There is more than one good way to lose fat. Experts widely recommend a balance of cardio and strength training with additional proper nutrition for reducing body fat. But there may more than one (And not necessarily positive) effects of cardio on our body.To find what may be the implications, Rondel King, MS, CSCS, an exercise physiologist at NYU Langone's Sports Performance Center dispelled out some truths about the big C word.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine reported that cardiovascular forms of exercise like walking, swimming, cycling, and stair climbing reduced type 2 diabetes, some cancers, falls, osteoporotic fractures, and depression. According to the study, cardio also helped in an improvement in physical function, weight management, cognitive function, and enhancement of the quality of life. Cardio showed benefits to health overall, but the same couldn’t be said about the fat loss.
Rondel said, “If you're continuously doing long, drawn-out cardio and you're trying to lose weight than that could be counterproductive because that may be catabolic to your overall system," Catabolic means the process of breaking down tissues. He further said excess of cardio could mean an increase in stress hormones, such as cortisol. This means excess cardio helps one lose weight but also lose muscle mass.
To prevent this from happening, Rondel recommended high-intensity-interval-training (HIIT) because, "It gives you a hormonal response that's conducive to muscle growth, and it's more anabolic — where you're developing tissue, muscles, collagen, cartilage, things of that nature," In his glowing recommendation for HIIT, he also added that it produces precursors to things like testosterone and growth hormone and things that will potentially help you increase your lean muscle mass.
Rondel also recommended strength training along with cardio but concluded by pointing out our bodies are different and react to different exercise forms differently. He said, “There's a lot of variabilities, we're all different, and our bodies will respond differently to these hormonal responses."