Hello Chris Capellan,
Oh boy, yes, there is a lot of contradictory information floating all over the place. It boils down to what the goals are and the condition of the client.
I believe that we need a balanced program which includes cardiovascular training; so, cardiovascular training is good.
Now, the next step is deciding the intensity of the cardiovascular training; that may be where the debate lies.
NAPS 2 B Fit
If any fitness professional tells you cardio is bad. Runaway. Quickly. Which you will be able to do because your workout includes cardiovascular fitness. Joking aside, we have an uphill battle in this country when it comes to getting people to engage in physical activity.
When potential clients who have struggled maintaining an exercise program are told not to waste their time doing cardio and that the only way to see results is through extreme exercise programs like CrossFit it can be discouraging and perpetuate all or nothing thinking.
From a behavioral health perspective, I encourage clients who have been on the extreme diet and exercise program roller coaster to engage in activities they enjoy. The best kind of motivation is autonomous.
From an exercise science standpoint, Dr. Len Kravitz’s article “The Physiology of Fat Loss” does a great job explaining how to design a well-rounded cardiovascular program including HIIT and steady state cardio. You have probably seen the article being an Idea member. If not I recommend looking it up : )
Almost all forms of exercise are cardiovascular training. Your heart responds to any change in activity. The intensity of that change in activity makes a difference in the reponse of the heart. Untrained individuals should start small and make small changes to the variables of exercise. The heart responds to each exercise bout. The recovery outcomes depend on many things. But in answer to your question. Cardiovascular training is only necessary if you want to remain fit for life and must be continued throughout your life to get a benefit that lasts. You don’t necessarily have to spend hours sweating and huffing puffing like crazy. But you do need to do enough to get to and maintain a good level of fitness. If someone doesn’t like traditional cardio training (ie. running, swimming, biking, etc.) , you can still get adequate cardiovascular response from maintaining effort levels doing almost anything that elevates heart rate. And short intervals are also effective when done properly and with sufficient repetition of the interval bouts in a workout. Like the sayings go. You get out what you put into anything. Do nothing, get nothing. Gargage in, gargabe out. And Too much or too little are counter productive.