Pick up the free July/August issue of Chicago Athlete magazine and check out the article, “Cardio Kills” on page 41. It’s a short piece highlighting a conversation with Jim Karas, the author of The Cardio Free Diet.
Karas is one of the more visible critics of the whole “running/aerobics/cardio” mindset that has been entrenched in the fitness community for the last couple of decades. Needless to say, he’s ruffling the feathers of an entire generation of fitness professionals by debunking the idea that cardio training is the key to overall human health and fitness. I won’t spoil the piece for you, but here are a few choice quotes from Karas that resonate blasphemy to most fitness “experts”:
“Excessive cardio breaks down the human body at an accelerated rate…Anyone running a marathon or preparing for a marathon is slowly killing themselves.”
“Cardio does nothing to improve the lean muscle to body fat ratio, and burning muscle diminishes your results…Beyond a certain point, marathon runners can go into starvation mode – the body becomes catabolic, burning muscle for fuel.”
“Consistent pounding of the body from traditional forms of cardio can lead to severe injuries in your back, knees, ankles and everything in between…Take a look at the Chicago marathon. Half to three-quarters of the runners have on knee braces.”
Fortunately, many people are now re-evaluating the cardio-centric fitness philosophy and taking a much closer look at the critical role of strength training. Hopefully, the greater visibility of the likes of Karas is signifying a trend in a much different direction – and a much healthier one as well.