Cardiovascular defined is “relating to heart and blood vessels”
So when you do “cardio” the goal is to strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system. That’s it.
But is that why people do it? Not really, in fact, the definition above I suspect will shock more than one person and WE ALL KNOW WHY.
Cardio as it exists right now has become about one of two things, burning calories or earning calories (or cup cakes) and that sucks!
It sucks because it misses the point.
We have written a million articles on why normalizing calories is important but if your goal is to lose WEIGHT you are WAY better off addressing that with two things:
1. Occasionally eating in a deficit
2. Building muscle
One of those muscles is your heart. When you do cardio essentially you are trying to keep that organ healthy.
That’s why over using it to earn beer or wine is a bad thing.
In fact, that price you pay on the treadmill the day after date night is wrong. You are literally doing that wrong for both your health and your hearts health.
It’s not common for people to eat in excess, it’s much MORE common for people to eat in excess occasionally so the times that you are eating in excess should be followed by strength training. The reason is simple, you want to build muscle with the excess of calories that you ate in the previous meal or meals.
Make no mistake about it, building lean muscle is VERY difficult. Building strong and useful muscle is also difficult.
Losing weight is actually quite easy by comparison. As an example, it’s very easy to lose 10-15 pounds in a roughly short period of time. By a short period of time I mean 3-4 months.
It’s very UNCOMMON to build that same amount of muscle in a similar time. In fact, if you have a good base of muscle it could take as long as 3 to 5 years to gain that kind of lean mass.
Oh by they way, to all the lifting weights faster folks I have some bad news, you are probably on the wrong side of this equation. To build and hold onto muscle you are WAY better off doing that slow. That doesn’t mean that you NEVER lift weights fast but you do it in a combination that allows you to hold onto muscle rather than earn your food from a previous meal where you ate in excess.
Also to the meme people that think cardio is running to the squat rack guess what, having better heart health means more reps and faster recovery.
You exercise to get better at exercise. You lift weights to get strong and better at lifting weights. You run to get better at running.
All of these things contribute to longevity of life when you have a healthy heart.
You get a healthy heart doing cardio FED.
So the reason why you are doing cardio defeats the actual goal of WHY YOU SHOULD BE DOING CARDIO in the first place.
If you want a stronger heart and more useful blood vessels quit using cardio as stress. Stress is burning more calories than you consume to pay the price for moments of joy at the dinner table.
If you have this one basic idea wrong imagine how much else you probably have wrong also.