Steady State Cardio is BAD


By Kevin Charles

Admit it, you have been known to go to the gym and spend half an hour, sometimes an hour, walking or jogging on a treadmill. The calorie counter on the treadmill console slowly but steadily increases and at the end of your workout you leave the gym feeling like you’ve accomplished something. It’s a great way to lose weight, right? Well, you may be surprised to know that it’s actually not a great way to lose weight and it sure isn’t the best way.

Cardio Results
Several studies have shown that steady-state cardio, or exercise that remains the same intensity throughout your workout, is not really effective for weight loss. A study in the September 1998 issue of the ‘International Journal of Sports Nutrition’ compared women who dieted with women who dieted with those that dieted and exercised and found that the additional exercise didn’t lead to extra weight loss. The authors concluded that “moderate aerobic exercise training during a 12-week period has no discernible effects on body composition.”

High-intensity interval training is a more advanced and effective way to exercise. A more recent study published in the 2012 issue of the ‘Journal Obesity’ studied the effects of interval training and found it superior to steady-state cardio. The authors noted that “twelve weeks of HIIE (high intensity intermittent exercise) resulted in significant reductions in total, abdominal, trunk, and visceral fat and significant increases in fat-free mass and aerobic power. That means you’ll lose more fat and weight than if you jog. You’ll also have better aerobic or heart health and you’ll even gain muscle. Did I mention that the exercise performed in this study amounted to 20 minute workouts three times a week? All of a sudden, jogging on the treadmill every day doesn’t seem as appealing as it did before.

Try It At Home
While you can certainly perform interval training at the gym, you can also do it in the comfort of your own home. A simple (but not easy) high intensity exercise is high-knee jogging. It’s jogging on the spot with your knees rising to your waist as you move. To perform a 20 minute workout, try regular jogging for four minutes as a warm up, then alternate 30 seconds of high-knee jogging with regular jogging for 12 minutes. Follow with an additional four-minute cool down of regular jogging or walking and end your workout by stretching all your major muscle groups. Perform this routine every other day and you’ll see changes on the scale before you know it.