. Every other person seems to be suffering from diabetes or is pre-diabetic or on blood glucose control pills these days. When you get a blood test done and if your sugars are out of place, your doctor tells you to lose some weight and start doing some exercise. As an obedient person, you cut out sugar from your diet and start going on morning walks. Some even start taking it to another level by running marathons and doing extensive cardio. © Pixabay And it barely helps. I have covered the dietary part of diabetes management in a standalone article which you can read on my writer's profile. In this one, I am going to speak specifically about training. Many people who have type 2 diabetes or at the very least are insulin resistant have these going for them- 1. They are overweight or even obese. 2. They have a sedentary lifestyle with no training. People become insulin resistant as they are fat. When this happens, their tissues and organs cannot store glucose. Which, in turn, leads to diabetes. *Both your fat and muscle tissue become insulin resistant. Add to that, the sedentary lifestyle makes their muscle lose metabolic flexibility. What is muscle's metabolic flexibility? Your muscles store glucose in the form of glycogen. When you train, especially lifting weights, you deplete these glycogen stores. This happens locally. For example, if you do arm training, your arms will burn the glucose/glycogen for energy. When you train legs, the glycogen stores of your legs get empty. Once they get empty and as you are doing resistance training, the muscle tissues regain their metabolic flexibility and become insulin sensitive. As they are now insulin sensitive and empty, they can uptake glycogen or the carbohydrates coming from your diet. Add to that, having a diet containing adequate protein leads to you preserving the muscle tissue (0.8 to 1.2 grams per pound of body weight). When you preserve muscle tissue or have more muscle in general, these storage sites for glycogen are much bigger. © YouTube Adding a little bit of cardio to your plan can definitely help, but it should not be the only source of your training. Cardio and especially low or moderate intensity depends on your aerobic pathways for energy and does not really burn much of the muscle glycogen. And doing excessive cardio can also result in muscle loss. If you are a beginner and looking to start with a weight training routine, I have written many pieces with sample training routine in the past. To summarize what you should do if you are insulin resistant or have diabetes: 1. Start lifting weights. 2. Eat adequate protein - 0.8 to 1.2 grams per pound. 3. Do not do excessive cardio. 4. Lose fat. 5. Maintain your fat loss. References: 1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5335813/ 2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10889805 3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28628125 Author bio: Pratik Thakkar is the co-founder and director of GetSetGo Fitness, an online fitness company. He is regarded as someone who will make it easy for you to understand the process by putting things in the right context and providing science-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding. You can reach out to him at pratik@getsetgo.fitness and follow him on Instagram and Facebook.
  5. A lot of people who come to me, are in a putrid state in terms of body composition. When I mean body composition, I mean primarily a total combination of posture, body fat percentage and lean muscle mass. This is mainly due to two reasons: - Their own mistake. they are living a sedentary lifestyle, no resistance training, eating junk food and severe nutrient deficiency. - On the other hand, are those who have lost weight in a wrong manner. In this piece, we will talk about the second group of people who lost weight in a wrong manner. Every day I meet people who have lost lots of weight but their body composition is such that, they are actually in the worst shape of their lives. The Difference Between Getting Thin & Getting Lean And Strong © YouTube In terms of weight loss, this happens primarily because people do not understand the difference between getting skinny fat and getting fit. The difference, by the way, is huge. This is also the case with most trainers and dieticians, who are ready to somehow show you a massive dip in weight on the weighing scale anyhow, to make you happy. Because that's what you want to see. Whenever you see a labourer working, he is not fit, he is thin. That's because of extremely low-calorie consumption and excessive physical activity. This is what most people actually do to get thin. However, the labourer is still ripped, because he is not doing tons of cardio a day, but primarily doing work which is a kind of high-intensity work, like digging, lifting & carrying loads, pulling or pushing movements etc. So he is basically overdoing the physical work, and undereating. Overdoing Cardio & Severely Under Eating © Thinkstock Images This is where the problem lies. The last thing an obese person needs is excessive cardio and a starvation diet. Long duration steady state cardio workouts are the worst prescriptions in this case. Excessive running coupled with a very low-calorie diet and you have a physiological disaster. The result is a drastic loss in water weight. Loss of the most precious component, muscle mass. A decline in the metabolism follows thereafter. Lose Fat, Get Stronger And Preserve Muscle Mass At The Same Time. That's Real Fitness! Anyone who needs to lose fat must first understand the difference between weight loss and fat loss and getting thin and getting fit. Resistance training and high-intensity cardiovascular workouts should always form the base of the training in such cases along with a healthy and nutritious diet. One single point I have been pressing upon again and again is that there is a big difference in weight loss and fat loss. It's the weight which most people aim for, which is simply a reduction in the needle on the weighing scale. This is what your dietician or slimming centre is an expert in showing you. Because it's easy. When you lose weight, you do lose a bit of fat, but majorly muscle mass and water. What's challenging is to lose fat, get stronger and preserve muscle mass at the same time. That's real fitness. How Do You Burn More Fat? © Thinkstock Images Muscle cells have a fat burning powerhouse called as the mitochondria. These mitochondria are responsible for the production of energy. More the muscle mass, more amount of mitochondria, and more the fat burning capacity of the body. The body needs a strong reason to produce more mitochondria. This reason is given by weight training and high-intensity workouts. These workouts create a large demand for energy above what your body can already produce and hence, the body is forced to create new mitochondria. What Happens When You Crash Diet? The exact opposite happens when you lose excess weight faster. You are slowing your metabolism down, as you are losing all your precious muscle mass. When you are training for strength, your muscle mass is going to go up. When this happens, your fat burning capacity goes up but also does go up your weight, because muscles are denser than fat. So get your focus at the right place! Akshay Chopra, is a graduate of the National Defence Academy & the Air Force Academy, and a former IAF pilot. He is one of the most qualified health, fitness & nutrition consultants in the country, and an author of multiple books & ebooks. He is among the few in the country to have a background of competitive athletics, military training and bodybuilding. He is the co-founder of the Body Mechanics chain of gyms, and India's first research based channel We R Stupid. You can check out his Youtube here.
  6. There's this notion amongst people training for bodybuilding that cardiovascular exercises are going to kill their gains. This explains why bodybuilders spend little time on the treadmill or a spin bike. The reason often cited for this argument is that excessive cardiovascular exercise could use up the energy which the body would otherwise use to build muscle mass. However, this is not true. You certainly do cardiovascular exercises like running or cycling BUT a serious balance needs to be established between cardiovascular exercise, diet and weight training. Is Cardio Catabolic? © Pinterest Some people have this misconception that cardio in itself is catabolic. They think that cardio cannot be a part of muscle gaining program as it does not help with the target even remotely. However, aerobic exercises can actually enhance your recovery from weight training by promoting blood flow and oxygen transport to your muscles. A few cardiovascular exercise sessions per week can help you achieve this BUT this is exactly what people don't understand. The majority thinks of cardio as a supreme fat loss tool. The reality is that excess of running ruins joint health, elevates cortisol (stress hormone) and leads to the lynching of precious muscle mass for production of glucose. That's why a balance is essential when choosing to do steady state cardio for long hours every day. Thus, putting up a blanket statement that cardio is catabolic is not true and has various facets to it. When Running (Cardio) Could Cause Muscle Loss © Youtube When you take up running as your daily cardiovascular routine, it depletes your calorie stores which your body needs to build and sustain muscle mass. So to prevent this, you either have to increase your calorie intake or reduce your cardio. You have to match up the calorie expenditure that is being done by daily cardiovascular exercise or you need to reduce your cardio to fewer sessions a week to prevent any muscle loss. Generally, everyday cardio is not recommended for gaining optimum muscle mass. Two days in a week or a maximum of three sessions a week are enough. Also, the days on which you perform cardio, your calorie intake should be more to make up for the lost calories so that you can maintain the calorie surplus throughout the week. Symptoms of Excessive Cardio Everybody has different metabolism and different training experience. Thus, the exact cardio to weight training combination is not that easy to judge. If not done smartly, this could very well turn against your target. Thus you should always be alert to notice any signs of cardio overload. These signs include; feeling of fatigue and lethargy even after a couple of hours of workout. Some people also suffer from mood changes due to elevated levels of cortisol which happens due to excessive cardio. Joint pain and aches are also sometimes signs of overdoing cardio exercises. Thus you need to make sure that you are not experiencing any of these signs and if you do notice them, then preferably you should reduce your cardio workouts. Referred Researches- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4523889/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5050386/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3544497/ Anuj Tyagi is a Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Sports Nutritionist and Therapeutic Exercise Specialist From American Council on Exercise (ACE) . He is the Founder of the website where he provides online Training. Though a Chartered Accountant by education, he has been closely associated with Fitness Industry since 2006. His motto is to transform people Naturally and he believes that the secret formula for Fitness is Consistency and commitment towards your Training and Nutrition. You can connect with him through Facebook and Youtube.
  7. If you are a beginner or have recently joined the gym, you may have been given a cookie cutter training plan which would be one-day weights, one-day abs, and cardio, repeat. And there is a good chance that you have been sold a standard personal training plan along with this. You go to the gym and follow this plan religiously, following the cardio and abs workout. Doing 15 minutes of cardio on three different machines followed by hundreds of ab crunches. But, is this doing you any good? © Pixabay Here are a few reasons that why cardio and abs day are a waste of your time: 1) Too Much Cardio Can Be Detrimental For Your Recovery As you are dedicating a completely different day for cardio, you get the itch of going all out on the same. You go at it with full intensity and thus increase the risk of an injury as well as delayed recovery. The next day that you get into the gym, you are too sore or fatigued to do justice to your training session. Your performance will eventually go for a toss later which in turn can have a negative effect on your muscle and strength gains. 2) Defeats The Purpose Of Doing Cardio Cardio is good for your cardiovascular health and if you are someone who is interested in gaining muscle and looking lean and ripped, cardio is better used as a supplement to your training and not your entire training session alone. If you are interested in building an impressive physique, you should focus more on lifting weights and compliment it with 2-3 mini cardio sessions per week. You can do 2-3 LISS aka low-intensity steady state cardio sessions for 20 to 30 minutes each or 1-2 HIIT aka high-intensity interval training sessions for 10 to 20 minutes each. 3) You Are Already Working On Your Abdominals The main function of your abdominal muscles is to provide stabilization when lifting free weights. If your workout routine consists of compound exercises, you are engaging your core already. It only makes sense to double down on it and do some direct ab work at the end of the workout. Dedicating a separate day to it just does not make logistical sense. © YouTube 4) Your Trainer Is Escaping A Dedicated Session With You By Cheating You If your trainer charges you per session and includes the cardio and abs day as one of the sessions in your training, better change your trainer. He is simply looting you by charging for a session where you can independently do all the work without his assistance. A trainer's job is to ensure he teaches you more about exercise safety, form, technique, progression schemes and the likes. Not telling you that hop on three different machines for 15 minutes each and run like a bunny. 5) You Can Use These Days Instead To Break The Monotony Instead of dedicating a day to cardio and abs, you can rather pick up an activity or a sport or a hobby that gives you a break from the monotony of being in the gym six days in a week and it became all the more boring for you to stick to it. If you lose the inspiration, you may start skipping sessions and sooner or later fall off the fitness wagon altogether. Author bio: Pratik Thakkar is the co-founder and director of GetSetGo Fitness, an online fitness company. He is regarded as someone who will make it easy for you to understand the process by putting things in the right context and providing science-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding. You can reach out to him at pratik@getsetgo.fitness and follow him on Instagram and join his FREE Facebook Fitness group.
  8. So you've recently completed a gaining period and you're headed for a beach bod in the next three months. The first thing that comes up in your mind is that you have to start doing your cardio to get ripped, right? Even today, majority of the population hitting the gym thinks that you need to do tons of cardio sessions to melt that layer of fat and get lean. What you don't understand is that too much of cardio can also lead to muscle loss. Yes, you read that right. If you put too much stress on aerobic training and prolonged cardio sessions are a regular for you, you may actually be killing all the gains that you made in past couple of weeks or months. Cardio Is Catabolic, Resistance Training Is Anabolic © YouTube Your body is in an anabolic state when it builds more muscle fiber than it breaks down. So when you do resistance training and provide your body a good nutritious diet, it becomes anabolic and you gain muscles. However, the opposite happens if you do not weight train and do not have nutritious diet. Your body becomes catabolic and eats up the muscle glycogen stores in the body making you look thin. You have to lift weights in order to build muscles. Cardio sessions alone can't help you with any muscle gain. What Is Cardio? © Pinterest Cardio is generally a term that is used for cardiovascular exercises in fitness Industry. This includes any and all the activities that elevate your heart rate and keep it elevated for a certain period of time which generally lasts for about 30 to 40 mins. Cardio could include any of the following activities, running, jogging, bicycle, elliptical trainer, zumba, aerobics, tabata, etc. Cardio exercises could be boring for majority of individuals as you have to do the same repeated movements daily again and again without much variation. Does Cardio Lead To Muscle Loss? Well, not in every case. What matters here is the diet that you are taking and the intensity with which you are doing your workout. If you fuel your body with enough carbs before and after your workout, you will probably not lose your muscles to those cardio sessions. This is because if your body has enough carbs and muscle glycogen available, it will not target muscle tissue for fuel source. However, if you are in a calorie deficit diet, and your cardio sessions make up for hours of prolonged sessions, there is quite high probability that you will suffer muscles loss. Because in this case, your muscle glycogens will be depleted and your body will turn catabolic as it needs fuel to support the energy required to perform the cardiovascular exercise. How To Prevent Muscle Loss © YouTube Yes, there is a way to prevent the muscle loss that may happen due to long cardio sessions. First, if the motive of your cardio session is to burn fat, then prefer a moderate intensity cardio over an HIIT. A moderate intensity cardio uses higher ratio of fat to glycogen than HIIT. When you do HIIT, your body uses more glycogen and carbs. Secondly, limit your cardio sessions for only a couple of days in a week. Too much of cardio is boring and undesirable. Even if you're doing it for fat loss, there are better ways to achieve a lean physique, which is mindful eating and weight training. Thirdly, if at all you do plan to do lots of cardio, make sure to feed your body with enough carbs so that your body does not turn catabolic. Anuj Tyagi is a Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Sports Nutritionist and Therapeutic Exercise Specialist From American Council on Exercise (ACE) . He is the Founder of the website where he provides online Training. Though a Chartered Accountant by education, he has been closely associated with Fitness Industry since 2006. His motto is to transform people Naturally and he believes that the secret formula for Fitness is Consistency and commitment towards your Training and Nutrition. You can connect with him through Facebook and Youtube.