Part 1 "We were born for VO2 Max Training"

Those who dismiss cardio, are starving away their evolution

In part 1 of this blog I will set the case for why you should include efficient cardio training into your fitness regime, and help remove some of the confusion and utter #BS about what cardio does and does not do to the body. 

In part 2 later this week I will explain, break down and show you exactly how to include efficient cardio training into your fitness regime, and I've included a #free in depth 6 week VO2 Max fitness plan to help you receive the benefits both my clients and I obtain from the most natural and effective training protocol to the human body.

Part 1 cardio broken down..

Understand we are here to defeat challenge and survive so that we can pass on our "winning" cells. This is your sole reason for existence. You are constantly responding in physiological ways that force adaptions upon your body so that you gain an edge, an advantage. Your body does not acknowledge your ambitions, your goals, your feelings, it knows one purpose "stay alive".

At the very core of our being is the ultimate physical and mental specie. Our survival and evolution has been achieved by our physical supremacy over all that challenge the human race. 

Our DNA has gifted us a biological blueprint that enables our body to summon a cellular system that can adapt to survive. This system can adapt because its dependent and connected at a cellular level. One reaction, leads to another, one challenge through stimuli against the body leads to the "grouping or ganging up" of cells to combat and defeat that challenge. 

Our cells survive through their most basic need, oxygen. We have adapted many thousands of times over in order to best meet our most basic survival need. We crave cellular efficiency. That is achieved through maximising oxygen transportation capacity. This allows for more oxygen to be drawn from the air we breath thus available in our skeletal muscle. We will adapt at speed to ensure we can meet this demand so that we push back the need for suffering. We need oxygen to survive. Period. 

Our cells survive through their most basic need, oxygen.

 

Now, if we can increase our capacity to carry more oxygen, i.e. have a bigger engine we can suddenly go faster, if we can then hold onto and efficiently make use of our oxygen intake we can go further. This combination then allows for the ability to go faster for longer towards or away from our pray. We begin to run at cellular excellence and gain an ability to fight off cellular dysfunction (disease). This allows for a greater probability of reproduction of our winning genes. This attracts stronger "mating partners" and positions those with cellular excellence for leadership.

VO2 Training is in our genes 

Scientists have a name for the cellular reaction I describe, its called VO2 Max. This is essentially how much blood (which contains oxygen) the heart can pump out to the working muscles with every beat. When you perform at your capacity, known as VO2 Max or 90-105 % of VO2Max and "hold that velocity (vVo2) the adaption magic happens. 

In fact minute for minute no other training intensity protocol will increase both fitness and adaption as much as VO2 Max training, which also requires a heavy reliance upon aerobic based cardio training.

We were born to increase our VO2 Max. 

We can further increase VO2 during exercise by inducing more of our muscle mass to perform the exercise. (Roles 2005) However; 


Although resistance training will improve strength and lean mass tissue, it will only offer small improvement to VO2 Max (Pollack 1998 inc resistance circuits) thus limiting our most basic survival requirement for oxygen efficiency if used as a stand alone fitness solution.


 

So I hope that begins to familiarise yourself with the notion that cardio training really is a very natural and essential action for our bodies to undertake, and that just maybe the fitness community are misdirecting you when they warn against cardio training....

 

 

Fitness professionals with no #CardioGame

 

When someone tells me "I only train with weights and never do cardio" my immediate thought "You are utterly unfit, and most likely have high deposits of visceral fat" Scott Alexander

 

This leads to me the utter #BS you hear from so called fitness professionals and fitness writers warning you ... “cardio training offers no benefit and increases cortisol” “Cardio is catabolic” Cardio "Won't decrease body fat" and the best one "I don't need to do cardio training"....

Well next time you hear this, I advise you to hit PAUSE and break down what you are being told with both common sense and science before you discount and neglect the single biggest factor that will result in you achieving sustainable fitness results, alongside efficient insulin management and total health balance. 

Firstly let's have a closer look at who is broadcasting and citing these warnings.

Skulpt Aim The Ultimate Fitness Tracker

I personally have never seen an experienced coach or fitness professional with a strong background in performance or THRT (Targeted Heart Rate Training) discourage the use of efficient cardio training to help reach fitness goals, targets and good health.

In fact these warnings come from those who don’t really understand the protocol basics of VO2max/VO2R/vVo2/PMax/Fatmax training i.e. how real aerobic cardio training works. I offer you a bet the anti cardio/fitness "fitness pro's" neither engage in the use of an HRM (heart rate monitors) during training, have never challenged their bodies against TTs (Time trials) pitched on the Wattbike/Concept 2 Rower/Ski Erg etc... and have no understanding beyond the association of cardio being performed at " LISS or SS. The truth is they are training inefficiently and badly themselves and have been for many years. 


My advise is don't let their failures become yours.. 

Let's look at some facts

This blog will one of many, with the aim of highlighting and empowering you with some of the key benefits of cardio-fitness training whilst dispelling some of the utter nonsense that is misleading you away from fitness based training.

Finally I am going to offer some guidance of how to incorporate different types of cardio training into your regimen so that you receive maximum benefit and good health. This blog will have a part 2 "Free 6 week VO2 Max Builder Program download" to help guide you towards becoming a fitter you....

* Aerobic Exercise Induces Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy 

How many times have you heard "cardio will make you lose muscle mass?" Before I introduce the science, my submission is that "bodybuilders" who started this unfounded hypothesis mentally associate cardio with the "cutting stage" of their training before a show. These guys "bulk" most of the year with the intake of tons of carbs, sugars and calories, which makes them feel big, strong and happy. The drugs and stimulants they take help offset some of the insulin spikes thus assisting artificially with protein synthesise and fat utilisation. 

 

Bodybuilder types introduce cardio during the "self diminishing" stage of their training cycle. Its their metal perception, not science fact that makes them believe cardio is the reason for their vanishing mass.

Then when these "bodybuilder types" need to lose the fat and condition up, they reluctantly turn to cardio training. Note they are on a "self diminishing" cycle as they remove "junk food, sugar, mass calorie intake, zero cardio and reduce drug dosages" How do you think they mentally begin to feel? Depressed, anxious and self conscious.

They mentally attach "cardio with loss of mass, and feeling low" This is NOT from the cardio training effect but the way they chose to introduce the protocol. Its their metal perception, not science fact that turns them off cardio. 

Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy after Aerobic Exercise Training.

Mayo Clinic Exerc Sport Sci 2014 April

Now lets look at both common sense and science here. Firstly are you telling me that our perfect "cellular" system has a flaw? I mean how would we have evolved if the human body would scarfice and cannibalise its own flesh each time we would need to go and "hunt" for long periods of time walking/jogging miles on end in the search for food? Remember for an effective kill we would then need all the mass / strength and high aerobic fitness levels we could gather. Surely aerobic activity signals hunt or being hunted & therefore the opening of adaptive pathways one being hypertrophy? .... 

I am known for my intense cardio/Vo2 Max and HIIT training. At 40 years of age few can keep my pace, and even though I am now at the stage of life that I have entered my "ageing" timeline making it more difficult to retain and gain lean muscle mass, I hold plenty. I typically do 10-14 hours a week of "Cardio" based training. I can gain mass when needed with ease. I have never had a client "lose mass" whilst under my watch and incorporating efficient cardio training...  

It would seem science backs my theory that "efficient" cardio training does not only NOT hinder muscle hypertrophy it assists it! 

Numerous papers cite how aerobic exercise training alters key intracellular signaling pathways and mRNA expression related to both skeletal muscle protein metabolism (FOXO3a) and mitochondrial dynamics and proliferation leading to greater skeletal muscle hypertrophy. 

The findings in "Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy after Aerobic Exercise Training Adam R. Konopka1 and Matthew P Mayo Clinic College of Medicine 2014" support my opinion that cardio training   will "not reduce muscle mass" but actually assist growth; 

 

"We propose properly performed aerobic exercise leads to skeletal muscle hypertrophy that is comparable to resistance exercise training"


This paper accurately remarks "as with any exercise-training program in humans, adaptations are highly variable which could be why some studies have not observed increased muscle size". Further still, Nearly all studies examining muscle mass since 2005 (8 of 9) have reported skeletal muscle hypertrophy in the muscle group(s) most utilized during exercise. 

 Aerobic exercise training (AET) has an effect on many mechanisms that may collectively promote skeletal muscle hypertrophy. 

Aerobic exercise training (AET) has an effect on many mechanisms that may collectively promote skeletal muscle hypertrophy. 

It's worth noting that over 95% of the people I come across/see/post on social media are approaching cardio training completely incorrectly. Most are blinding following systems that are outdated and have no proven protocol effectiveness. Again as the paper above highlights this is perhaps why you guys are not observing what I am! The paper cites

"The effectiveness of aerobic exercise training to induce skeletal muscle hypertrophy most likely depends on obtaining sufficient exercise intensity (70-80% HRR), duration (30-45 minutes) and frequency (4-5 days per week) to achieve a large number of muscle contractions that places a high-volume, low-load on skeletal muscle compared to traditional hypertrophic resistance exercise programs" ... It further comments

"Collectively, research revolving around protein metabolism suggests aerobic exercise acutely and chronically stimulates skeletal muscle protein synthesis, creating a myocellular milieu that coincides with increased myofiber and whole muscle size after training"

The paper then goes on to conclude

"Collectively these data warrant that aerobic exercise training should be acknowledged to increase skeletal muscle mass and be considered an effective countermeasure for muscle loss with advancing age."

 

Still think cardio will induce muscle wastage? 

Cardio will not increase Cortisol

 

Lets also put this rumor to bed.  Now lets look at those who put the most physical stress upon their body and who have the most to lose from ineffective training. Yes elite athletes, the very best of the best. 

It's no coincidence that the worlds leading sports performance coaches' and scientists from all sporting discipline who are responsible for the training regimes of the sporting elite all employ a significant element of both cardio and VO2 Max training for their athletes.

Even “powerful and explosive“ sprinters, strikers, and fighters need to employ longer targeted volume cardio training load to help create the adaptive pathways needed for short spurts of power.

HIIT is a good example to highlight this. Do you think its possible to continually decrease training volume whilst increasing training intensity?  The answer is no.  Stepping outside of HIIT training and putting in stamina training will greatly assist with increasing vVO2 (the rate in which we can hold/perform at our fitness capacity max).

This added variable will contribute to sustained high levels of training intensity and when volume is cut back, that’s when you find that extra “yard of pace” ….. 

Sports coaches will also fine tune cardio training when an athlete needs to increase stamina, endurance and fitness levels or/and decrease targeted body fat. Cardio training is regularly used as a "weight management" tool.

"To a coach, an athlete’s stress hormone levels do not want to be on the rise and weight loss should never be in the expense of losing muscle. When we burn our own flesh as fuel, we go into a catabolic state, which will lead to a spiritual paralysis".

It’s therefore safe to say that cardio training is not hindering athletes. This is because they have a plan. They train to win. Those who don’t, who just turn up to a cardio workout without any thought or randomly add “30 mins steady state” at the end of their weights session, or train without employing targeted heart rate training or neglect to factor which energy source the body should elect for a session to sync with training intensity, are in most cases simply wasting their time... maybe this causes them to "stress out" and oops my "cortisol just jumped up" lol ... 

When I hear cardio causes increased cortisol levels -  This  highlights inefficient training and a lack of fitness knowledge.
 

Remember Cortisol is a stress hormone, that can spike even with short workouts , or no workout if you are creating a stressful environment for either mind, body or both. Let's not forget Cortisol naturally increases as we rise from sleep, and a key consideration should be how we monitor insulin with natural increases in cortisol. This hormone can also be manipulated to offer benefit.

Again lets employ some common sense here. The human body does not cope well with sudden stress or trauma , it panics and in a bid for self preservation and survival it releases hormones...."THIS IS THE DANGER" It's not the cardio training volume or necessary the type of training that induces increased  "Cortisol" & other catabolic hormone discharges. The focus should be not excluding cardio training but avoiding "sudden, unplanned, non efficient, badly approached training sessions" I personally think increased cortisol is much more about being "stressed over all" .. lets face it if life is good a 60 min cardio session is not going stress you too much! 

Again its the "bodybuilders" who most comment that long cardio sessions of 45 mins ++ will lead to an increases in cortisol forcing muscle cannibalism.

Yeah  really? Well what about the bodybuilders of the 70s/80s/early90s?? They were known for their 2/3 hour workout sessions & they had plenty of "growing muscle tissue"

Would it not be fair to submit that there is no difference whether you employ high volume cardio sessions, or high volume weight sessions that provided you progressively increase volume with solid nutrition and recovery thus inducing adaption upon the body you will avoid increases in cortisol provided of course that your overall stress management is good?  .. What is the body trying to protect itself from if you regularly elect volume stimuli ( weights /cardio) & implement a solid nutritional environment that promotes repair / recovery / growth? It will adapt over time & respond to the progressive stimuli ... thats how we evolve....

Norepinephrine

In fact cortisol is not the hormone that should be considered when the phrase "cardio over training pops up". Try Norepinephrine, which provides for a more useful marker of "overtraining" which can be experienced with frequent HIIT training as an example.

Norepinephrine is responsible for ensuring body efficiency in our Fight or Run response to a high intensity / stressful situations. The hormone regulates our heart rate, brain oxygen levels to process information clearer & quicker and the release of glucose from our muscles to increase energy for increased performance.

In a study conducted by J.L Barron et al (1985) entitled ‘Hypothalamic dysfunction in over trained athletes’ it was highlighted that many of the symptoms of overtraining "fatigue, increase RHR, increase in body fat etc.. can be attributed to imbalance in neurotransmitters leading to a dysfunction of the neuroendocrine system. 

Therefore if one trains #smart with Cardio/HIIT allowing for recovery between sessions and implementing varying interval durations and intensity stimuli as an approach for "active recovery", it is possible to safeguard against a dysfunction of the neuroendocrine system rather than dismiss cardio training protocols for a fear or increasing cortisol levels... 

Only cardio can remove the most dangerous of all body fat "visceral and liver fat"

 

Cardio performed smart will lead not only to fat loss, but it’s the only proven method to remove the most dangerous fat we carry on our bodies known as “stubborn fat”.  **1 **2

Buried deep within the abdominal cavity and between our internal organs, we hold visceral and liver fat , and this is the fat that can trigger heart attacks, cancer and other potentially fatal diseases.

"When it comes to increased health risks, where fat is deposited in the body is more important than how much fat you have," says Duke exercise physiologist Cris Slentz, Ph.D., lead author of the study published in the American Journal of Physiology. 

Again, those who cite that "weight training alone is enough to remove fat are incorrect" and this is where cardio training plays a very vital role for good health.

 

*1 The Duke study "Resistance training achieved no significant reductions in visceral fat, liver fat, liver enzyme levels or improvements in insulin resistance.
This study *1 also proved that aerobic training significantly reduced visceral fat and liver fat. Aerobic exercise also did a better job than resistance training at improving fasting insulin resistance, and reducing liver enzymes and fasting triglyceride levels.

 

Conventional aerobic cardio training is great at targeting this type of fat, where the shorter, hyper intense anaerobic HIIT training will raise EPOC (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) and allow the body to utilize more fat as fuel for many hours, post workout.

Don't neglect the importance of being "cardiovascular fit"

High-intensity exercise found to be safe 

August 18, 2014 Wiley

Finally you may have heard "HIIT or VO2 Max training is dangerous to the heart"..

I would refer you to the paper "Effect of High-Intensity Training Versus Moderate Training on Peak Oxygen Uptake and Chronotropic Response in Heart Transplant Recipients; American Journal of Transplantation, August 2014.

This paper alongside many others conclude that high intensity exercise is safe, In fact in this trial (above) it was revealed that " high-intensity interval training is safe in heart transplant patients, and the effect on exercise capacity and blood pressure control is superior to moderate intensity training" **3

In Part 2 - I unlock my VO2 max training Protocol 

I will break down all the key elements necessary to train VO2 efficient in order to gain maximum adaptive benefits. I have also included a #Free in depth "6 week VO2 Max Builder Plan" that will be your passport to enhanced fitness ability.... 




Reference

•• Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy after Aerobic Exercise Training Adam R. Konopka1 and Matthew P Mayo Clinic College of Medicine 2014


* 1 Duke University Medical Center conducted a head-to-head comparison of aerobic exercise, resistance training, and a combination of the two, they found aerobic exercise to be the most efficient and most effective way to lose the stubborn fat that's most damaging to your health.

Visceral fat and liver fat are located deep within the abdominal cavity and spaced between our internal organs. Its the trigger for heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

"When it comes to increased health risks, where fat is deposited in the body is more important than how much fat you have," says Duke exercise physiologist Cris Slentz, Ph.D., lead author of the study published in the American Journal of Physiology. 

The Duke study proved that aerobic training significantly reduced visceral fat and liver fat. Aerobic exercise also did a better job than resistance training at improving fasting insulin resistance, and reducing liver enzymes and fasting triglyceride levels. 


Resistance training achieved no significant reductions in visceral fat, liver fat, liver enzyme levels or improvements in insulin resistance. The combination of aerobic with resistance training achieved results similar to aerobic training alone.

"Aerobic training burned 67% more calories in the study when compared to resistance training.

So diet and weights cant help you with the KILLER stubborn fat

 

2   J Obes. 2011; 2011: 868305.

Published online Nov 24, 2010. doi:  10.1155/2011/868305

PMCID: PMC2991639

High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss

 

3 Effect of High-Intensity Training Versus Moderate Training on Peak Oxygen Uptake and Chronotropic Response in Heart Transplant Recipients; American Journal of Transplantation, August 2014.