Do you need Cardio?
DO YOU NEED CARDIO? --------------------------------------- What’s the goal? The goal is the strongest determinant of whether or not you need formal cardio in your training. If you are an athlete of an endurance sport, you then definitely need formal cardio in your training, and you need a lot of it. The point is, training should define the goal. Let’s say all you want is your cardiovascular health to improve and you think, for that, you definitely need some endurance exercises. But is doing a lot of cardiovascular activities are the only way to improve your cardiovascular health? For that, let’s first see how we define a good cardiovascular health on the parameter of physical activity, and if it can be achieved only if we add some sort of endurance exercises in it. PIC-2 So, making it clear The American Heart Association says that even resistance training with a particular volume and frequency would be beneficial for attaining an ideal cardiovascular health as long as the physical activity is concerned. Again, let’s say your goal is to focus on muscle mass and you want to maintain a certain body fat percentage and for that you think adding formal cardio is necessary, even if you do not like to run on that boring treadmill? So are you sure adding formal cardio will be the only way to achieve the goal? Or are there any other parameters you are missing on? Bringing NEAT in picture makes all the difference here. I would like you to have a look at the PIC-3. It pretty much clears the fact that to what extent NEAT affects the daily energy expenditure, based on your daily activity level (occupation, and lifestyle out of work). And the best part is, NEAT is highly modifiable along with that, the advantage of this being modifiable is that we can make a huge change in our daily energy expenditure by just manipulating our NEAT. PIC-4 shows the percentage distribution of possible energy output ways. Where, BMR-Basal Metabolic Rate, NEAT-Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, TEF-Thermic Effect of Food, EAT-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, REE-Resting Energy Expenditure, NREE-Non-Resting Energy Expenditure. Considering you are losing a fair amount of fat mass with the calorie deficit diet you are following, you like your training regime that is structured in a way that you are hitting the optimum volume, and have a very hectic daily schedule of work where you are standing or moving or both, all the time. Do you still need to add cardio to lose weight? No. You certainly don’t. Why not? Because your NEAT is very high and you would not want additional cardio make interference in your muscle building process. Let’s say you are a home-maker and you are on your feet all day, and you are losing fat constantly with just following a quantified nutrition and performing resistance training with an optimum volume. Do you still need to add cardio? No. You don’t. Now keeping all the circumstances same, just make these two people sit all day with minimum physical activity apart from the gym. HERE, there will come a time when these people will reach a stage where the calories from the diet can not be reduced beyond a certain point and the volume of the resistance training can not be increased further. They most probably will stop losing fat at this point. Will adding formal cardio help boost the rate of fat reduction? Definitely. How? Cardio will increase the total energy expenditure. So, if your goal is fat loss, and your NEAT is high, you can achieve your goal without adding formal cardio to your workout regime. (Case dependent) The last part, if you like doing cardiovascular activities and do not have any orthopaedic and cardiac condition, you can definitely go for it. That is something which I will categorize as a personal preference and tolerance. There will still be plenty of scenarios that will fall under grey area where it will have to be decided whether or not adding formal cardio will help the situation, be it attaining an ideal cardiovascular health or using it as a tool to lose fat after you are stuck on a certain number. An intellectual decision will have to be made by you and your coach taking into consideration all the parameters required to make the right decision for that particular situation. References https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17697152 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20089546 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24571926/