It’s no secret most weightlifters don’t like cardio.
Most avoid it because it’s uncomfortable.
Others are worried it’ll interfere with their ability to gain strength and muscle.
And others just find it boring and pointless.
After all, if you’re already lifting weights several times per week, how much can you really benefit by adding a bit of cardio to your weekly routine?
Sure, you’ve heard about the health benefits of cardio. Things like lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol, and improving blood flow and arterial health, but can’t you get most of those benefits from lifting weights, too?
And what if you modify your weightlifting to more closely resemble cardio by resting less between sets, lifting weights faster, doing more reps with lighter weight, and so forth? Could this give you the benefits of weightlifting and cardio?
The short answer?
Weightlifting does offer many of the same health benefits as cardio, including improved heart health, insulin sensitivity, and more, but cardio also offers some health benefits you can’t get from weightlifting.
Keep listening to learn what these benefits are, and how to get the benefits of both weightlifting and cardio.
4:48 – How does cardio help with weight loss?
21:57 – How does cardio help with cardiovascular health?
32:39 – How does cardio help with capillary density?
34:48 – How does cardio help with arterial health?
38:41 – How does cardio help with insulin sensitivity?
Mentioned on the show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Hi. Hi. Hi Mike here and welcome to another episode of multiple life. Thank you for joining me, hopefully once again. And if this is your first time I hope you’ll like what I have in store for you today, which is a discussion of cardio versus. Weight lifting. And specifically, can you get all of the benefits of cardio by just lifting weights or put differently?
Is there any significant benefit to adding cardio to your routine? If you are already lifting weights, let’s say anywhere from three to. Five plus hours per week. And this is something that I often get asked about because big surprise, many weightlifters do not like doing cardio and mostly because it’s uncomfortable and is not as fun as lifting heavy weights.
I’ll acknowledge that for sure. But sometimes I hear from people who actually like doing cardio, but they’re worried that it’s going to interfere with their ability to gain muscle and strength that it’s going to interfere with their progress in their weight lifting. And then of course there are people who say it’s too boring and too pointless.
In this episode, I’m gonna share with you my take on this as well as what I do personally, because you have probably heard about the health benefits of cardio. You probably know that research shows it can lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol and improve blood flow and arterial health. But you’ve probably also heard that weightlifting can do the same thing and that’s true to a point.
And of course, that’s something we will get into in detail in this podcast. And then something else that we’ll talk about is the claim that you can just modify your weightlift to more closely resemble cardio and. Really just get the best of both worlds. You can gain muscle and strength and improve your cardiovascular endurance and reap any additional benefits that cardio might have.
But as you will learn in this podcast, that’s not the best way to go about it. There is a better way to approach strength, training and cardiovascular training. Now, before we get to the show, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, and if you wanna help me help more people get into the best shape of their lives.
Please consider picking up one of my best selling health and fitness books. I have bigger leaner, stronger for men. Thinner, leaner, stronger for women. I have a flexible dieting cookbook called the shredded chef as well as a 100% practical hands on blueprint for personal transformation called the little black book of workout.
Motivation. These books have sold well over a million copies. And have helped thousands of people build their best body ever. And you can find them on all major online retailers like Amazon, audible, iTunes, Cobo, and Google play, as well as in select Barnes and noble stores. So again, that’s bigger leaner stronger for men.
Thinni leaner stronger for women. The shredded chef and the little black book of workout motivation. Oh, and I should also mention that you can get any of my audio books for free when you sign up for an audible account, which is the perfect way to make those little pockets of downtime, like commuting meal, prepping dog, walking and cleaning a bit.
Interesting entertaining and productive. And if you want to take audible up on that offer and get one of my audio books for free, just go to Legion, athletics.com/audible, and it’ll forward you over. And then you can sign up for your account. So let’s start this discussion with the three biggest scientifically proven benefits of cardio, because it definitely has its upsides.
It’s not going to benefit your body composition in the same way as strength training, but it will, as you could guess by the name of it, improve your cardiovascular health and it can also improve just your health in general, as well as your longevity. In several different ways. And just to be clear by cardio, I’m talking about any kind of exercise that involves maintaining an elevated heart rate for more than a few minutes at a time, a more accurate term would be endurance training or aerobic exercise, but I’ll just call it cardio in the podcast to keep things simple.
So I’m talking about running and swimming, cycling. Rowing playing different sports where you run around a lot like basketball, soccer, or even ping pong, even table tennis, brisk walking, and so forth. All of those things qualify as cardio. So as for benefits, the first big benefit that cardio. Can provide you, is it burns a lot of calories and it can burn a lot more calories per minute or per hour than weight lifting.
And this of course is why many people do cardio to lose weight. And it can certainly help by just allowing you to create that calorie deficit that drives weight loss. Now you’ve probably heard in the last year or two, that exercise. Actually doesn’t work for losing weight. It doesn’t help you lose weight and particularly cardio.
That’s usually what they’re talking about. But sometimes people even say strength training, doesn’t help you lose weight, which actually can be true. Of course, because strength training helps you gain muscle, which adds weight, but it definitely can help you lose fat, but that’s a different discussion will stay on track here.
Anyway, this claim that cardio or exercise of any kind is terrible for losing weight or even losing fat in particular and just doesn’t work. That’s just contrarian, click bait nonsense that doctors, journalists, and fitness gurus are using to get clicks and get people to buy their things. Because while it’s.
That if you exercise a lot without also managing your calorie intake properly, without making sure you’re in a calorie deficit, you’re not gonna lose any weight to speak of. Yes, that’s true. But of course that’s not how it is described. That’s not how these people are. Pitching their solution, which usually comes down to restrictive dieting or taking special supplements or doing very specific types of exercises and so forth.
So basically these people are throwing the baby out with the bath water, by saying that exercise is just useless for weight loss under all circumstances, because if you know how to maintain a calorie deficit, then exercising will. Help you lose fat a lot faster. And if you’re also training your muscles, it’ll help you improve your body composition even more by either adding muscle.
If you’re new to resistance training, while you’re in a calorie deficit, you can gain muscle while in a calorie deficit. If you’re new or minimally, it’ll help you just maintain the muscle you have. If you’re a more experienced weightlifter, what’s more, you’ll find that when you know what you’re doing, when you’re restricting your calories, let’s say aggressively, but.
Recklessly. So maybe a 20 ish percent calorie deficit, and you’re eating plenty of protein and plenty of nutritious foods, plenty of fiber drinking, water, getting off sleep. What you’ll find is cutting is not only faster. When you add exercise into the mix, it’s also. Easier. It’s easier physically. It’s easier psychologically.
So let’s just say that you’re maintaining a 500 calorie deficit per day, right? So you’re shooting for a pound ish of fat loss per week. That’s pretty standard. What you’ll find is if you are, let’s say burning several hundred calories a day with exercise, you’re doing some sort of workout every day.
Maybe you’re doing a mixture. Strength training and cardio. And in that cardio, it’s a mixture of some moderate, or maybe even high intensity stuff, as well as some low intensity stuff. So you’re giving your body a break, but you’re staying active every day. So maybe your low intensity day is okay. There’s no strength training on that day, but you’re gonna take a 45 minute walk.
So you’re gonna burn a couple of hundred calories on that walk. What you’ll find is if you do that, you are going to have a. Easier and more enjoyable time than if you didn’t do the exercise and you just maintained a 500 calorie deficit by restricting your calories or lowering your calories even more.
And there are physiological reasons for that, that we don’t have to go into here, but just know that when you understand how to cut properly, adding exercise into your regimen makes it easier to lose fat faster. And more enjoyable. Now, a common claim made against the usefulness of cardio in the context of weight loss is that it doesn’t really burn that many calories.
It doesn’t burn enough calories to matter because all it takes is an apple, for example, and, oh, you’ve eaten all the calories back from your cardio workout and yeah, maybe that’s true of a, Short’s very light cardio workout. If you go walk your dog for 20 minutes, you’re not gonna burn very many calorie.
But what if you’re willing to work a bit harder than that, let’s say you were to go on a moderately difficult bike ride or a run let’s say, or a hike or whatever, but one where you could have a discussion, but it’s gonna be in shorter sentences and you’re gonna have to stop to catch your breath and your heart’s gonna be pumping.
It’s not an all out. I’m gonna throw up type of intensity, but it’s tough. That type of exercise actually burns a lot more calories than many people realize. Many weight loss gurus would like to admit, and before we get into specific numbers, I think it’s worth taking a moment to just go over how scientists calculate, how many calories people burn while they’re working out.
There are many methods out there, but one of the most accurate ones in the literature is known as indirect. CALT tree. And that involves capturing and analyzing the gases that people breathe out in order to estimate how many calories they’re burning while doing different activities. Now, as you can imagine, this gives you very reliable data on calorie expenditure, but it’s pain in the ass.
You have to be in a lab and you need to be supervised by experts and so forth. And that’s why. Clever scientist came up with a system based on data from studies using indirect telemetry. And this system is known as the metabolic equivalent of task. Often just referred to as M E T. And what this does is it allows you to estimate how many calories you are burning based on your body weight and the intensity and duration of what you’re doing.
And one. M E T I’ll just call it a met one, met represents how much energy you burn per kilogram of body weight per minute at rest. So that’s the baseline, your weight and kilograms and the duration of time at rest. And once you know how many Mets you burn during an activity, you can plug in your body, weight and the duration in hours to see how many calories you’re burning during an activity.
And if you want to find. Met scores of a wide variety of activities. Just look up the compendium of physical activities, tracking guide. You can find that online and it has all kinds of stuff in there. And here are a few examples. So sleeping gets a score of 0.9. So that’s the met value of sleeping. Typing at your desk gets 1.8 walking at a slow pace across flat terrain gets a two cycling at a leisurely pace.
That’s about 10 miles an hour gets a four intense weight lifting. Power lifting or body building bigger, lean or stronger, for example, or thin lean or stronger, that gets a six. And so on. Now what you can do is you can take those met values and then figure out how many calories you’re burning during whatever activity that you’re using the value for, with a pretty simple formula, which is the met value times.
You’re weight in kilograms, times the hours of activity, that’s it. You multiply those things together and then you get. Amount of calories burned. So let’s look at an example of this. Let’s figure out how many calories I burn during an intense weightlifting workout. So weightlifting has a met value of six.
I weigh 191 pounds, which is about 87 kilograms and my workouts are about an hour or so, maybe a little bit longer. And so what does that give us? We go 87 times, six times one, five hundred and twenty two. So about 500 calories per hour. And then I could do the same thing for my cardio session as well, which is a 30 ish minute session, most mornings.
Now that I’m just at home working and working out from home, I’m not driving. So I figured I’d just use that extra time to do some moderate intensity cardio for the reasons that you’re gonna be learning about in this podcast. And you could just look up the met value of. Moderate intensity cardio multiplied by in this case, it would be 87 kilograms for me multiplied by 0.5, cuz I do about 30 minutes of it and I would have now the approximate number of calories that I burn in my cardio sessions.
I could then. Add that to the weight lifting sessions. And I would have a pretty good idea of how many calories I’m burning through vigorous activity every day. And then I could take my resting metabolic rate or my basal metabolic rate. Those aren’t exactly the same, but it just depends. It doesn’t really matter which one you use.
I generally go with the basal metabolic rate and that’s what you’ll find in most, if not all of the calculators [email protected]etics.com and you add now the calories burn through vigorous physical activity to. The BMR and we’re getting now close. We’re getting close to my true calorie expenditure every day.
Now we do have to add a little bit more though, because I am also moving around. Not that much. Obviously I sit a lot to write and to record podcasts and do my daily work, but I do make a point of getting up at least every hour, max, two hours just to move around if I have. Take a call or make a call, then I’m probably gonna stand up and I’m gonna go walk around maybe a little bit outside, get in the sun.
And that of course adds up if I have to go up and down the stairs in my house several times, which I do, I have to go down the stairs to get water, to fill up my little water flak, and then go up the stairs. So I am burning a bit more but it’s not too many. And for that, you could also just turn to the met system.
Just go, okay, fine. This is low intensity. Cardios, what is very low intensity cardio let’s find something like just walking on the met scale and estimate. All right. I probably do an hour or so of additional walking per day. Let’s add that to the calories that we’ve already worked out, and that is gonna be.
Really probably the best guess as to my true total daily energy expenditure, which I’m not gonna nail perfectly. It’s a moving target. And no matter how we go about this, it is an estimate, but fortunately, we just need to be accurate enough. We don’t have to hit the bullseye in our dieting. We just have to be close enough.
Let’s say if we’re within five, Maybe 10%. Ten’s a little bit higher. I would like to say five, 5% of our actual TDE E and then if we are within 5% of that in our actual eating, in the day to day, we’re good. We’ll be able to do whatever we want with our body composition. Anyway, getting back on track here to the usefulness of the met system, if you use it properly.
And the major mistake that people make is just overestimating the intensity of the activity. Like the duration is easy enough to track, but if you are assuming that, or you’re just telling yourself that it was more intense than it actually was, of course, that can throw off the results because we are dealing with multiplication here.
But if you use. Properly research shows that it can be quite accurate. For example, when scientists at the university of Mississippi used indirect telemetry to measure the calorie expenditure of weightlifters, what they found is that doing four sets of eight reps of deadlifts, four hard sets. These were weightlifters with about 386 pounds.
Average burned about a hundred calories. All right. Let’s look at that in the context of the met system. So let’s say that you did that in a workout. You’re probably gonna be resting a few minutes, maybe three or four minutes in between each set. If you know what you’re doing and that’ll total about 12 or 15 minutes for the sets and the.
Interset rest periods. And if you carried on doing that for an hour, which I do not recommend, but if you did, according to this paper, you’d burn about four to 500 calories and that’s right in line with what the met formula would predict in terms of energy expenditure for an hour of deadlifting with three to four minute rest periods in between each set.
And we can assume that those numbers are gonna be similar for the squat because the squat uses a lot of muscle mass just. The deadlift does, and they’re gonna be lower for the bench military press at least a little bit lower because those exercises do involve less muscle mass, total muscle mass than the deadlift in the squat.
And we can assume that calorie expenditure is gonna be quite a bit lower than what we just went over four to 500 calories per hour in the case of isolation exercises, like curls side raises and. The because of course those exercises use a lot less muscle mass than something like a deadlift or a squat.
And so if we look then at the composition of a well designed weightlifting workout, like what you’re probably doing, then we go, all so we have a combination here of compound exercises that use more muscle mass and burn more calories. We have our squats and our bench presses and overhead presses and deadlifts.
And then we’re also doing some isolation stuff. Curls and side raises. So a fair estimate would be 300 to 600 calories burned per hour, depending on body weight. Because of course, if you have a 100 pound woman doing an intense weightlifting workout, she’s gonna burn a lot fewer calories. Unfortunately for the a hundred pound women out there, they’re burning a lot fewer calories than a 200 pound guy.
And that falls right in line. The met system and its predictions, which again, assigns a value of six to weightlifting. So if weightlifting is a six, and if that seems like an accurate value, which I think it is, let’s look at the met values of different types of cardio and see how they compare. So we have bicycling at a leisurely pace about 10 miles an hour.
If you remember, that was a four and we have running at a moderate pace. So let’s say 10 minute miles or so. That’s a 9.8 and then running at a fast pace. So if you’re doing, let’s say about seven minute miles, that’s pretty fast. That’s a 12.3 and then we have cycling at a fast pace. So that’d be a 16 to maybe 19 mile per hour cycle ride.
That is a 12 playing basketball at a moderate intensity. So let’s say doing drills or scrimmaging, that’s a 6.5 doing a StairMaster. At an intense pace where you’re really working up a sweat, that’s about a nine. And so as you can see, that’s a lot of calories. That’s a lot of calorie expenditure. So let’s use myself as an example.
Again, the leisurely biking that is about 350 calories an hour, the running at a moderate pace. So that 10 minute mile pace is in the mid 800. Calories burned per hour. The fast pace is gonna be 1100 plus calories per hour. And the cycling will be a little bit less. Let’s just call it a thousand, maybe 1,050 calories per hour.
The basketball, the drills scrimmaging. That’s gonna be about 570 to 580 calories per hour, and the StairMaster close to 800 calories per hour. And what that tells us then is according to all that information, if I’m willing to do moderately D. Cardio to maybe even high difficulty in the case of running a fast pace, that’d be pretty hard for me.
I don’t like to run. I’ll do cycling, but I just never liked running, but regardless the point is I can burn 50 to a hundred percent more calories per minute with cardio than I can with weightlifting. And just to really drive the point home, here’s another way of looking at it. I’d have to do 40 sets of deadlift.
With about 400 pounds on the bar doing about eight reps per set. If I even could do that’s what I’d have to do to burn as many calories as I could running or cycling at a moderately difficult pace for about an hour. And what’s more even an hour of light cardio. So let’s say a difficulty level of let’s.
Three out of 10. So you can hold a conversation. Maybe you have to stop to catch your breath. Let’s say uphill walking on a relatively low incline, something like that, or light hiking, that type of activity, which causes no muscle damage. And doesn’t cut into your recovery from your strength training whatsoever.
And in fact may even enhance your recovery from your strength training. We’ll burn in an hour about the same amount of calorie. As a grueling 40 set deadlift session. Okay. So the key takeaway here is the claim that cardio just doesn’t really burn that many calories, no matter what you do. And that weightlifting burns many more is basically fake news.
If you are willing to work moderately hard in. Cardio workouts in terms of intensity and duration, you can burn a lot of calories so much so that it can be the difference between continuing to lose fat and not, especially if you’ve been cutting for a while and you can no longer drop your calories anymore without running into major problems.
That basically leaves adding cardio to continue losing fat. And fortunately it is very effective if you’re willing to work hard enough in those workouts. All right. Let’s move on and talk about cardio versus weightlifting for cardiovascular health, because as the name suggests. Cardio workouts probably improve your cardiovascular health, right?
And yes they do, they can dramatically improve your heart health, but weightlifting can as well. And recent research indicates that you can get many of the same cardiovascular benefits. Of cardio by just lifting weights. Which should you do? My answer is boats. What I do, what I’ve been doing for a long time and what I recommended my books and articles and so forth.
And there are a few reasons. The first one is a combination of cardio and weightlifting has been shown in research to be better for lowering blood pressure than just cardio or. Weightlifting alone. The second point is that doing cardio and weightlifting together in an exercise regimen is also better for improving cholesterol levels than just doing cardio or weightlifting alone.
The third point is the same effect has been seen with lowering LDL or. Bad as it’s generally referred to. It’s not that simple, but you don’t want high levels of LDL cholesterol. That’s definitely true. So the combination of cardio and weightlifting has been shown to be better for lowering LDL cholesterol levels and raising HDL cholesterol levels.
That’s the quote unquote good cholesterol. The fourth point is research shows that cardio increases capillary density and blood flow more than weightlifting. And the fifth and final point is cardio enhances arterial health, more than weightlifting. So let’s briefly talk about each of these points, just so you understand really what they mean for your body.
Let’s talk about the blood pressure. Point first. So high blood pressure also referred to as hypertension significantly increases the risk of a whole host of diseases and scientists have known for some time now. There’s research going back to the sixties on this, that. People who do cardio regularly are less likely to develop high blood pressure.
And since the sixties, pretty much every major meta-analysis on the topic has found the same thing. When you do cardio consistently, your blood pressure drops significantly. And this is true of lower intensity, cardio, longer duration, cardio as well as higher intensity and shorter duration stuff. So the bottom line is if you want to have healthy blood pressure levels, cardio is going to help period.
Now what about weightlifting? Research shows that it too can reduce blood pressure quite a bit. And in some cases about as much as cardio, but studies have shown that the best way to lower. Blood pressure when it’s too high is to do both to lift weights, train your muscles really is the point through some sort of resistance strain.
Doesn’t have to be weightlifting. It could be using machines. For example, it could even be body weight stuff if you’re new to it, but training your muscles and doing cardio. So a good example of this comes from a study conducted by scientists at the university of Illinois. And what they did is the researchers.
They divided 69 overweight, sedentary, middle aged and elderly men and women. With high blood pressure into four groups. So group one lifted weights for an hour, three days per week, group two did cardio for an hour, three days per week, group three did 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of weight lifting three days per week.
So still just an hour of exercise. And the fourth group did no exercise of any kind that was the control group and the researchers. They took a variety. Measurements, including blood pressure, resting, heart rate, body mass index, BMI body composition VO two max, which is a good proxy for aerobic fitness, as well as bench and leg press one rep max readings Warners before and after the study.
And the researchers also coached all of the participants on healthy eating habits and had them track their food intake for three days at the beginning and at the end of the study and after eight weeks. The scientists found is the only group that experienced a significant decrease in blood pressure was group three.
The one that had the people doing the cardio and the weightlifting. So the weightlifting only group did not experience any statistically significant drop in average blood pressure and the cardio only group experienced just a small drop. Again, the best results. The biggest results were in the combination.
Group. And it’s also worth noting that the combination group also lost more fat than the other three groups, and they gained almost the same amount of strength as the weightlifting only group and improved their cardiovascular fitness. Almost as much as the cardio. Only group. The researchers also acknowledged that looking at a single measure, like blood pressure, doesn’t tell you the whole story when it comes to your cardiovascular health.
So they used an algorithm to calculate the overall cumulative benefit of each exercise protocol. And when they analyzed that data, they found that the combined group, the cardio and weightlifting group experienced more cumulative benefits. All cardiovascular outcomes as indicated by this composite score.
So in other words, by combining cardio and weightlifting, but doing quite a bit less of each than the other groups, right? Cuz you had the other groups doing an hour of weightlifting or an hour of cardio and the combo group did 30 minutes of each. But by combining them, these people were not only able to significantly improve their blood pressure, but they were also able to significantly improve their cardiovascular health in other ways.
Okay, let’s move on to this next point that we discussed earlier, which is cholesterol and the power of cardio plus weightlifting to improve cholesterol levels. And I mentioned this earlier, but just to quickly recap, when I, when we’re talking about cholesterol levels, when your doctor talks about cholesterol levels, what we’re looking at is total cholesterol, HDL, and LDL.
And while you generally want your total. Cholesterol levels to be, eh, below around 200 milligrams per deciliter or so mg slash DL. If you’ve seen that, doctors will also look at your ratio of HDL to LDL and sometimes your total to HDL ratio as well, which some studies have suggested is even more important as far as heart health than your total cholesterol levels.
Now I mentioned earlier, LDL cholesterol is generally referred to as the bad cholesterol. And in case you’re wondering LDL stands for low density, lipoprotein and HCL high density, lipoprotein, and a lipoprotein is a protein. It’s a substance that combines with and transports fats and other substances in the blood.
It transports cholesterol, for example. And so anyway, LDL cholesterol generally considered. HDL generally considered good. And for good reason, because research shows that high levels of LDL in the blood is associated with heart disease. Whereas high levels of HDL in the blood is not associated with heart disease and actually is generally considered protective against heart disease.
So good fear of hard help. Now what about cardio and weightlifting? Research shows that both of these types of training can help raise your HDL and lower. Your total and LDL cholesterol levels. So very good for your heart, but if you want the best effects, if you want the biggest effects, then you want to combine them.
That tends to be the most effective. Additionally studies have shown that higher intensity workouts, both cardio and weightlifting tend to be better for these purposes, lowering cholesterol and well lowering total and LDL. Cholesterol levels and raising HDL. So you wanna be working hard in your workouts.
They don’t have to be all out, nine out of 10 or 10 out of 10 intensity type of workouts, but you gotta be working hard to reap the maximal benefits in terms of cholesterol levels and duration matters as well. There was a study conducted by scientists from the duke university medical center that found a dose response relationship between HDL cholesterol levels and overall activity levels.
So what these researchers found is that the more people exercised the higher their HDL cholesterol levels were. And so the takeaway here really is if you want to have the best cholesterol levels, you possibly can, one of the best ways to do. Is to do a lot of exercise, really do as much as you can without pushing things too far.
So to put numbers to that, my general recommendations are, let’s say three to six hours of training your muscles per week. Of course I’m partial to weightlifting, but you can do other things. If weightlifting doesn’t suit you, or if you can’t lift weights, for whatever reason, training your muscles is the key.
And then probably about half of whatever you’re doing in terms of training your muscles in cardio. And if we’re talking about a sweet spot, I would say probably five to six hours of training your muscles every week and a couple of hours, two to three hours of cardio per week, that is going to work wonders for your body, for your heart health and for pretty much every important physiological process in your body.
And every organ, just everything is gonna run better. If you do that.
Hey, before we continue. If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, and if you wanna help me help more people get into the best shape of their lives. Please do consider picking up one of my best selling health and fitness books. My most popular ones are bigger. Leaner stronger for men, thinner, leaner, stronger for women.
My flexible dieting cookbook, the shredded. And my 100% practical hands on blueprint for personal transformation, the little black book of workouts. Motivation. Now these books have sold well over 1 million copies and have helped thousands of people build their best body ever. And you can find them anywhere online, where you can buy books like Amazon.
Audible iTunes, Cobo and Google play as well as in select Barnes and noble stores. So again, that is bigger, leaner, stronger for men, thinner, leaner, stronger for women, the shredded chef and the little black book of workout motivation. Oh, and one other thing is you can get any one of those audio books, 100% free when you.
For an audible account, and that’s a great way to make those pockets of downtime like commuting meal, prepping and cleaning more interesting, entertaining, and productive. Now, if you want to take audible up on that offer and get one of my audio books for free, just go to Legion athletics.com/audible, and sign up for your account.
Okay, next up on the list of benefits that I shared with you earlier is capillary density. And that cardio increases this more than weight lifting. So what am I talking about? Capillaries are microscopic blood vessels in your body and they deliver oxygen and nutrients and hormones and other.
Compounds other stuff to cells everywhere in the body. Now, as you can imagine, capillary health and density are strong indicators of overall health and fitness and a decrease in capillary health and density is associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, and even a decline in brain function because of course blood flow is vital for everything that needs to happen with our body.
And there is very little. Research on how weightlifting affects capillary density, but scientists have known for decades. Now that cardio can benefit us greatly. In this regard, for example, in a study that was conducted by scientists at the university of Birmingham, the researchers, they divided 16, 21 year old.
Men who were sedentary into two groups, group one did 40 to 60 minutes of continuous, moderate intensity cycling five times per week. And then group two did four to six 32nd all out sprints with about four and a half minutes of easy cycling in between each and after six weeks. Group one, the moderate intensity group increased their capillary density by 32% and group two increased it.
27% major improvements over a short period of time, just six weeks and many other studies have found the same thing. There is no question. Cardio is good for capillary health and density. And unfortunately, as I mentioned, there isn’t much research on how weightlifting can impact capillary density and health.
The data that we do have is not very impressive. For example, scientists at Liverpool, John Moore’s university found that lifting weights three times per week for six weeks, did not improve capillary density at all in men who were very similar to those who participated in the cardio study. So these were 20 year old.
Sedentary men. All right, next up is arterial health. And this is a biggie because doctors have been saying for a long time that we are as old as our arteries. And that’s why arterial health is regarded as one of the best barometer of our general cardiovascular health and a blocked artery. Heart attack is still.
The most common cause of death among American men. And one of the main signs of a healthy artery is its ability to expand and contract as blood flow increases and then decreases. And so when the heart is pumping more blood. Throughout the body. We want the arteries to widen and allow the blood to pass through faster.
And when the heart is pumping less blood, we want our arteries to constrict. Now what can happen though is due to various causes, it could be unhealthy living. It could be just getting older. It could be some sort of disease. Our arteries can become too stiff and. When that happens, it places excess strain on the heart, which then increases the chances of a heart attack.
And that’s why arterial stiffness is associated with a whole host of cardiovascular problems like hypertension left, ventricular hypertrophy, ischemic, heart disease. And congestive heart failure and research shows that arterial stiffness can be used to reliably predict heart attacks in otherwise healthy adults.
So we want to make sure that our arteries don’t get stiff. What’s the best way to do that. Cardio. So an excellent example of this comes from a study conducted by scientists at new castle university, where the researchers parsed through 42 different studies that looked at the effects of resistance training and cardio on markers of arterial stiffness, and across the board.
Cardio. One cardio significantly reduced markers of arterial stiffness with higher intensity cardio, particularly associated with benefits. So that’s where they saw the biggest benefits. Whereas resistance training seem to have no effect at all on markers of arterial stiffness. Now you might have heard that weightlifting is actually bad in this regard.
They can increase Arteri. Stiffness. And you might have come across some studies that seem to show that, and that was a concern for some time, but more recent research has shown that those concerns are probably overblown if not completely wrong. So for example, one study that was conducted by scientists at federal university of Rio Grande do soul.
I think I’m pronouncing that correct. My Brazilian is not very good. the researchers pointed out that although weightlifting may worsen some markers of arterial health, it definitely improves others and it still tends to improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure. So what we might be looking at here is a kind of false positive type of situation where.
Weight lifting the results. Look, quote unquote, bad on tests of just arterial stiffness. But when you look at the overall effect on your cardiovascular system, it’s good. And other studies it’s worth noting have also found that resistance training does not negatively affect arterial stiffness. Now, regardless.
Of where weightlifting falls ultimately in the scheme of arterial stiffness. Here’s what we do know if there are any negative side effects of just weightlifting by itself on arterial stiffness, they are definitely eliminated. If you also just do cardio, for example, a study conducted by scientists at the national Institute of health and nutrition in Japan found that adding cardio to a weightlifting program completely wiped.
The increase in arterial stiffness that occurred in the people who were just lifting weights. All right. Those are the main cardiovascular related reasons to add cardio to your weight lifting program or to your exercise or training regimen. And there’s one other biggie that I want to cover, and that is insulin sensitivity because the less sensitive our body is, our cells are to the hormone.
Insulin the higher, the risk of many, not just bad, but like life threatening conditions, like cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure and kidney disease. And of course diabetes and while weight loss is one of the most effective ways to improve insulin sensitivity. So if somebody’s overweight, the best thing they can do to improve their insulin sensitivity is to just lose weight, to get into a healthy.
I like to focus more on body composition, cuz that matters more so to get their body composition into a healthy range, which of course is gonna mean lose a lot of the excess fat and ideally they would gain some muscle as well. So that is the best way to increase insulin sensitivity in somebody who’s overweight.
But if they add exercise into the program as well, they’re going to improve their insulin sensitivity a lot more. And the same goes for people who are not overweight as well. Even people who are. Exercise can dramatically improve insulin sensitivity levels. A good example of this comes from a study conducted by scientists at the university of Vermont.
And in this case, the researchers divided 51 young. So between 18 and 35 years old sedentary, healthy women into three groups group one was an endurance training group that followed a periodized running program that involved three runs per week. And the. Duration and or intensity changed each week. So that was the periodization group.
Two was a strength training group that followed a full body workout split three times per week using weights that were pretty heavy, about 80% of one rep max that’s body building. That’s basically strength training actually. And they did increase the weights throughout the study. So there was progression in the lifting as well.
And then you had a. Third group. That was a control group, no exercise. And after six months, what these scientists found is that both the cardio and the weightlifting groups had improved their insulin sensitivity, but the cardio group improved it quite a bit more specifically, what they found is the absolute insulin sensitivity.
So this would be how many milligrams of glucose, the participants’ bodies were able to gobble up per minute. Went up by about 50% in both cases. So it was pretty similar between the resistance training and the cardio groups. However, the scientists also looked at relative insulin sensitivity for both of the groups.
So that would be how many milligrams of glucose their body could process. Per minute per kilogram of muscle mass. And this is important because it gives you a better indication of how well their muscles could utilize glucose. And in this regard, the cardio group still improved significantly, but the weightlifting group only slightly, it wasn’t even enough to be statistically significant and.
This is an important point. So I want to go into a little bit more detail here, because one of the ways your body processes glucose, and this is also synonymously referred to as blood sugar, right? Is that your body pulls it outta the bloodstream and then it packages it. Into molecules of glycogen and then stores it in the muscles and the liver.
And the more muscle you have, the more glycogen you’re able to store and the more glucose then you can pull out of your blood. And that of course helps you maintain healthy blood glucose levels. And in this study that we just discussed, the weightlifting group gained about four pounds of muscle. Whereas the cardio group gain.
None, which means that the weightlifting group ended the study with a larger bank, so to speak for their glucose, so their body could store glucose in. And that’s good, of course. And that’s part of why the weightlifters did experience an improvement in insulin sensitivity. However, that’s interesting because the cardio group did not gain muscle.
But got significantly more efficient at processing glucose. Whereas the people who were lifting weights didn’t seem to get more efficient at all. They just had a bit more muscle, which allowed them to process a bit more glucose. So you can think of it this way. Insulin sensitivity is like a gas mileage for your car.
You want to get as much mileage you want to get as. Glucose storing ability, glucose processing ability out of every drop of insulin that your body has to produce as you can. And in the study, we just discussed the weight lifting, gave the participants a bigger gas tank, right? So that’s more muscle mass in which they can store glucose.
Whereas the cardio improved their mileage, it made their muscles run more efficiently and suck. More glucose with less insulin. And another interesting point in this study is researchers saw these improvements without any weight loss or fat loss. And we know that losing fat definitely improves insulin sensitivity, but we also know as evidenced by this study and others that exercise and especially cardio.
Is so powerful in this regard that it can improve insulin sensitivity even without fat loss. And so what that means then is we can combine weightlifting and cardio to dramatically improve our insulin sensitivity, regardless of whether we’re losing weight or not. Now, of course, if you have a lot of excess body fat, I would recommend losing the weight.
But if you don’t, if you have a healthy body composition, then you can, let’s say you’re lifting right now and you’re not doing cardio. You could add cardio and add a bit of food, add some calories to your meal plan. If you don’t want to cut, if you wanna still let’s say you’re just in a maintenance mode by adding the cardio, you are going to experience even better.
Insulin sensitivity again, without. Having to lose weight. All right. So that covers basically everything I wanted to share with you in my pitch to get you to start doing cardio, because while both weightlifting and cardio do offer many of the same health benefits, they both can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
They can both boost insulin sensitivity, they burn calories, which of course helps you lose weight or maintain your desired body composition. There are some benefits that you can only. From one or the other. So weightlifting or resistance training of any kind of course is far superior. Cardio doesn’t even help you gain muscle and strength really, unless maybe if you’re doing very hard sprints running or cycling, that probably will result in some muscle gain in your legs if you’re new to it.
But resistance training is where it’s at for gaining muscle and strength. And of course, resistance training also helps you maintain. Muscle and strength when you’re losing fat much better than cardio basically does not. Again. Maybe it’s gonna help a little bit in the legs depending on what you’re doing, but then on the other hand, cardio is unique in that it improves capillary density and reduces arterial stiffness, which weightlifting doesn’t appear to have much of an impact on it.
All and cardio also improves insulin sensitivity more than weightlifting. And if you’re willing to work at, it burns a lot of calories anywhere from 50 to a hundred percent, more calories per unit of time than weightlifting, which of course will significantly speed up fat loss. If you’re cutting and will also just make it easier to maintain your desire.
Body composition because you just get to eat plenty of food and feel satisfied and have plenty of energy. So let’s wrap up with a quick little summary of how to best combine cardio and weightlifting. I mentioned this earlier, but I recommend three to six hours of resistance training, ideally weightlifting per week.
And no more than half of the time you’re putting into your resistance training. Cardio per week. So if you’re doing five to six hours of weight lifting per week, no more than, let’s say two to three hours of cardio per week. And in terms of what types of cardio, I recommend a combination of cardio low intensity, moderate, and high intensity.
If you really wanna reap. The maximum benefits that cardio has to offer, you would do a combination. Don’t just do high intensity stuff. If you’re one of those types of people who really likes to push the envelope, because while you certainly can burn a lot of calories with hit and there certainly are plenty of health benefits, it also is tough on the body.
And if you do too much of it, it will. Into your recovery from your strength training workouts, it will start to interfere with your progress in your strength training. And that really should be your priority is getting stronger over time, increasing your whole body strength over time. That should be 80% of your focus in your exercise really should be that.
And then you supplement that with cardio. So to be specific, let’s say up. Two low intensity cardio workouts per week up to let’s say 45 minutes per session, as well as one moderate intensity cardio session per week. Maybe up to 45 minutes as well as one high intensity session per week, which I would limit to probably 20 or 25 minutes.
And I would not do any sort of high. Activity in that hit session. I wouldn’t do it for the moderate either, but I really would not recommend it for the hit. So don’t go run sprints on the asphalt because that is going to blow your legs up. It’s gonna blow your hip flexors up. I’ve been there myself and eventually again with your squatting, your deadlift.
And your high impact high intensity cardio, your lower body is going to suffer. And if you’re wondering what is low intensity, exactly what is moderate intensity? Let’s say that on a scale of one to 10, low intensity is like a one, two, a three. So it tops out at the level of exertion where you can have a conversation.
But you have to stop to catch your breath. You can’t speak like I’m speaking right now with no exertion whatsoever. So we’re talking about, outside going for a brisk walk, a light cycling session, about 10 miles an hour or so it could be rowing. It could be hiking, whatever, but using the talk test is actually a pretty accurate way to understand how hard you’re working.
And then when you get into the moderate intensity range, let’s say it’s like a four to a. Out of 10 and that tops out at where you can’t really have an ongoing conversation, you can speak in short sentences, but you have to stop and catch your breath regularly. And then with high intensity stuff, there is no talking.
You’re just trying to make it through. You’re just looking forward to your rest interval and you certainly cannot have a conversation. All right. That is it. That’s everything. I hope you found this podcast helpful. And I hope to. Be able to speak to you in the next. All right. That’s it for today’s episode.
I hope you found it interesting and helpful. And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, could you please leave a quick review for the podcast on iTunes or wherever you are listening from? Because those reviews not only convince people that they should check out the show, they also increase the search.
Visibil. And help more people find their way to me and to the podcast and learn how to build their best body ever as well. And of course, if you wanna be notified, when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast and whatever app you’re using to listen. And you will not miss out on any of the new stuff that I have coming.
And last. You didn’t like something about the show then definitely shoot me an email at Mike muscle for life.com and share your thoughts. Let me know how you think I could do this better. I read every email myself and I’m always looking for constructive feedback. All right. Thanks again for listening to this episode.
And I hope to hear from you soon.
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