Is “Cardio” Necessary for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Conditioning?


No. Regardless of what you are doing with your muscles as long, you work them hard enough there will be enough demand on metabolic and cardiovascular efficiency to stimulate improvements. The reason running, cycling, swimming, and other steady-state activities stress the cardiovascular system is because of the metabolic cost of the muscular work being performed. If you strength train with a high level of intensity and move quickly between exercises you will stimulate the same or better improvements in cardiovascular and metabolic conditioning along with all the benefits of strength training.
In fact, when done properly the term ”strength training” is a misnomer since it wrongly implies only strength is being trained for when it is actually capable of stimulating improvements in all of the general trainable factors of functional ability.

Is ”Cardio” Necessary for Fat Loss? 

No. All that is necessary for fat loss is that you create an energy deficit and hormonal environment conducive to accessing the energy in your fat stores. This can be accomplished with diet alone. If you do any exercise it should be strength training for the purpose of maintaining lean body mass while fat is lost.
Forget the idea of exercising to burn calories. It is a huge waste of time. No activity burns enough calories to be worth doing for that purpose alone; not traditional endurance training, not sprinting interval training, not Spinning or ”cardio” kickboxing or ”boot camps” or other group classes, not even strength training. You’d have to do most of these activities for one to two hours every day of the week to burn less than the calories in a single pound of fat (before you rush off to look it up, realise the majority of activity calculators list calories burned during the activities and not the additional calories burned as a result of those activities minus resting energy expenditure).

Dietary modification doesn’t require much time at all other than a few extra minutes a week for meal planning and preparation and can produce much faster fat loss. And it won’t injure you or contribute to long term joint and spine problems like many so-called ”cardio” activities do or interfere with your body’s ability to recover from and produce the improvements stimulated during strength training.

Don’t I need some form of aerobics / “cardio” to insure good health? What about my heart?
Remember – The function of the cardiovascular system is to support the muscular system, not the other way around. Increases in muscular strength from a proper strength training program will correlate to improvements in cardiovascular function.
You will notice that the word “aerobic” or “cardio” has been set off in quotation marks when it refers to an activity performed for exercise. There is a good reason for this emphasis:
There is no such thing as “aerobic” exercise!  We all heard that activities such as jogging and cycling are “aerobic” while those such as weight training and sprinting are “anaerobic”. These distinctions are not 100% correct. The words aerobic and anaerobic refer to metabolic pathway which operate continuously at all times and in all activities. You cannot “turn off” either of these pathways by merely increasing or decreasing the intensity of an activity.
Elevated heart rate is not an indicator of exercise intensity, exercise effect, or exercise value. It is quite possible to experience an elevated pulse, laboured breathing, and profuse sweating without achieving valuable exercise. Intense emotional experiences commonly cause these symptoms without a shred of exercise benefit.
Don’t be fooled by the genetic exceptions who protest that they have never been injured, overuse injuries are cumulative and we are often not aware that we have them until it is too late. In time, the enthusiastic runner will probably pay the price for all that ”healthy” activity. If that price is a decrease or loss of mobility in one’s later years, then ”aerobics/cardio” have effectively shortened the individuals lifespan. Loss of mobility is often the first step towards the loss of all biological competence.
Force is Mass x Acceleration, you cannot avoid all force in physical activity, of course. But, why subject yourself to it when it is entirely unnecessary? If someone is hurt while playing football or some other activity, it is unfortunate. If someone is hurt during an ”aerobic” or so-called ”cardio” while running for ”fitness”, it is a tragic waste.

Why only once or twice per week?
In some specific cases 3 times (less then 1hr total TIME per week)

First, you must get out of the mindset that more exercise is better, actually, the opposite is true, the intensity (quality) of the exercise is what generates results, not volume (quantity). What we concentrate at Intense Health Clinic is the key element (Intensity) that stimulate an adaptive response to the stress that we have placed upon it (workout) that leave us stronger and with enhanced function capability. The acute stress placed on the musculature during a proper high-intensity training session, especially when sequentially worked to complete muscular failure, sends a strong signal to the body that it must develop strength (consequently muscle size) in order to ensure its survival for the next time it faces such an event. That adaptation takes time to occur in the human body more than most people believe, between 3 to 10 days with most people best exercising on the weekly basis. If you introduce another stimulus before the body has a chance to adapt to the last one you can short-circuit the adaptive process that leads to increases in muscle and strength.
At Intense Health Clinic, we carefully control your progress and adjust volume and frequency accordingly to ensure you keep getting stronger. As a subject becomes more advanced and able to work greater intensity, the key to their progress is a reduction, not an increase in actual exercise performed (volume).
Progressive high-intensity strength training can have a significant impact on your hormonal and metabolic systems and leave you burning more calories day in day out. This larger systemic change within your body will give you the long-term results you are looking for and give you greater latitude with your diet as you become a metabolically more efficient organism.

Why we move slowly during exercise? 
Because it is Safer and More Effective!

Exercise should be done in an intense manner, should be brief and infrequent so you can get the best outcome in every aspect of the human body. Exercise is not entrainment, it’s not fun it is hard work. And that by itself it is a great misconception in the main-stream of the fitness industry, people normally relate hard work with volume, not effort.

“Well in medicine, the potency of the drug is measured by its concentration. In exercise, the concentration or potency of the stimulus is determined by how many muscle fibers are called into play during the course of the exercise, with few fibers corresponding to a low concentration and many fibers corresponding to a large concentration”.
– Doug McGuff, M.D., and John Little / Body by Science

Our goal is to keep the target muscle under continuous load to efficiently exhaust the slow, medium and fast twitch motor units. That’s why we move slowly and consistently during the exercise because it is the best way to do this, also when exercising it is imperative that you avoid placing excessive and injurious force on your joints. Again Force is calculated as mass multiplied by acceleration. By moving slowly and steadily we all but eliminate acceleration from the equation keeping your joints safe no matter how heavy the weight. And acceleration, not only damages joints, it temporarily unloads the muscles making the exercise easier. (if you don’t believe this, see how many push-ups you can do at a brisk pace then try doing them very slowly for 10 seconds up, 10 seconds down.) It also allows for visual confirmation and correction of form discrepancies that a faster cadence might obscure. By moving very slowly you can work extremely hard without sacrificing safety no matter your age or fitness level.


Biology, Physiology, Biochemistry, are not a matter of opinion, they are a matter of fact…


High Intensity Training by Drew Baye – Bodybuilding, Nutrition …

Body by Science

Marcelo Mesquita / Director – Exercise phisiology



Marcelo is the co-founder and Director of Exercise Physiology at Intense Health, Perth's #1 Private Strength Training and Nutrition Clinics.


Marcelo is the co-founder and Director of Exercise Physiology at Intense Health, Perth's #1 Private Strength Training and Nutrition Clinics.