Sept. 2013
Cardio & Fat Burning
by Rick Wood BS, CSCS

What is Cardio?
The cardiovascular system's primary role is to deliver nutrients and remove waste products. Your Cardio workouts (sustained increase in heart rate for a predetermined period of time) strengthen your heart and lungs, decreasing your resting heart rate and increasing the amount of blood that is pumped per beat. The volume of oxygen that the body can use is increased as well as the ability to use fat for fuel. Efficiency of these functions is the science behind health, fat loss, and aerobic fitness.

Why Cardio for Fat Loss

Cardio workouts will give you the most immediate physical improvements towards your fat loss. Although feeding your muscles and controlling your blood sugar with strategic eating could be up to 80% of fat loss, exercise causes physical changes in your body that simply will not come from perfect eating alone and especially not from calorie deprivation. While strength training is an indirect fat buner, cardio is a direct fat burner. Weight training uses sugar for fuel while cardio burns more fat for fuel during and after. Cardio increases your ability to burn fat for fuel while walking your dog or window shopping. On an un-scientific note, Cardio is a positive double whammy for me personally! I like cardio in the morning. Not only have I just burned 400 calories before starting my day, I actually eat 200% healtier on days that began with some morning cardio! More fat burned and less fat ingested could be 1000 calorie swing or more per day! (One pound of fat is 3,500 calories)
Cardio and Low Carbs
Running, jogging, walking, swimming, biking, hiking, any cardio machine at the gym... all these modes of cardiovascular exercise are key in today's low carb trendy trends. We need more activity in our daily lives. With enough activity, we can eat our carbs. The low carb thing is basically taking one of my carb mottos to an extreme. "If you don't burn it, then don't eat it!" There is no doubt in my mind that we will continue to discover the benefits and yet another even better reason that we need to eat our grains, fruits, and veggies! Yet, we cut them out! AHHH!!!

I completely understand. I personally cut out fruits and grains for 2 weeks while testing the South Beach induction phase. At the time, I had no activities other than weight training. I lost almost 15 pounds in two weeks by eating only lean meats and lots of veggies. I was very excited till I received an email with 20 reasons to eat a banana! Oh well, back to reality. We need to be active enough to burn off all those healthy things we need to eat. Guaranteed, there are still another 20 undiscovered reasons to eat a banana! And yet, it has so much natural sugar, it will make another bad list in another low carb book.
You may literally have to start some strength training and walk on the treadmill for a few months to prepare for what you enjoyed doing 10 years ago! Brainstorm! Convince your spouse to try something silly with you. Baby-sit some playground age kids a few times per week. Coerce some old tennis buddies to join you on the court. Who cares if it takes four creaky old guys to cover each side of the tennis court. Every kamaaina needs to be able to say, "Lucky we live Hawaii"! There is never enough camaraderie or laughter coming from a row of treadmills at the gym! Did you know the gyms are actually better on the mainland? I personally don't live here for our excellent selection of Stairmasters or ski machines! Enjoy our "aina" and design your own active "island lifestyle". And, enjoy the pineapple!