Ask cyclists, runners, cross-country skiers—cardio is king. Though most endurance athletes supplement their workouts with other forms of training, cardio is the bulk of what they do—it’s what they love to do.
Even among first-timers at the gym or those getting back into fitness, cardio is incredibly popular. It’s beginner friendly, effective and that’s likely why it’s so widely done and discussed.
For every aspect of fitness there are myths and misconceptions and cardio is no different. In fact, the amount of false information about cardio is proportional to its massive popularity.
There are a lot of fallacies out there, so we enlisted some fitness experts to point out some of the most common myths they’ve heard during the course of coaching and training and they’re setting the record straight.
Michael Meliniotis is an All World Triathlete and Regional Class Runner who has competed in almost 100 races to date. He is Head Coach of the team Lipstick Marathon and Ironman programs and is also a Lululemon Ambassador.
Travis Hawkins is a professional Ironman triathlete who recently placed fifth at Ironman 70.3 Timberman. He is also a nutrition, endurance and triathlon coach.
These fitness professionals have worked in the industry for years, teaching their clients and teams all about cardio. Take a look at what they say are the most common myths and then get the facts.
Myth: if you want to lose weight, just do lots of cardio.
Fact: Your body is highly efficient machine. Simply put, if you do a lot of cardio, you will get really good at doing cardio. You will use less energy to get more done. This is great if you're training for an endurance event, but if your goal is weight loss you need to add strength training. Even when you’re not exercising, your muscles burn calories—the stronger they are the more calories they consume. A combination of strength training and cardio equals greater caloric expenditure and will get you to your weight loss goals faster.
Myth: There is an ideal running form that all runners should follow.
Fact: There are certainly best practices that apply to everyone, but in my opinion running form is individualized. Aside from arm swing, lean, and cadence, you probably run the way you do for a reason. I adjust technique in my runners over time, with patience, and only after seeing patterns. Most of my focus is based on gradually increasing a slow cadence to a faster one (I run at 180). If you still think there is one single ideal running form, just take a look at how Priscah Jeptoo’s form has led to her incredible success.