Great American Nutrition Fallacies: Treadmills

Treadmills and other cardiovascular training machines are best for fat burning. Cardio machines are only good for increasing the heart rate and improving the cardiorespiratory system of the body. Machines are overrated for fat burning and too many people depend on them for expecting magical results.  It is better to do functional training exercises and circuit style weight training for improving cardiovascular system. 10-20 minutes of effective training is all you will need to improve your cardiovascular fitness.  I am always amazed at places that have a bunch of cardio machines lined up row after row.  You see all of these people running like gerbils on wheels for hours trying to get that super buff body. Their goal will never come true if they only use machines to burn fat.  The problem is that the body will adapt to the intensity after a couple of weeks. The person becomes more fit at the intensity. Their heart rate, stroke volume and cardiac output improve reducing the stress on the heart and lung system. The muscles become more enduring and they burn less fat.  In addition to machines not being the most effective way to burn fat, they are rather boring.  I would much rather do fun circuit style training for improving cardiovascular function.

If I thought cardio machines were worth more for burning fat and increasing lean body mass I would have rows and rows of cardio machines in my gym.  Resistance training is the most effective fat burner– not cardio machines.

Daryl Conant, M.Ed