Clearing up Cardio – Rules of Fitness #5

Clearing Up Cardio Confusion

Who loves cardio?  I’ll be the first to admit that it is NOT my favorite.  I’d much rather head to the weight room and sling some iron around.  But, I’ve long since recognized that for me, cardio is necessary for achieving my personal fitness and aesthetic goals.  Rather than making it a necessary evil, I do my best to make it something fun!  So, let’s dig into this a little bit…why sweat cardio?  (See what I did there!?)


Tips – What works for some, doesn’t work for others…


Want some great cardio tips? Here’s why you should always include cardiovascular activity into your workout. It’s great for your heart and lungs, increases your stamina, and helps you lose weight.

Here’s why you should never do cardio. Lifting weights increases lean muscle mass, which requires more calories to maintain. Therefore, your body burns calories even while resting. Doing additional non-weightlifting activity burns even more calories, which decreases those gains.


Confusing, isn’t it?  


Really now…YES or NO to cardio?


Everyone can benefit from doing some cardio. It’s great for relieving stress. It has been shown to increase bone density and improve sleep quality.


The confusion sets in concerning when to do cardio and what kind to do. HITT? LISS? Fasted? What do those crazy acronyms and terms even mean?


When to do cardio?


The answer to this question depends on your goals. To heighten endurance, do it before strength training. For weight loss, do strength training first so your muscles are not pre-fatigued. Maybe you don’t have any specific fitness goals. If so, do the exercise you enjoy least first.


What kind of cardio?


HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, short bursts of high intensity exercise followed by longer periods of low intensity exercise. This type of cardio raises metabolism and increases explosive power.  Examples of this might be tabata circuits, sprints, or plyometrics.

LISS stands for Low Intensity Steady State, This is extended light cardio, like riding a stationary bike. LISS is excellent for muscle endurance and losing fat while strength training.

Fasted cardio involves exercising in the morning before breakfast. Your body will use stored fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. This is great for short-term body composition goals, but may not be feasible for long-term application.


Make it fun!


Work some cardio into your life at least once a week. Sometimes, getting away from the gym can make cardio more fun. Go outside! Take advantage of greenways or nature trails. Ride a bike. Shoot hoops. Take a swim.

Personally?  If I have to do my cardio inside, I like to put on a favorite movie or TV show, and hoof it on the treadmill.  45 minutes will be over before you know it!  But if I’ve got the option of going outside, you’d best believe I’m putting a leash on my two big dogs and we are going for a nice long walk, and maybe some interval walking and jogging.


How do you enjoy working cardiovascular activities into your fitness routine?  If you need some new inspiration, take a look at Elevate, our treadmill trainer!


I'm Jessica, one of the founders and owners of True Grit Fitness. I'm a workout junkie and health nut who happens to be a certified personal trainer through ACE. I love lifting weights and cooking healthy versions of favorite foods. In my other job, I work on offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico as a licensed mariner. I'm also a wife, a stepmom, a mom to furbabies, and a former officer in the USCG Reserve. I love everything about the great outdoors, I'm a certified bookworm, and I love creating and crafting. Welcome to my corner!