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The science is in and spending hours on the treadmill, or any form of cardio for that matter, is NOT giving you the workout that you think it is.  It is no wonder that those cardio kings and cardio queens spend hours each week pounding away on their cardio machine and never seem to look as good as they should.

Here is why:
  • There are 3 distinct types of muscle fibers in the body, Slow Twitch, Fast Twitch A and Fast Twitch B.  When you do long bouts of even intensity cardio exercise you use almost no Fast Twitch A and absolutely no Fast Twitch B.  All that you use is the slow twitch muscle.
  • Slow Twitch muscles contract at a rate of 1/3 the speed of Fast Twitch A and 1/10 the speed of Fast Twitch B.  They are designed only to go at a speed that can be maintained for great durations.
  • Slow Twitch muscles usually make up only about 30% of your major muscles.  Of course this varies per person and per muscle but that is the average.
  • Slow Twitch muscles have very little impact on the hormones in your body.  Hormones control almost everything in your body including fat burning.
  • Your heart, the cardiac muscle, though different by design also responds with slow and fast twitch muscles.
So here is the deal.  Doing long bouts of cardio will burn some calories, but it will have VERY little impact on your long-term metabolism.  It will have almost no impact on your hormones.  It will not help your heart as much as you think that it will.

There is nothing wrong with doing long bouts of cardio, but fitness is measured in degrees of rightness, and you can be a lot more right then just pounding out miles on the treadmill.

So, if you love doing cardio but want to improve your results then try this.

At least 3 times per workout you need to go so fast that you break the anaerobic threshold.  That means that you need to go faster than you Slow Twitch muscles can make you go.  You will start to use those big Fast Twitch muscles and burning sugar instead of fat.  Do this high intensity for 30 seconds (FYI - if you can go much more than 30 seconds than you are not going fast enough) and then slow it back down to the pace that you were going.  Maintain that pace until you can increase it again for the same duration.  Over time you need to decrease that active rest period to 90 seconds.

Traditionally I would recommend 20-40 grams of protein with about 50 grams of good carbs right after a workout.  Science has shown that those carbohydrates will limit your Growth Hormone response which is a bummer because Growth Hormone really burns fat and boosts your metabolism.  So for the next 3 weeks while you are improving and getting your active rest period down to 90 seconds I want you limit your post workout carbs to no more than 10 grams.

All of this together and you will really get some great results during this holiday season, or anytime for that matter.
  • You will burn more calories
  • You will send a stronger signal for improvement to your body
  • You will get a stronger and faster metabolic response
  • You will increase you metabolism
  • You will get more muscle tone
  • You will lose more weight
  • You will improve your heart health
  • You will be able to do your long-bout cardio at a higher intensity
Basically, if you aren't incorporating this workout style into your life already then you are really doing yourself a dis-service.  So what do you do now?  Make today an action day and do what you have learned!

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