Fitness Friday: Cardio Killer

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July 13, 2013 by healthwisehome

fitness-fridayIt’s Fitness Friday, Chickies!


How to Successfully NOT Reach Your Goals

How many times have you come across a devout runner…someone who has run marathons, ½ marathons and everything in between…and still, STILL, their body doesn’t look as fit as you would imagine it should be with all that freakin’ cardio?

I would wager you see this all the time. In fact, I would wager the majority of the runners you know probably fit this description.

And, it’s not just runners…it’s anyone whose workout is comprised mainly of predictable, repetitive, classic cardio movement.

So, to make your life easy, I will give you two basic fitness rules to live by:

1.     Want to gain weight, NOT change the shape of your body or sit on the Weight Loss Plateau for years? Choose cardio and LOTS of it.

2.     Want to lose inches, change the shape of your body and define it, increase your overall metabolic rate and have lasting results? Choose a combination of strength training and cardio that incorporates intervals.

Exercise has one, and only one, purpose: to increase your overall metabolic rate, so you burn more calories 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for the rest of your mortal existence. And, the only effective way to rev that metabolic rate is to build lean muscle. ANNNNNNDDDD, the only way to build lean muscle effectively is to add some sort of strength training to your routine. Strength training is the golden chalice of lasting, permanent weight loss. Got it?

Lean muscle is our proverbial fountain of metabolic youth, but our bodies start to work against us as we age, making the workout program you choose so much more important.

The Hard Truth about Muscle Loss

      – 1 pound of muscle burns 6 calories per pound per day.

– 1 pound of fat burns 2 calories per pound per day.

–  After the age of 20, the average person loses ½ to seven-tenths of a pound of muscle per year. That’s about 5 to 7 pounds of muscle loss per decade.

– As women approach menopause, the rate at which they lose muscle doubles. Explains why so many women have trouble with their weight as they get older.

– After age 70, the average person loses 3 pounds of muscle—per year!

– Classic dieting + a traditional cardiovascular exercise program = weight loss AND lean muscle loss. You see, you will lose weight at first due to the simple energy in, energy out equation, but it will come at a cost. 60% of that weight lost will be fat (YAY!), BUT the remaining 40% will be lean muscle (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!).

Age decimates our metabolism by killing our lean muscle. Cardio decimates our metabolism by burning lean muscle. Dieting without exercise decimates our metabolism by eating lean muscle and not providing the correct nutrition to build and repair muscle effectively.

I had a woman come to me a few months ago. She has been tall and thin all her life, but when she hit her late 30s, she started to have trouble losing weight. She is naturally athletic and watches what she eats, but babies changed her body—she gained some weight and her shape seemed softer than she was used to. She found a love in running and over several years became a distance runner. However, she was frustrated. No matter how much she trained, she could not get rid of her belly fat. She was killing her metabolic rate with too much cardio. I prescribed cardio and strength training workouts using an interval approach to training, and she was able to shed the weight and tone her abs. WHOOP!

So, what is interval training? Think of it this way…

Traditional cardio workouts are like a boat ride down the Potomac. It’s predictable. Your speed is unchanging and there is very little excitement. Your heart rate adapts to the activity quickly and stays in one comfortable zone.

Interval workouts are like whitewater rafting. You have periods of easy paddling intermingled with quick bursts of heart-pumping, energetic rapids. Your workout is constantly changing and your heart rate and your muscles never get the opportunity to adapt and settle in any one zone. You are constantly challenging your body to change.

Interval Training WORKS!

      – More effectively reduces the risk of heart disease

– You can burn calories post exercise for up to 38 hours (versus 2-3 hours with traditional cardio)

– Improves posture by increasing the muscle that supports your body’s structure

– Helps you get those abs by burning more fat over a longer period

– Makes you a more complete and fit athlete


Worried that adding a little strength training to your routine will make you look like a man? Nonsense! Most women don’t have enough testosterone in their bodies to encourage large muscle growth. However, I recommend lower weight with higher repetitions to create that leaned out look most women desire.

Happy Friday, y’all!

Mary is a personal trainer specializing in forever results. She is the owner of Real Chicks Fitness in Gainesville, Va, which specializes in private and group personal training sessions and outdoor workouts that make swipping super fun. Want to know more, search for Real Chicks Fitness on Facebook and JOIN the closed group or get on the mailing list at


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Welcome to Health Wise Home! I'm Sarah, a wife and mother of three working towards building a Health Wise Home for our family. I am a Certified Health Education Specialist and it is my mission to EDUCATE, EMPOWER, AND INSPIRE others to help build a healthier future by sharing valuable information, healthy recipes, and practical advice. I hope that you will follow along!

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