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Cardio or not? - Printable Version

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Cardio or not? - toevlugsoord - 05-30-2016 02:25 AM

I'm very new to this forum, but I've been reading it off/on for a year. This is my second try at a reset as I've been in severe metabolism damage/resistance for over a year. The first reset I gave up after 6 weeks or so. I'm in it for the long haul this time. It's been 8 weeks and I've gained about 5lbs and I'm feeling huge. The many many articles I've read have said focus on strength training during the reset, and give cardio a break.

Has anyone had success with their reset doing cardio? I'm so eager to get back into cardio, still while raising calories of course.

RE: Cardio or not? - toevlugsoord - 05-31-2016 12:40 PM

No one?

RE: Cardio or not? - AnitraSoto - 05-31-2016 09:09 PM

Sorry, I saw your post earlier. but was tied up with a hectic day at work, and wanted to take the time to give you a proper response : )

First of all, great job deciding to do another reset and give it the time it needs! I know 5 pounds can feel like a ton, but considering your history and the fact that you are 8 weeks into your reset, that is really fantastic!

So why is it that you like the cardio so much? Some people love it for the "high" that they seem to get, while others use it because of the higher "burn". If you want to add some cardio because you truly love it, then by all means, do what you love! If you are doing it to burn off the extra calories you are consuming (which is very, very common especially when coming from an ED or VLCD history), then that is the wrong reason.

There is actually a blog on here that describes why *not* to adopt a "cardio only" workout program: http://eatmore2weighless.com/dont-want-to-lift/

I will copy and paste a portion of that blog here:

As you’ve likely have heard, there are huge benefits of strength training that have nothing to do with your outward physique. But since the question pertains specifically to your physique goals, I will only address that aspect:

~ First of all, there’s nothing inherently wrong with doing cardio (presuming you’re not doing a reset), and many cardio lovers have found ways to be successful with EM2WL. The key for them has been in including lifting (and even bulk cycles), for greater physique goal success.

~ When you choose to do cardio only, you’re left as merely a smaller version of your current self. With all the same lumps and bumps in the same areas. Combine aging with excessive cardio and dieting, and it’s a recipe for muscle loss. Losing muscle makes you “skinny fat.” This means that you will have to go DOWN in weight each year, just to look the same as you did the year before. As you can see, over time, this could become problematic. So your goal weight will need adjustment if you’re looking for a specific “look” and only doing cardio…and even then, it’s not so certain that you’ll get it.

~ Muscle is what gave us our former youthful look. Without it, we will begin to look bigger, and hence older (even if we stayed the exact same weight that we were in our youth). Lifting will not only keep that youthful tightness of the body, but also allow you to hit your goal WITHOUT having to lose so much weight.

~ The other thing with doing cardio only is that our body adapts to cardio. So if you’re doing a lot, then at one point you may not be eating enough for your super high burns, but over time, that amount will become too much as your body adapts to the activity to become more efficient. So you’ll be doing the exact same amount of work, yet burning much less calories.

~ It actually does your metabolism a disservice over time. You don’t want to get to the point that your body views running 10-15 miles, the same as going to check your mailbox: just part of the routine, and thus no changes being made.

It’s fine if running is your passion and you want to do it no matter the physique consequence (as many runners will do). If you want to get smaller, then you should fully understand how running only will play into the picture.

I’d highly recommend mixing some lifting into your routine.

Our motto, “cardio for fun, weights to transform.” If you abide by that, then you can still do the cardio that you love, simply for enjoyment. But if you really want to transform your body, allow the iron to assist you.

With all that said…if you still aren’t feeling weight lifting, then I would keep close eye on your heart rate monitor. If you notice that you are burning less calories than you used to, then you are likely eating too much, and will have to continue to adjust accordingly.

RE: Cardio or not? - toevlugsoord - 06-01-2016 10:53 AM

(05-31-2016 09:09 PM)AnitraSoto Wrote:  Our motto, “cardio for fun, weights to transform.” If you abide by that, then you can still do the cardio that you love, simply for enjoyment. But if you really want to transform your body, allow the iron to assist you.

With all that said…if you still aren’t feeling weight lifting, then I would keep close eye on your heart rate monitor. If you notice that you are burning less calories than you used to, then you are likely eating too much, and will have to continue to adjust accordingly.

THANKS! I appreciate you writing back. It's two-fold. I do love lifting, and use kettlebells now and then (sometimes more often, sometimes less) and recognize the importance of strength in the reset process. The reason I'm itching for cardio is I'd planned to get back into running when this reset was over, and I'm being impatient! I seem to be gaining now 1lb/week and I'm going a little batty and feeling huge.

I haven't done any cardio at all during this reset and I feel like I can start running while also still raising my calories and doing the reset. I recognize the importance of not giving up this time, but I'm concerned about just lifting and no cardio...I feel like I'm hurting my health gaining weight back this quickly so I feel like I want to just start my "regular life diet/lifestyle" by eating more and running/walking/etc. but definitely not eating too little.

RE: Cardio or not? - AnitraSoto - 06-02-2016 01:14 PM

The strength training is important not only during the reset process, but then also for the rest of your life. In fact, it becomes more and more important as we age. Muscle is naturally lost as we age, and strength training is needed, not necessarily to *gain* strength, but even just to *maintain* it as we get older - trying to combat the natural process of muscle loss.

If you are still gaining a pound a week, then maybe the way you increased your calories may be partially to blame... Did you make those increases slowly over time, or just hop right up to your calculated TDEE? Give us a few more details about how you worked through the reset process and we will be happy to try to help you troubleshoot.

As far as needing cardio, yes the heart needs to be exercised in much the same way the other muscles in our body need to be exercised. For fat loss, however, HIIT workouts are definitely preferential over steady-state cardio. When you do steady state cardio, the body will quickly adapt and become more efficient. What used to be a difficult run suddenly feels easier and you feel good! This is because the body has adapted. Not only has it become physically easier, but you are also burning less calories in the process. Suddenly the one hour jog that used to burn 600 calories is only burning 500, then 400..... The only way to stay on top of that adaptation is to jog for longer distances/times or with more intensity. In contrast, with strength training, the body adapts in the same way, but it is easy to keep challenging the muscles, simply by increasing the weights as your get stronger.

For fat burning, HIIT workouts give you the most bang for your buck, as the body will not adapt in the same way. Here is an excellent article on this topic:



RE: Cardio or not? - toevlugsoord - 06-02-2016 01:55 PM

Thanks! Yes, I've read a lot lately about steady-state cardio and I know to avoid as much as possible happy

I feel like I didn't increase my calories a huge amount this time. The previous reset I was impatient and increased 100/week and then the 5th and 6th week increased by 200 each week. I then stopped because of what I was gaining.

Here's my info.
I'm 5'4" and in September 2013 I started at 153 and lost 20lbs over the course of about 9 months doing kettlebell and a little running and eating 1200. Only 1200 and no more. After about 6 months the losing slowed and then I completely stopped losing. I desperation I tried 1000/day and only started to gain on that! I tried 1200 and just gained. Tried a reset but gained and felt horrible about it, so I stopped. So for about 1.5 years I only ate about 1000-1200 with a brief 2 month reset that didn't work because I panicked. Definitely ate too little over these last couple of years (almost 3 years since I started!). I was bloated, sluggish, felt horrible, no appetite.

My BMR is 1350, and now I know not to go below that! Too late to change what's happened.

Current reset progress:
4/4-4/10 averaged 1392 calories - week 1
starting weight for the week 138.5 --> ending weight for the week 137.5

4/11-4/17: averaged 1417 - week 2
138 --> 138

4/18-4/24 averaged 1394 - week 3
138 --> 138

4/25-5/1 averaged 1425 - week 4
138 --> 140

5/2-5/8 averaged 1475 - week 5
140 --> 140

5/9-5/15 averaged 1510 - week 6
140 --> 140

5/16-5/22 averaged 1542 - week 7
140 --> 140.5

5/23-5/29 averaged 1600 - week 8
140.5 --> 142.5

5/30-6/5 - aiming for 1650
currently 143!!

RE: Cardio or not? - AnitraSoto - 06-02-2016 09:18 PM

Great job doing your research and giving it another try! We often return to our old ways, only to discover that they *still* do not work, at least long term...

Well. it sounds like you are doing a great job and truly are on the right track. I would continue just as you have been, but if the gains are bothering you then just slow down and wait until your weight stabilizes and trends back downwards again before making the next increase (which it will usually do over a week or two, sometimes a bit longer). You are just challenging your metabolism to speed up, much in the same way that it slowed down when you resorted to the low calorie diets. And even though you are eating below your *calculated* TDEE, that is most likely still above your true but *suppressed* TDEE. You just have to take it slow and wait for your metabolism to speed back up.

When you look back on this period of time and are enjoying eating double the calories you used to eat, this 5 pound gain will be a tiny price to pay. I know it feels like a ton, but really 5 pounds is really a very small amount of weight, and once you have completed your reset then you can work on shedding it, the slow sustainable way. You really are doing great ... just keep going (slowly :-)

RE: Cardio or not? - toevlugsoord - 06-02-2016 09:36 PM


I truly appreciate your feedback. It's a really mentally trying time. Because I'm not super tall (5'4"), these 5lbs definitely show up around my waist, my upper arms, and in my face. It's amazing what 5lbs does. And that's just 5lbs above what I had already gained back from trying to eat too little, etc.!

I'll take your advice and just continue on, and go more slowly. I think part of my eagerness to do some cardio is just feeling like I have some control over the situation. I don't think some brisk walking will hurt things too much, and it helps me feel better so I'm going to start doing that and I'll up the kettlebell again. I can't wait to see some results from all of this! It's been far too long dealing with the ups and downs, but thankfully I've learned a lot about health in the process.