Ask The Trainer #19 – Steady-State Cardio


Chad my name is Darrin. My question is about cardio. I keep hearing that steady state cardio is not worth doing. Some trainers say just use shorter rest periods in between weight sessions. I still like to do 35-40 minutes of cardio.


Hi, Darrin.

I recommend cardio sessions not extending much beyond 20 minutes. If not…

This is pretty much what you can expect to occur:

  1. Your metabolism will actually slow down.
  2. Your cortisol levels will begin to elevate rapidly, putting your body in a catabolic state where muscle tissue is being broken down.
  3. Your testosterone levels will also fall as a result of rising cortisol levels.
  4. Your body will fail to release< human growth hormone when you’re performing cardio because you won’t be activating the “super-fast” muscle fibers that trigger HGH release.
Unless you have a medical condition preventing you from exercising with higher intensity, you should perform HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) instead of cardio training.Chad Shaw

Almost any form of exercise is beneficial to your metabolism. However, research has shown HIIT to be superior to other forms.

In fact, here are some important benefits associated with HIIT:

  1. Your metabolism will speed up and potentially remain elevated for 24 hours after you’ve finished exercising.
  2. Your testosterone levels will increase and may also remain elevated for hours beyond the end of your workout.
  3. You’ll experience a nice boost in your Human Growth Hormone levels. They will also remain higher for hours after you’ve finished training.

You probably already know that HIIT involves performing a lower intensity bout of exercise alternated with a maximal intensity bout of exercise.

By maximal, I mean 100% effort, which most people can really only achieve for 30-60 seconds. I’ve found alternating 3-minute low-intensity intervals with 1-minute high-intensity intervals for 20 minutes total to be a very productive way of performing HIIT.

By the way, you should always begin with the low-intensity interval to get your body warmed up first.

Give this a try for the next 2 -3 weeks. I think you will really see and feel a difference!

Prove ‘Em Wrong,
Chad Shaw

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