Centr Team

Busted: 5 of the biggest cardio myths

Centr Team

Cardio (or cardiovascular) training is anything that raises your heart rate, and for reasons unrelated to body temperature, it seems to get a lot of people hot under the collar.

Muscle-building bros don’t want to touch it. Others overdo it, like hamsters on a wheel. But all the fiction you’ve heard about cardio could be holding your fitness progress back. It’s time to bust a few myths so you can smash out your favorite cardio workouts, safe in the knowledge that you’re doing it for the right reasons.

1. You need to do cardio to lose weight

Weight loss comes down to a calorie (or energy) deficit. It’s a battle of calories in vs calories out: basically, the calories you consume in the form of food and drink need to be lower than the calories you burn through exercise, regular movement, and simply existing. So while cardio exercise may help you burn calories, it is by no means the only factor.

Looking to shift some weight? Cardio can help, but don’t forget about your old pal strength training! Lifting weights can trigger something called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) – sending your body into a raised metabolic state in order to restore itself back to pre-exercise mode. The best bit? You burn more calories in the process.

2. Cardio kills muscle gains

Nope! No matter how many times the dudes at the weight racks tell you this, it is not a golden rule decreed by the gods of muscle-building. But you might want to prioritize certain types of cardio if you’re looking to mix up your training routine. When Chris Hemsworth is bulking, he swears by functional training for active recovery and to maintain mobility. This is why functional workouts are a key part of the Centr Power training schedule.

If you’re building muscle by following the Planner, your training week also includes a functional workout with Da Rulk, and a HIIT HIRT Strength session (strength-based training which activates your cardiovascular system).

Along with sprint drills or boxing (which build up fast-twitch muscles), it’s better to prioritize these forms of cardio to maintain muscle, rather than slow, steady cardio like long-distance running or swimming laps.

Take your cardio training Through the Roof with Bobby’s plyometric workouts.

3. You need to sweat heavily for it to count

Sweat certainly makes it look like you’ve been working hard, but it’s not always indicative of a ‘good’ workout. In fact, the only thing sweat can tell us for sure is that your body is trying to cool itself down. Take walking for example – it’s one of the most accessible forms of cardio exercise, even if it doesn’t make you drenched. A clearer sign of how hard you’re exerting yourself during exercise is an elevated heart rate or your ability to hold a conversation. You’ll know you’re really pushing it if you’re too puffed to get more than a few words out.

4. Cardio will get you 'toned'

Cardio will burn calories, but the only way to get ‘toned’ or sculpted is muscle development through strength training. You’ll find several short-term workout programs on Centr that blend cardio and strength training to help you burn fat and improve muscle definition. Centr Unlimited progresses through 3 phases, first burning fat, then toning and building strength and definition through bodyweight resistance exercises. Both Centr 6 and its follow-up program Centr 6: Phase II combine cardio and dumbbell exercises into HIIT/HIRT style circuits, harnessing the power of repetition to boost muscle gains. You could also try Centr Fusion, which combines strength training, BoxHIIT, dynamic yoga and mindfulness. You’ll find them all in the Programs section.

Also look for workouts from Luke, Ashley and Bobby on Centr combining HIIT, HIRT and Strength to get both your heart pumping and your muscles growing.

5. Cardio is pointless

Once again, don’t believe the gym bros: cardio is essential. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity to maintain good health. Regular cardio not only helps to lower your blood pressure and resting heart rate, it benefits your brain (fighting off age-related decline), joints, endurance levels, blood sugar levels, mood, energy levels and sleep.

So, have you done your 150 minutes this week? If the answer is no, here are 5 cardio workouts you can smash right now. Ready? GO!

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