You’ve overcame the weakness of ordinary people long time ago. You haven’t had any sweets, fries or donuts for months now. You follow your diet instructions strictly, you train hard, but you still can’t get the results you are looking for. Your six pack is still not visible though.
When cardio training ruins your six pack
If you think that the mistake you are making is not in the diet – you are probably right, and the problem with this situation is certainly not in genetics.
The key lies in the things you do in the gym. A little known fact is that overdoing aerobic (cardio) exercise in some cases can lead to subcutaneous fat gain, instead of fat loss. Especially if the exercise you are doing is not intense enough and lack the mandatory diversity.
Cardio or weights for a six pack ?
One of the biggest misconceptions among fitness fans is that weight lifting will surely make them massive and aerobics will make you them and light. As a result of this misconception people often put cardio in the center of their fitness program and completely abandon the exercises with weights.
The truth is that both weight training and cardio will certainly help you reduce a percentage of body fat. However too much cardio in some cases can actually have a negative impact on your physique.
This happens due to the fact that improper training and recovery will enhance the catabolic processes (loss of muscle cells), which in turn slows down the metabolism. On the other hand, lifting weights can speed up the metabolism, especially if your diet is correct.
Having more muscles means a fast metabolism, leading to the burning of more fat and toned body. Burning calories continues long after the workout is done, even when you are watching TV in bed and stare at your favorite series.
How much cardio is too much ?
People often think that doing more of something is better. For example, if 30-60 minutes of cardio is healthy and helps you lose weight, then 2-3 hours will help you lose twice or three times as much weight, right ? Actually, no. Like we said, too much cardio will put you in catabolism, you’ll start losing muscle mass, and at one point your metabolism will slow down. The excess cortisol that your body will produce will suppress your immune system and can certainly cause health issues.
There is no exact answer of how much cardio is too much. It all depends on your recovery ability, the food you eat, the number of calories you consume etc. But if you are not an endurance athlete like a marathon runner or a competitive cyclist, anything longer than 60-80 per day will probably be too much.
Some signs of too much cardio include:
- Feeling tired all the time
- Feeling sore constantly
- Pain in your joints
- Not sleeping well at night
- Getting sick a bit too often
- You are losing weight, but your muscles are disappearing as well
“If you want to know what kind of a body you will build using just aerobic exercise, just look at some pictures of long-distance runners or other sports where endurance is the main concern. Yes they are very slim, but who has a better six pack – a sprinter or marathon runner, ” says expert Charles Staley.
He states that toning the abdominal muscles does NOT exclude cardio, on the contrary. But the use of some exercises such as the stepper or the treadmill should be minimized. Those exercises should be replaced with a higher intensity cardio.
– “The best solution is interval training, since it burns a lot of calories and builds muscle at the same time”.
The key to success is called intensity. A normal interval training usually lasts about 20 minutes, but during that brief time you will use more effort if you are willing to press yourself properly. Cardio interval training combines the best exercises for explosive strength and endurance.
The wrong workout
If your goal is a well defined and visible six-pack – the biggest mistake is to do long cardio sessions. For example, doing 60 minutes of slow jogging and expect results.
The right workout
A combination of weights with aerobic intervals. Once you are finished with the weights do five minutes of jogging to warm up. Then start alternating 30 second sprints with 120 second jogs or fast walking.
Repeat this cycle 4-5 times. Similarly, intervals can be done with a bicycle, on a staircase, in a pool or where ever you can do cardio.
An important condition for success is to use about 75% of your maximum capacity during the sprints.