Are Cardio Workouts Effective For Losing Fat?

by Mike Geary, CNS, CPT on February 23, 2010 · 1 comment

By Mike Geary, CNS, CPTsix pack abs

Are cardio workouts or weight training more effective for losing fat…

In this article, I have an intriguing discussion about cardio workouts, which will hopefully get you thinking differently, and trying new things.

You may know I’ve been called the anti-cardio guy before, but this week I’m back posing the question to you… Do you really need cardio training to get lean and in great shape? By the way, you’ll see in a minute that I’m not really “anti-cardio”, just “anti traditional cardio”.

Most fitness buffs, weekend warriors, or anyone trying to get in shape or lose body fat, consider it a fact that they need “cardio” exercise to accomplish these goals. They would never even question it.

However, I’m not only questioning it, I’m going to refute it! In fact, you may be surprised to know that some of the leanest and meanest people I know (men and women), NEVER do any type of normal or traditional cardio. And I’ve spent over 15 years working out in various gyms, and hanging out with athletes of all sorts, so I’ve seen it all.

I will say that there can be a place for low-moderate level cardio for really overweight or deconditioned people, but even in those cases, there can be more effective methods.

But what exactly is “cardio”?

Most people would consider cardio to be pumping away mindlessly on a treadmill, riding a stationary bike, or coasting on an elliptical machine, while watching the TV screen at their state of the art gym.

This is what I call “traditional cardio”. Hmmm, no wonder the majority of people get bored with their workouts and give up after a couple months without seeing results.

But if you look closer, “cardio” exercise can be considered any type of exercise or activity that strengthens the cardiovascular system. I’m not going to get into anything technical like increasing your VO2 max or anything like that. To keep it simple, if it gets your heart pumpin, and gets you huffin and puffin, it’s cardio. I don’t care if you’re holding dumbbells or a barbell and everyone calls it a weight training exercise…it’s still conditioning your heart.

Let’s take a look at a couple examples. Take a barbell (or dumbbell, or kettlebell) clean & press for example, which involves lifting a barbell from the floor up to shoulders, then push pressing overhead. And listen up ladies, because even though this is usually seen as a manly exercise, it doesn’t matter if you’re not lifting 250 lbs; if 45 lbs is challenging to you, then you will still benefit just as much.

At first glance, most people think of the barbell C&P only as a weight training exercise or strength exercise. However, I challenge you to do a hard set of around 10-15 reps on the C&P. If you used a challenging enough weight, what you’ll find is that your heart rate is probably up to about 80-90% of your recommended max, and you are huffing and puffing like you just ran a 100-meter sprint (which by the way, sprinting kicks the crap out of jogging any day if you want the easiest way to lose the flab).

Try the same thing for a set of 20 reps of one-arm snatches or swings with each arm with a kettlebell or dumbbell, and tell me your legs aren’t burning, heart racing, and you’re gasping for breath. How about trying 5 minutes straight of bodyweight squats, lunges, and pushups with very little rest. Again, notice your heart pounding, sweat pouring off of you, and chest heaving for breaths!

Try and tell me you’re not conditioning your heart with this style of training! Conventional thinking says that these are weight training or strength training exercises. However, they are fullfilling your cardio workout needs as well (saving you time!).

Not only do you save time, but you strengthen and condition almost every muscle in your entire body with these full body exercises if you do them with enough intensity…something that can’t be said for that boring stationary bike ride or treadmill jaunt while reading or watching TV.

Reading or watching TV while you workout is a joke!

Seriously, if you can read or watch TV while doing any exercise, you’re not concentrating enough on what you’re doing, plus you’re probably not working out hard enough to see any real results.

About the Author: Certified Nutrition Specialist and Personal Trainer Mike Geary, author of the internationally best-selling e-book The Truth about Six Pack Abs, is a contributing author to Muscle & Fitness & Oxygen magazines and is regularly featured on fitness websites around the world. Mike specializes in body fat reduction strategies and functional strength and power training. To learn more about his innovative training strategies and the latest nutrition tips, check out his website at

[Editor’s Comments: From personal experience, I can tell you that agree with Mike 100%! I challenge you to give the “traditional cardio” a rest for a month or two, and start training the way he mentions in the article.

If you really want the specifics, right now is the best time to check out Mike’s internationally-selling Truth about Six pack Abs Program. Mike just turned 34 and he is celebrating with a gift for you…a 50% sale on his Fat Burning Kitchen and Truth About Abs programs. Just click the link below to find out more:

Click here =>>  Truth About Abs

This offer is only good until midnight on Wednesday, February 25th, 2010…so don’t miss it!]


Required Legal Disclaimer: some of the links mentioned within this post or posts they lead to are my affiliate links and I get compensated for recommending those products. However I NEVER recommend something I don’t believe in and welcome your questions and feedback.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 glyconutrients February 24, 2010 at 10:24 am

This is a very interesting topic and we seem to see eye-to-eye on the issue. As a fat loss consultant to others (with personal results), I am against running or long walks.

This is an analogy I use all the time (and it doesn’t matter if you believe in Creationism or evolution – the analogy holds):
Look at all other animals on the planet. Are they always running? Think, in what circumstances should the human being run? The answer to the latter is that man really only needs to run (and usually in small sprints) to catch food or prevent from becoming food. Essentially, running (without going into biochemical processes) is a flight-or-fight (emergency) mechanism. It is not a normal state, and your body will suffer.

Besides… Muscle will consume the fat that stored in fat tissues. You need to grow them. Pete, you suggested up to 20 reps. There is a lot of controversy as to reps vs. weight. I personally start with weight that I can barely lift 3 sets of 8 reps. The next time I lift, I got 9-8-8. Then 9-9-8, and so on until I reach 10-10-10. At that point I increase the weight and go back to the struggling 8-8-8.

My cardio consists of a 30 minute walk/hike out on a trail (or one lap on each lane of a track) AT MOST 3 times a week. And you just really feel like you “need” to run, then limit it to 1 – 2 miles. Maybe walk two days and run the other. It’s good for you body to remember how to do this.

My personal blog/site says “Weight lifting is CRUCIAL for eliminating fat” under “Exercise Routine” ( <– in case you're interested in the exercises that I do. We've gone a little more aggressive but haven't had time to add a post about it.

Once again, awesome post Pete. You're doing an awesome job helping others rid their bodies of fat.

On Twitter: @glycotrainer

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Previous post:

Next post:

The Healthy Minute Facebook Fan Page