Can Cardio Give You Abs?
Cardio is incredibly popular for people seeking to lose weight, feel more energetic, and ensure that their heart and lungs are adequately healthy. Whilst it does come with some downsides: Care must be taken in order for to protect your joints and ligaments as poor running conditions can cause wear and tear. It is generally advisable to run on an incline when using a treadmill as it allows you to strain yourself to the same capacity as if you were running much faster on an even plane. This cuts down drastically on the force of your legs impacting against the treadmill and can help you avoid all manner of injuries.
But can It give you abs?
In short, yes. But it’s not magic. Abs are ALL about having a low body fat percentage and a developed core. The most important thing in order for ab visibility is actually the body fat percentage. You could be a mastermind and sit ups, crunches and all variety of core exercises – if your bodyfat is too high, your abs will never be visible. Running expends more energy than general weightlifting and as such will push you into a higher calorific deficit than if you didn’t run.
Running also develops your core, especially if you tense your abs whilst running. This is generally the most advisable way to run. Correct running form should take pressure away from your spine and onto the actual muscles on your back.
It’s important to note that visible abs do not necessarily correlate with physical health. If you have visible abs due to a comprehensive calorie deficit over a long period of time there is a chance that you may also be suffering from malnourishment. This however does not mean that EVERYONE with a six pack is malnourished, just those who haven’t taken the healthy route.
I Already Have Abs, Why Should I Keep Doing Cardio?
If you’re not concerned about losing your abs due to your current lifestyle or eating habits, then you should still consider implementing/keeping cardio in your training. A half hour of cardiovascular training 3-5 times a week can cause a notable difference in your energy levels, endurance during other workouts/tasks and of course your ability to fall asleep at night. A fair amount of medical evidence suggests semi-regular cardio training can help reduce your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attacks and a variety of other ailments too.
So What Are The Downside Of Cardio
Some studies suggest that intense (30+ minutes) cardio sessions cause a notable increase in cortisol levels, this is a stress hormone and can actually increase your bodies ability to store fat effectively. This will not matter too much if you’re already operating on a calorie deficit however.
Cardio is also believed to cause a temporary reduction in testosterone levels, this is bad for BOTH men and women as testosterone is a vital hormone necessary for muscle recovery and repair. Low levels in men can cause feelings of fatigue.
The most important takeaway from this is that whilst cardio can and will help you lose weight and even brings accompanying health benefits, it should always be done responsibly and within your own personal limits.
You can accelerate your progress by taking particular supplements that help aid recovery and muscle growth. Whey Protein Supplements are a great way of building muscle. A whey protein shake straight after a workout will definitely enhance the effect of your cardio. SAS Nutrition offer high quality supplements, we recommend them 100%.