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Page 1

CARDIO SUCKS
THE SIMPLE SCIENCE OF LOSING

FAT FAST WITHOUT LOSING MUSCLE

SECOND EDITION

Michael Matthews

Page 2

Copyright © 2015 Oculus Publishers, Inc.

All rights reserved. �is book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used
in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher,
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. �e scanning, uploading,
and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the

permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law.

Please purchase only authorized electronic editions of this book. Don’t participate in
or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. 

�is book is a general educational health-related information product and is intended
for healthy adults age 18 and over.

�is book is intended solely for information and educational purposes and does not
constitute medical advice. Please consult a medical or health professional before you
begin any exercise, nutrition, or supplementation program or if you have questions

about your health.

For people in poor health or with pre-existing physical or mental health conditions,
there may be risks associated with participating in activities or using products

mentioned in this book. Because these risks exist, you should not use the products or
participate in the activities described in this book if you are in poor health or if you
have a pre-existing mental or physical health condition. If you choose to participate
in these activities, you do so knowingly and voluntarily of your own free will and

accord, assuming all risks associated with these activities.

Speci�c results mentioned in this book should be considered extraordinary, and there
are no “typical” results. Because individuals di�er, results will di�er.

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Edited by Kristin Walinski

Published by Oculus Publishers, Inc.

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Visit the author’s website:

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54

You may have noticed that fat in  areas like the lower back and thighs
is slightly colder to the touch than fat in other areas of your body like the arms
or chest. This is simply because there’s less blood flowing through these areas.

Less blood flow to an area means fewer catecholamines are able to reach
the stubborn fat cells, which means even slower fat loss.

So we have a double-whammy of fat-loss hindrance here: large numbers of
fat cells that don’t respond well to catecholamines and reduced blood flow to
keep the catecholamines away.

Now, how does fasted cardio help?
Well, blood flow in the abdominal region is increased when you’re in a

fasted state, which means the catecholamines can reach this stubborn fat easier,
resulting in more mobilization of it.13

This is where I’ve noticed a difference in cutting with and without fasted
training. When I include fasted training (both cardio and weightlifting), the
journey from about nine percent to six percent body fat, where the majority of
the fat you’re losing is the stubborn stuff, is noticeably faster than when I don’t.

WHAT TYPE OF FASTED CARDIO IS BEST?

As you know, I’m a big fan of HIIT, both for fed and fasted training.
Some people say HIIT performed in a fasted state is silly, because fat

oxidation rates are much lower during HIIT exercise.
Well, while it’s true that  fat oxidation rates decline as cardio intensity

increases  (as  glycogen  then becomes the fuel of choice),  there’s more to
consider.14

• Research shows that as you continue to perform regular high-intensity
interval cardio sessions, your muscles learn to use less glycogen during
workouts (thus increasing fat oxidation rates during the workouts),
and your muscle cells also get better and better at oxidizing fats.15

• This latter point is particularly relevant to fasted training as, over time,
HIIT increases the total amount of fatty acids your body is able to
metabolize during workouts.16

• Research  shows that the post-exercise afterburn effect (EPOC) is
greater with HIIT than with LISS cardio (about double, actually: 13
percent vs. seven percent).17

• Research  shows that high-intensity interval cardio is particularly
good for getting rid of stubborn abdominal fat, including dangerous
accumulations of visceral fat.18

Page 71

55HOW i USE FASTED CARDiO TO LOSE FAT FASTER

Given all the above, I think it’s just a no-brainer to choose high-intensity
interval cardio over LISS, fed or fasted. 

WHAT ABOUT FASTED WEIGHTLIFTING?

Weightlifting causes a dramatic spike in plasma catecholamine levels, and
as catecholamines are better able to mobilize fat when you’re in a fasted state,
fasted weightlifting is also a worthwhile fat loss strategy.19

I do all of my exercise — both weightlifting and cardio — fasted when I’m
dieting for weight loss. As I said earlier, the stubborn fat disappears faster when
I’m fasted than when I exercise in a fed state.

A caveat, though, don’t be surprised if you’re noticeably weaker during
your first couple of weeks of switching from fed weightlifting to fasted.

You will lose some reps on your big lifts, if not across the board. This isn’t because
you’re losing muscle. It’s simply because eating a significant amount of carbohydrate
before you work out dramatically improves your performance in the gym.20 Take the
carbs away, and you lose the boost. Add them back, and it returns.

That said, as I noted earlier, your body slowly adapts to training in the fasted state,
learning to preserve glycogen stores and thus preserve performance. Nevertheless, I’ve
found that my lifts while fasted are just never as good as my lifts while fed.

THE DOWNSIDES TO FASTED TRAINING

Fasted training is a double-edged sword. It’s good for losing fat faster but
not so good for maintaining muscle and enjoying your workouts.

The first problem is that it significantly increases muscle breakdown rates.21

This is undesirable, because if you damage and break down too many
muscle cells in your workouts, your body won’t be able to keep up with repair,
and you can lose muscle over time.

The next problem is lackluster workouts.
Many people find they have less energy and focus when training in a fasted

state and thus aren’t able maintain the level of physical and mental intensity
they’re used to.

Now, most people familiar with how fasted training works use branched-
chain amino acids (BCAAs) to counteract the muscle loss.

This is a workable solution but not my preference.

THE DOWNSIDES OF BCAA SUPPLEMENTATION

BCAAs are one of the most popular — and overrated — supplements on
the market today.

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124

40. Sergej M. Ostojic, “Yohimbine: The Effects on Body Composition and Exercise Perfor-
mance in Soccer Players,” Research in Sports Medicine 14, no. 4 (2006): 289–99.

41. Jean Galitzky, Mohammed Taouis, Michel Berlan, Daniel Rivière, Michel Garrigues,
and Max Lafontan, “Alpha 2-Antagonist Compounds and Lipid Mobilization: Evidence
for a Lipid Mobilizing Effect of Oral Yohimbine in Healthy Male Volunteers,” Europe-
an Journal of Clinical Investigation 18, no. 6 (1988): 587–94.

42. Ibid.

43. Michael R. Goldberg, Alan S. Hollister, and David Robertson, “Influence of Yohimbine
on Blood Pressure, Autonomic Reflexes, and Plasma Catecholamines in Humans,”
Hypertension 5, no. 5 (1983): 772–78.

44. Chung S. Yang, Joshua D. Lambert, and Shengmin Sang, “Antioxidative and Anti-Car-
cinogenic Activities of Tea Polyphenols,” Archives of Toxicology 83, no. 1 (2009):
11–21. doi: 10.1007/s00204-008-0372-0; Michelle C. Venables, Carl J. Hulston, Han-
nah R. Cox, and Asker E. Jeukendrup, “Green Tea Extract Ingestion, Fat Oxidation,
and Glucose Tolerance in Healthy Humans,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
87, no. 3 (2008): 778–84.

45. Kevin C. Maki, Matthew S. Reeves, Mildred Farmer, Koichi Yasunaga, Noboru Mat-
suo, Yoshihisa Katsuragi, Masanori Komikado, Ichiro Tokimitsu, Donna Wilder, Franz
Jones, Jeffrey B. Blumberg, and Yolanda Cartwright, “Green Tea Catechin Consump-
tion Enhances Exercise-Induced Abdominal Fat Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults,”
Journal of Nutrition 139, no. 2 (2009): 264–70. doi: 10.3945/jn.108.098293.

46. Jonathan R. S. Arch, “ 3-Adrenoceptor Agonists: Potential, Pitfalls and Progress,”
European Journal of Pharmacology 440, nos. 2–3 (2002): 99–107. doi: 10.1016/
S0014-2999(02)01421-8; Steffany Haaz, Kevin R. Fontaine, Gary Cutter, Nita Limdi,
Suzanne Perumean-Chaney, and David B. Allison, “Citrus aurantium and Synephrine
Alkaloids in the Treatment of Overweight and Obesity: An Update,” Obesity Reviews
7, no. 1 (2006): 79–88. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2006.00195.x.

47. Ibid.

48. Christine M. Brown, John C. McGrath, John M. Midgley, A. G. Muir, J. W. O’Brien,
C. Mohan Thonoor, Clyde M. Williams, and V. G. Wilson, “Activities of Octopamine
and Synephrine Stereoisomers on Alpha-Adrenoceptors,” British Journal of Pharmacol-
ogy 93, no. 2 (1988): 417–29.

49. Réjeanne Gougeon, Kathy Harrigan, Jean-François Tremblay, Philip Hedrei, Marie
Lamarche, and José A. Morais, “Increase in the Thermic Effect of Food in Women
by Adrenergic Amines Extracted from Citrus aurantium,” Obesity Research 13, no. 7
(2005): 1187–94.

CHAPTER 7
THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING

1. L. Véronique Billat, “Interval Training for Performance: A Scientific and Empirical
Practice. Special Recommendations for Middle- and Long-Distance Running. Part I:
Aerobic Interval Training,” Sports Medicine 31, no. 1 (2001): 13–31.

2. James A. King, Masashi Miyashita, Lucy K. Wasse, and David J. Stensel, “Influence of
Prolonged Treadmill Running on Appetite, Energy Intake and Circulating Concen-
trations of Acylated Ghrelin,” Appetite 54, no. 3 (2010): 492–98; Daniel R. Crabtree,
Edward S. Chambers, Robert M Hardwick, and Andrew K Blannin, “The Effects of

Page 141

125REFERENCES

High-Intensity Exercise on Neural Responses to Images of Food,” American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition 99, no. 2 (2014): 258–67. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.071381.

3. Gergley, “Comparison of Two Lower-Body Modes of Endurance Training,” 979–87.

4. Fiona H. Lindsay, John A. Hawley, Kathryn H. Myburgh, Helgo H. Schomer, Timothy
D. Noakes, and Steven C. Dennis, “Improved Athletic Performance in Highly Trained
Cyclists after Interval Training,” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 28, no. 11
(1996): 1427–34; Adele Weston, Kathryn H. Myburgh, Fiona H. Lindsay, Steven C.
Dennis, Timothy D. Noakes, and John A. Hawley, “Skeletal Muscle Buffering Capacity
and Endurance Performance after High-Intensity Interval Training by Well-Trained
Cyclists,” European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology 75,
no. 1 (1997): 7–13. doi: 10.1007/s004210050119; Christopher Westgarth-Taylor,
John A. Hawley, Scott Rickard, Kathryn H. Myburgh, Timothy D. Noakes, and Steven
C. Dennis, “Metabolic and Performance Adaptations to Interval Training in Endur-
ance-Trained Cyclists,” European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational
Physiology 75, no. 4 (1997): 298–304.

5. Nigel K. Stepto, John A. Hawley, Steven C. Dennis, and Will G. Hopkins, “Effects of
Different Interval-Training Programs on Cycling Time-Trial Performance,” Medicine
and Science in Sports and Exercise 31, no. 5 (1999): 736–41; Paul Laursen, Michelle
A. Blanchard, and David G. Jenkins, “Acute High-Intensity Interval Training Improves
Tvent and Peak Power Output in Highly Trained Males,” Canadian Journal of Applied
Physiology 27, no. 4 (2002): 336–48.

6. Billat, “Interval Training for Performance,” 13–31.

CHAPTER 10
HOW TO MASTER THE KETTLEBELL SWING

1. Jason P. Lake and Mike A. Lauder, “Kettlebell Swing Training Improves Maximal and
Explosive Strength,” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 26, no. 8 (2012):
2228–33. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825c2c9b.

2. Brandon J. Sawyer, Dharini M. Bhammar

CHAPTER 15
FROM HERE, YOUR BODY WILL CHANGE

1. “New Year’s Resolutions Experiment,” Quirkology, accessed July 20, 2015,
http://www.quirkology.com/UK/Experiment_resolution.shtml.

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