The Case Against Cardio

cac1Most gyms are full of treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes. I NEVER want to see you on one (and I never use them myself). I don’t even want to see you jogging for exercise. Here’s why.

It’s an age of soy lattes, margarine, and posting about your #$%^ing half marathons on Facebook.

What do these things have in common? People think they are good for you, and they really aren’t.

Let’s focus on “cardio” today.

Medium Intensity – Cardio’s Fundamental Problem


The problem with “cardio” is that it resides in an intensity purgatory. Long, low-intensity exercise like walking is great for burning fat.

Pro Tip: walking a mile and jogging a mile both burn the same amount of calories, but walking typically burns more fat

Short, high-intensity exercise is great for making your body better at burning fat.

Medium intensity exercise like jogging is good at burning sugar – not fat – and puts your body through the worst kind of stress. In scientific terms, we call the type of stress that jogging induces “non-hormetic chronic stress”.

In layman’s terms, this means that the stress of jogging is large enough that it causes problems, but not acute enough that it creates benefits.

“Cardio” Doesn’t Help You Achieve Your Goals

I’ve talked before about the importance of goals. You don’t even need to set them, because you already have them. Just ask yourself what you want. Here’s my list, in order of priority:

  • Lose Fat
  • Build Muscle
  • Improve Hockey Performance
  • Improve General Fitness
  • Live Forever

I’ll bet your list looks similar (maybe without the hockey thing).

Here’s the problem – “cardio” doesn’t help with any of that.


This chart sums it up.
“Cardio” sucks for building muscle, and is poor for burning fat.

“Cardio” doesn’t help you build muscle. “Cardio” is a bad way to live forever (unless you plan to do it with heart disease and arthritis).

“Cardio” isn’t even the best way to burn fat or improve general fitness. For that, you’ll want to check out HIIT.

“Cardio” is Bad For You

Cardio causes heart disease, but I’ve covered that before.

It also makes for a miserable existence up to the operating table. Medium-intensity, long-duration exercise isn’t just bad for your heart. It also pounds your joints and connective tissue mercilessly.

Google “knee pain and jogging” and you’ll get about a bazillion results (scientific I know). Why does “cardio” cause so much pain?

Ever heard of tennis elbow? It’s a repetitive motion injury that tennis players get from using their elbows the same way over and over and over and over.

“Cardio” creates a tennis elbow situation for your whole body – especially knees, ankles, and hips.

Want crippling soreness and inflammation? No. So stop doing “cardio”.

Recap and Conclusion

Here’s what we know:

  1. Cardio causes heart disease.
  2. Cardio causes joint pain and inflammation.
  3. Cardio doesn’t build muscle.
  4. Cardio doesn’t burn fat well.

So why on earth would you ever “do cardio” again?

Skip it, and try some HIIT instead.


About Kit Perkins

Kit Perkins is the Health and Fitness expert for MasculON. He’s spent years researching, practicing, training, and exploring diet and exercise for optimal health. He’s the founder of engrevo and GetManFit, and has ghostwritten for popular blogs in the sphere. He’s creative and well read, a forward thinker developing innovative ideas with an efficiency bent rarely seen in the fitness industry.
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