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Does Cardio Even Exist?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 28, 2013 at 4:40 PM

Is "cardio" a myth?

Doug McGuff is a paleo ER doc who says that it doesn't.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_abCD_17lCk

Doesnt look like he's talking about chronic cardio either, but cardio at large.

Ef777978cfeb8fbdd18d75c4f6c4cb23

(1297)

on March 29, 2013
at 09:09 AM

What you can't deny is that McGuff's way of training is highly efficient. He's in a gym for less than 30 mins a week. He's very fit, very strong & I guess inside his bio-markers are excellent. It's way more efficient than lifting 3 times a week or running 5 times a week.

Ef777978cfeb8fbdd18d75c4f6c4cb23

(1297)

on March 29, 2013
at 09:01 AM

I've seen the skill based argument used by weight lifters before but I don't get it. The first time I bench press I can lift x, the second time I can lift x+y. The first time I jog I can run distance a, the second time I jog I can run a+b. Both show adaptation, neither are particularly skillful. The weightlifters argue that being strong is more useful for a range of activities in life and is more healthful. The former may be so, but I don't see evidence for the latter. A weightlifter can't run a 10km and a jogger can't lift 200lb unless they train for it.

1b7a949f4606716e895f9ad567c442b2

(0)

on March 28, 2013
at 07:40 PM

No, they don't. This is a myth. One is just of immensely lower quality. High effort mechanical work with skeletal muscle is the only way to max out the aerobic system. Lightly jogging is literally, poor man's aerobics. It's the worst, least effective kind.

800e726cb5dff569fd8edf604c3e2793

(1655)

on March 28, 2013
at 05:38 PM

@Joey Well, the obvious answer to that is doing exercise for 30 mins and doing exercise for 2 mins train entirely different energy systems (see Crossfit).

1b7a949f4606716e895f9ad567c442b2

(0)

on March 28, 2013
at 05:28 PM

*has the same fundamental effects* Probably more accurate.

1b7a949f4606716e895f9ad567c442b2

(0)

on March 28, 2013
at 05:28 PM

I think Doug would classify jogging as a skill based activity, where as slowly performing a leg press (on an actual leg press machine) for 30 minutes, is not a skill, and yet is the same fundamental thing as jogging. I think Doug builds upon that, theoretically, by saying why leg press for 30 minutes with light weight when you can leg press for 2 minutes straight with moderate/high resistance.

800e726cb5dff569fd8edf604c3e2793

(1655)

on March 28, 2013
at 05:27 PM

To talk about whether weightlifting is "better" than running you need to define what does "better" mean. This is not trivial, there are multiple possible definitions and they will lead to different conclusions.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on March 28, 2013
at 04:41 PM

I've never even heard of a cardio before, is that like a fruit or something?

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1 Answers

3
Ef777978cfeb8fbdd18d75c4f6c4cb23

on March 28, 2013
at 05:20 PM

Well, what he's saying is that the assumption that doing aerobic exercise has a causal link to an improved cardiovascular system is wrong. He's saying it's way more complicated than that and that it's only true to the extent that putting muscles, central nervous system and cells under strain through high quality exercise will improve your metabolic condition.

I'm no scientist, so I couldn't argue with the biology. I like McGuff's stuff, but I struggle with some of the assumptions made by him and his fellow weightlifters. The main one I struggle with is the assumption that weightlifting is somehow better than say, middle distance running. I would say they do different things, but I don't see why jogging is not as good for you as lifting heavy stuff. Is Usain Bolt fitter than Mo Farah? It depends on how you measure fitness. Can Dr McGuff run a 10km race comfortably? I don't know, but I doubt it.

It might be fair to assume that someone who lifts weights has just as healthy a heart as someone who jogs which probably runs against conventional wisdom, but is one or the other better? I'm not sure.

1b7a949f4606716e895f9ad567c442b2

(0)

on March 28, 2013
at 05:28 PM

*has the same fundamental effects* Probably more accurate.

800e726cb5dff569fd8edf604c3e2793

(1655)

on March 28, 2013
at 05:38 PM

@Joey Well, the obvious answer to that is doing exercise for 30 mins and doing exercise for 2 mins train entirely different energy systems (see Crossfit).

1b7a949f4606716e895f9ad567c442b2

(0)

on March 28, 2013
at 05:28 PM

I think Doug would classify jogging as a skill based activity, where as slowly performing a leg press (on an actual leg press machine) for 30 minutes, is not a skill, and yet is the same fundamental thing as jogging. I think Doug builds upon that, theoretically, by saying why leg press for 30 minutes with light weight when you can leg press for 2 minutes straight with moderate/high resistance.

800e726cb5dff569fd8edf604c3e2793

(1655)

on March 28, 2013
at 05:27 PM

To talk about whether weightlifting is "better" than running you need to define what does "better" mean. This is not trivial, there are multiple possible definitions and they will lead to different conclusions.

Ef777978cfeb8fbdd18d75c4f6c4cb23

(1297)

on March 29, 2013
at 09:01 AM

I've seen the skill based argument used by weight lifters before but I don't get it. The first time I bench press I can lift x, the second time I can lift x+y. The first time I jog I can run distance a, the second time I jog I can run a+b. Both show adaptation, neither are particularly skillful. The weightlifters argue that being strong is more useful for a range of activities in life and is more healthful. The former may be so, but I don't see evidence for the latter. A weightlifter can't run a 10km and a jogger can't lift 200lb unless they train for it.

1b7a949f4606716e895f9ad567c442b2

(0)

on March 28, 2013
at 07:40 PM

No, they don't. This is a myth. One is just of immensely lower quality. High effort mechanical work with skeletal muscle is the only way to max out the aerobic system. Lightly jogging is literally, poor man's aerobics. It's the worst, least effective kind.

Ef777978cfeb8fbdd18d75c4f6c4cb23

(1297)

on March 29, 2013
at 09:09 AM

What you can't deny is that McGuff's way of training is highly efficient. He's in a gym for less than 30 mins a week. He's very fit, very strong & I guess inside his bio-markers are excellent. It's way more efficient than lifting 3 times a week or running 5 times a week.

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