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As the clock struck twelve signaling the new year, you became determined to finally stick to your new years resolution goal of achieving the physique you’ve always wanted. Though you’ve tried and failed year after year, you’ve decided that this is the year things change..The washboard abs, chiseled jawline, and v-taper you can’t stop dreaming about seem just months away, and you’re ready to succeed. But only one week into your new fitness regimen, you’re reminded of exactly why every year you fail to stick to your plan, and never get in shape.
The dreaded cardio
The idea of having to run every day or every other day on the treadmill or elliptical for the next several months quickly becomes almost impossible to fathom. Your enthusiasm for getting into shape quickly dwindles, and you find yourself becoming more and more content with your overweight and out of shape physique. Yet everywhere you look; the internet, fitness books and magazines, that fit guy or girl at the gym- cardio seems to be a quintessential component of getting into amazing shape...but is it really?
The truth about cardio
For decades the concept that cardio is not only important but critical to getting into shape has been promoted by various fitness companies in an attempt to sell the next greatest machine that will “guarantee” fat loss results. Even various result-promising fitness programs such as P90x and Insanity revolve around exercises that are cardio-based. In reality however, the idea that cardio will help an individual get into amazing shape is absurd. To put things into perspective, the average person only burns roughly 400 calories an hour from physical activities such as jogging or running. This number of calories is equivalent to only a few pieces of fruit (bananas and apples contain over 100 calories each). In order to lose one pound per week one would need to burn 3,500 calories, so even if you did one hour of cardio every day for a week, you still wouldn’t even lose one pound!
No wonder your six pack isn’t visible yet! So if cardio isn’t useful for weight loss, does it have any benefits at all? Although cardio can seem extremely boring and now even useless, it can be helpful when trying to improve cardiovascular health, or the functioning of your heart and lungs. Performing high intensity interval training (HIIT) such as sprints, can improve endurance and speed, and help the lungs function more efficiently during physical exertion.