It’s back: Broscience. Guaranteed to get you talking whether you sit in the broscience or proscience camps. Sports and nutrition can be a minefield of myths so we’ve looked at some of the broscience myths most commonly heard in the gym and put some proscience behind them. If you’re new to our Broscience series, take a look at Part #1 and Part #2 where we debunk common Broscience myths.
In the third part of the Broscience series we’re talking about cardio. Advocated by some and shunned by others, the waters sure are murky when it comes to cardio workouts. When it comes to busting the myths behind cardio remember: everyone’s body is different. Sports nutrition is not ‘one size fits all’ and it’s important to listen to your body to take it to its maximum.
We’ve just selected a handful of myths and applied a healthy dose of proscience, have a read and let us know if you’re on #teampro or #teambro.
BROSCIENCE: You can run off the pounds
ACTUAL SCIENCE: Some follow a ‘calories in – calories out’ ethos. To some extent this works in that if you eat 400 calories and burn 400 calories they will equal each other out. However, if you want to see results and are following a bad diet, you’ll have to burn far more calories than you put in and will need to reach a calorie deficit to lose weight. Cardio is good for cardiovascular health, but most people use cardio as a fat loss tool, something which is unachievable and unsustainable. No amount of time clocked up on the treadmill can compensate for an out-of-control diet.
BROSCIENCE: You only burn fat when you’re exercising in the “fat-burning zone.”
ACTUAL SCIENCE: You’ve probably been told in the past that you can only burn fat when you’re in the fat burning zone. Most cardio equipment will also show a graph of ‘fat burning’ and ‘cardio zones depending on heart rate. To some extent this does hold some truth as ultimately when you exercise, at any intensity, you burn calories. The more calories you burn during a cardio workout again, the more fat you’ll lose. However, different types of fat will be burnt during a cardio workout. In what is typically called the ‘fat burning zone’ you will burn fat calories, but in the typical ‘cardio zone’ you will burn glycogen calories burnt as well as fat. So whichever zone you choose to workout in, fat will be burned.
BROSCIENCE: You have to sweat a lot to get the most out of a cardio workout.
ACTUAL SCIENCE: Sweating during your cardio workout is really not indicative of how hard you are working. Sweating is not a direct result of fat burning, it is merely a mechanism that the body uses to cool itself and can vary from person to person. However sweat itself is good for you – when you sweat your pores open and allow any dirt on the surface of the skin to exit and it is believed that when your body heats up it generates more white blood cells, strengthening your immune system. Sweating is beneficial, but not essential for cardio.
BROSCIENCE: To get the most benefit, do cardio on an empty stomach in a “fasted state.”
ACTUAL SCIENCE: To fast or not to fast – that is the question! On one side of the fence people believe that in order to burn fat you have to do cardio on an empty stomach – the theory being that if you don’t have anything in your stomach from your previous meal then it will be quicker and easier to burn fat and it will help you to achieve a calorie deficit.
But on the other side of the fence people believe you should eat before your workout as you need fuel and energy in order to be able to do cardio. Although there are many schools of thought on this subject, we are all different and the best thing is to find what is best for you.
If you haven’t eaten before your workout and feel light headed or sick then it is probably best to have a healthy snack. Ideally supplementing your diet with BCAAs will help to tell the body to target your calorie fat rather than glycogen fat.
This is just a snippet of cardio myths and myth busters out there. Have you got your own cardio broscience? or have you been converted? We’d love to hear if you have any more pro or bro tips on cardio – simply tweet @BulkPowders or drop us a line on Facebook to let us know.