Cardio myths


Tired of those long sessions of cardiovascular exercise? How many hours have you wasted wanting to lose fat? I have decided to address one of the most controversial topics in gyms, cardiovascular exercise, and its myths.

“When you do the cardiovascular exercise you need to reach an intensity high enough to provide a cardiac output to burn fat.”

We have heard many times, especially in high-intensity interval training or HITT, that we must reach a certain level of workout to reach a level where only fat is burned. Well, this is not true since we accelerate the heart pulse and therefore increase our sympathetic activity (cardiac acceleration, vasoconstriction, increased cardiac output, stroke volume) what we are stimulating is a higher calorie burn since we are subjecting the body to an anomalous or impact situation so that we cannot fool our complex metabolic machinery, burning only fat. The body usually uses glycogen and glucose in combination to obtain energy and this is obtained from the hydrocarbon reserves that you generate thanks to the hydrates consumed with the diet. This does not mean that fats are not consumed, moreover, these turn out to be the most effective exercises for fat loss, but our metabolism as a preference uses the energy obtained from hydrates followed by fats, through oxidation reactions, which are induced by aerobic situations induced by cardiovascular exercise.

“The body begins to lose fat after 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise”

This statement is totally absurd and does not have any scientific support, since your body is producing energy 24 hours a day, and what really means losing fat is the caloric deficit. By this I mean that for fat loss, the energy balance must be negative, that is, we must manage fewer total calories than we expend, since what the body will do is consume the fat reserves to compensate for this energy deficit. What cardiovascular exercise does is that it involves additional energy consumption that helps you to spend more calories daily than if you do not do this type of exercise.

“You have to do cardio to define”

Cardio-HIIT Returning to the previous point, when we want to define (lose the excess fat after volume processes while reducing the loss of muscle mass to the maximum) it is not totally necessary to perform cardiovascular exercise. We have to reach that negative balance again and for this, cardio adds greater energy expenditure, that is, it is a complement that helps us achieve our goal. However, I insist again that our body does not have any type of mechanism to selectively consume fat deposits. It is simple, if you eat a lot you will not have an energy deficit and therefore your body will not need to burn fat for energy. So I recommend fine-tuning the diet strictly to carry out an adequate definition process, remember that food together with adequate rest account for 70%.

“You should not do cardio when you are in the volume or muscle growth phase”

This is something that I have been hearing during the time that I have been training in the gym constantly and it is that many people comment on this because they really do not like to do cardio. In fact, in volume phases, we are interested in a gain in muscle mass, but when this happens, it is inevitably accompanied by a gain in fat and water in different proportions. This ratio can be displaced to muscle gain, which is what many people refer to as “clean climbing.” This, I insist, must be enhanced with a diet (increasing the calories consumed among other things) and adequate rest.

“You must perform a cardiovascular exercise before putting you with weight exercises”

This is one of the most common mistakes and that has the greatest repercussions for muscle gain. Why? The cardiovascular exercise carried out before training sessions depletes glycogen reserves in such a way that the performance with which you subsequently perform the exercise plummets since you have depleted one of the important energy reserves in addition to starting the catabolic machinery in aerobic situations when we are really interested in the opposite, anabolism and anaerobiosis situation, so this ends up seriously affecting muscle growth. It is best to do exercise sessions cardiovascular separate from weight lifting workouts.

“You have to do aerobic exercise before you start training as a warm-up”

Since when? This always creates confusion for many people, returning to the previous point, it depletes your main energy reserves and decreases training performance. If what you really want is to warm up the muscles that you are going to work before putting on it, it is convenient to perform a couple of series with 50% of the weight that you usually lift of 10-15 repetitions to avoid some type of injury or muscle damage.

“Sweating more during cardio means you’re burning more fat”

Plastic clothing there are many times that I find people doing cardio on the gym machines with sweatshirts and even plastic accessories to get more sweat, thinking that if they sweat more it means that they are consuming more calories and burning more fat. Sorry to disappoint you but this is not so. By putting on more clothing and exercising, what you are doing is increasing your body temperature, so your body tends to regulate this increase through heat loss through perspiration. In this way, what you are doing is losing a significant amount of water, constituting an important risk factor for dehydration, which will reduce both your performance by exercising and losing fat since the body will be focused on regulating temperature and compensating for the loss of water.

With all this, I want to convey that numerous myths and incorrect statements are circulating on social networks and magazines that are generating great controversies. However, cardiovascular exercise is very important and I personally recommend it as it is an important health benefit:

  • It prevents cardiovascular diseases and chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
  • Progressively accelerate your metabolism.
  • Facilitates weight loss and control.
  • It supposes a positive stimulus for the central nervous system “healthy body, healthy mind”


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