At least once a day I am asked about cardio, so I am going finally set the record straight.
"LOL. I have no idea what I am doing."
The question I receive most often from the treadmill hoes, is “Tony, you really don’t do any cardio?”
And the answer is always, “No. I do not.”
Cardio will stunt your growth. For you see, the repetitive body movements of traditional cardiovascular exercises cause the participant to maintain an elevated heart rate for an extended period of time. These extended periods of elevated heart rate will adjust the body’s energy output to a catabolic state (tissue burning), versus the anabolic state (tissue building) we need to build muscle.
When in a state of catabolism, the body draws its energy sources in the following order:
- Carbohydrates - from stored cells and direct from food
- Fats - from stored cells and direct from food
- Proteins - amino acids and from muscle tissue
When the body has burned through its stores of carbohydrates (stage 1) and fats (stage 2), it transfers into a state of mass catabolism, wherein the body will begin to utilize its own muscular tissue as a primary energy source (stage 3).
It is generally recognized throughout the strength training industry that medium-to-high intensity cardiovascular exercise exceeding durations of approximately one hour will initiate Stage 3, muscle catabolism.
I like to play it safe, by keeping the duration of my cardio sessions to under one set of 6-8 reps. The only exception to this: I’ll go for a 10 minute run once every couple months just to make sure I can still do it. Though, I am always sure to follow Two Scoops Running Protocol whenever I do run.
Somebody playing devil’s advocate would undoubtedly ask, “but Tony, what about all the health benefits of cardio? You need to raise your heart rate once in a while if you want to train the most important muscle in your body, your heart.”
And to these people I say, “you know what else raises your heart rate?… Caffeine and Cocaine.”
Caffeine is basically what this blog is built on. If I go a week without writing a post, then you know I have run out of pre-workouts. I have not been taking my daily two scoops of Jack3d, and I am therefore too tired and lazy to write anything.
Caffeine is the single most widely researched supplement in the world, and its positive affects on exercise and physical performance are well documented and undisputed.
When people are concerned that “if you are not doing cardio, you are not exercising your heart,” they are being naïve. Over the course of a day I take enough caffeine to overload a defibrillator, so I am pretty sure I get my heart rate up.
Research on Caffeine
You have to be careful though, taking too little caffeine can actually lower your heart rate!
Research reported by Isabella Sudano, M.D. et al. in MedScape Nurses News, indicates that the caffeine in coffee can both increase and decrease the heart rate. A moderate dose of coffee—-about 250mg of caffeine—reduces the heart rate, but higher doses can produce increased rates. Increased rates are more likely to occur in people who don’t usually drink coffee. The reason for these different results is that caffeine also affects blood pressure; when the blood pressure increases—-which it does after a dose of caffeine—-the heart rate slows. But higher doses of caffeine can trigger the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and epinephrine, and that can cause an increased heart rate no matter what the blood pressure is.
What is a higher dose of caffeine? The Mayo Clinic suggests that “more than 500 to 600mg a day can cause insomnia, nervousness and fast heartbeat.”
BOOM! 500+mg of caffeine = fast heartbeat, according to The Mayo Clinic (and my arrhythmia). That is science. Not broscience, REAL FUCKING SCIENCE.
And I am not even done yet.
After my caffeine induced cardiovascular adventure at the gym, I come home and get ready for the evening… by doing a bunch of cocaine.
According to WebMD, “Cocaine increases heart rate and blood pressure while constricting the arteries supplying blood to the heart. The result can be a heart attack, even in young people without heart diseas…” blah blah blah forget the last part. What we need to focus on is the increased heart rate.
Now when I say, “do a bunch of cocaine,” I am not talking about splitting a bag with a few of my friends, I am talking Johnny Depp in the last hour of Blow… then I go to the club. As far as you should be concerned, 4 straight hours of cocaine dancing to techno is more of a cardio workout than any amount of stationary biking.
Daily Cardio Plan
Imagine this as your daily cardio plan (cardio exercises are noted in parenthesis):
- You wake up in the morning and drink your morning cup of coffee. (caffeine)
- Then you have a second cup of coffee around 11am after Lunch #1. (caffeine)
- Sip on a RedBull after Lunch #2 at 1pm to prevent a food coma. (caffeine)
- Then you take two scoops of pre-workout before you hit the gym. (caffeine)
- Then you do a bunch of cocaine. (cocaine)
- Hit the club. (dancing)
Following this cardio plan, from 2pm in the afternoon until the coke finally wears off at 8am, you will have an irregularly fast heartbeat. Therefore, this cardio plan allows for 18 straight hours of elevated heart rate. That is a big “FUCK YOU" to all the people who say that you are ignoring your heart health by not doing cardio. You are basically doing cardio for 75% of the day!
"I have done entirely too much cocaine…"
Now when people ask if you do cardio, you can snort a Monster, chug some cocaine, and say “yea, I just did.”
-Tony “Two Scoops” Muscoli