Cardio is Bad for You

Cardio is bad for you.

CoverI was told today that I can’t be interviewed on a podcast about my new book, RUN YOUR FAT OFF, because I would contradict other guests on the show who have talked about the dangers of excessive cardio. This is what I was told: 

“We have to ensure we stay close to our messaging. We have so many experts on the show talking about the potential damage from excessive cardio and running, I think it would be a negative for us (you and us) to have you on the show, because it would come across as contradictory. I hope you understand.”

Seriously? So I can’t be on a podcast because I may contradict what others have said? 

There is a MOUNTAIN of evidence to show the many physical, psychological, and cognitive benefits of running and other cardio. To be fair, there is some research to suggest that large amounts of endurance training—like running many marathons and ultramarathons over many years—can cause fibrosis of the heart, but that is true for such a small percentage of the population that exercises. Most people will not do any damage to their heart by running, and quite the contrary is true: Running (or other aerobic exercise that sustains a high heart rate) is EXCELLENT for your heart, making it a larger and stronger pump and increasing its stroke volume and cardiac output. Make a bigger, stronger heart and you make a healthier person. Because you cannot live very well or very long without a healthy heart.

This is just the latest issue that has been served on my plate from the fitness industry. The fitness industry really has a problem. They tell people want they want to hear (like cardio is not good for you), make exaggerated claims (lose 10 pounds in 10 days with Diet X), and people talk through their asses without any education behind what they say. I’ve had enough.

If I weren’t so deeply passionate about running and what it can do for a person’s life, I would seek a career in a different industry. That’s one big thing I miss about being in academia. I miss being surrounded by very intelligent, highly-educated people, who seek the truth through experimentation and hypothesis testing. That doesn’t mean that all fitness professionals don’t know what they’re talking about. Certainly there are. But not having someone on a podcast because his message contradicts what previous guests on the show have said is ridiculous, especially when that person has the body of research to back it up. 

It’s going to be hard to spend the next 30 to 40 years dealing with crap like this. I hope you get my new book to learn the truth about weight loss, calories, metabolism, and running. It’s worth a read. I donate ten percent of sales to the American Heart Association in memory of my father and Susan G. Komen for the Cure in memory of my mother.

5 Responses to Cardio is Bad for You

  1. Which organization or podcast said that? Wow! So much mis-information being foisted on those least able to differentiate the nonsense from the evidence. & you’re right, it never ends.

    Mirkin has a good post on the “too much exercise” concern here:
    His answer, as yours, pretty much no.

    And an essential & enjoyable book regarding understanding science/evidence and not-science is Ben Goldman’s Bad Science.

  2. Please share the name of the podcast so I’ll know *not* to listen. They just lost any/all credibility they may bave built. We aren’t allowed to have opposing ideas anymore?? Censorship, anyone??

  3. Jason, I have attended your sessions at exercise conferences and been getting your blogs for quite some time now. I am so inspired by you and appreciate your depth of knowledge. Running is a passion of mine and something that I’m always learning about. It really helps me get in touch with my body and mind even if I can’t always run due to some stress injuries. Regardless I am apalled to learn about this experience you had. If this was a good podcast company they would actually encourage controversy and preface that there are different opinions and scientific support. Keep doing what you are doing and don’t give up. We need people like you in the world that keep us on track (no pun intended!).

  4. What a strange thing to have happen. I am a trainer at a gym and get teased all the time for being a runner. Even certain clients believe that they shouldn’t run at all because it will inhibit their muscle gain. However, we have a computer program that we use with our clients that clearly shows that weight loss is quicker with the addition of cardio (I would of course suggest running).

    Keep preaching and teaching! You know you’re making a difference.

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