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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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July 09, 2013

The Evidence Continues to Mount Against Chronic Cardio

By Mark Sisson
306 Comments

Chronic CardioIt’s been awhile since I did a post on chronic cardio. I had a good string of them going several years ago, and I thought I’d done a good job explaining why I was so opposed to excessive endurance training. Despite my attempts to clarify, though, I still receive a lot of questions and comments about cardio. People just have a tough time divorcing themselves from the notion that cardio – as much as you can cram into your schedule – is the key to health and fitness. I don’t blame them, really. It’s conventional wisdom, after all, and it’s what I thought for years and years. Clearly, another post is needed.

Evidence against chronic cardio continues to mount, so there’s a lot to cover. But before we get to all the research, I have a few thoughts about the heart.

Here’s the thing about the heart: being an involuntary muscle, it has no say in the matter. It pretty much feels nothing, too. It’s along for the ride. Just like the liver, kidneys, pancreas, thyroid, adrenals, etc., the heart responds to biochemical signals. It’s a demand organ. Minor changes in blood chemistry (epinephrine, cortisol, insulin, lactic acid, hemoglobin-depleted RBC’s, to name a few) cause it to respond by beating faster or slower, forcefully or not, to keep pace with the muscles’ (and other organs’) demand for oxygen and fuel. During exercise, it’s the brain that starts this whole process with a (usually) conscious decision: “I think I’ll run to that tree.” That thought prompts the muscles of the legs to start moving faster and the arms to pump. The new, increased demand for oxygen and added fuel (over and above normal resting metabolism) signals the heart to start to fulfill the demand, to pump harder and faster. It’s obliged to do so. Period. No choice. That’s also why it’s always a bit behind schedule: it takes more than a few seconds to ramp itself up once the action begins and a few seconds or minutes (or hours, in the case of an over-trainer) to ramp down, once it’s over.

The problem with chronic cardio is that we can force our brains to override some of the tiredness (no pain, no gain, pal) and discomfort in the legs – and to a certain extent even the lungs – and keep doing these hard endurance workouts incessantly day in and day out. The ostensible limiting factor is the ability to burn fat or, at the very least, the amount of glycogen still left in our muscles. That’s what eventually brings us to a halt, frequently because we have willed ourselves to keep going through the wall at all costs. But the heart is often over-worked in this scenario, just trying to keep up with that “inhuman” (and inhumane) desire to run, cycle, or swim further and faster in pursuit of…what? A medal? A ribbon? Bragging rights? It can’t say no. It attempts to do as we bid it. And because the heart feels little-to-no pain – unless, perhaps, it feels the REAL pain of a heart attack – it very often suffers silently as a result without us ever knowing. The walls of the heart start to hypertrophy over time the same way a biceps muscle does when you do curls. But do a few too many curls and your biceps will get sore quickly. Force yourself to do a few more and you could even tear something and be out of contention for a few weeks. We know when to stop before that bicep tears.

Cardiac muscle doesn’t tear that way when over-worked, but it does enlarge and thicken with chronic overuse. In some – most – people the thickening is probably not life-threatening, but in some cases, as with dozens of world class athletes I have personally known, this thickening can cause all manner of issues later in life. Atrial fibrillation has become a mild epidemic in my generation of life-long aerobicizers; several of my friends have had pacemakers or defibrillators implanted before the age of 40 to head-off those sporadic life-threatening cardiac enervation problems. A few more friends have lost significant cardiac function and a few have died.

But don’t take my word for it. The silent epidemic of heart issues among endurance athletes is getting serious attention in the research community. Let’s take a look at some of the latest research.

Cardiac Arrhythmias

Cardiac arrhythmias are abnormal electric activities of the heart. An arrhythmia can describe a heart that beats too fast, too slowly, too irregularly, or too “fluttery.” An arrhythmia doesn’t always indicate or foretell heart trouble, but it’s a common risk factor. One of the more common varieties is atrial fibrillation (AF), which describes a fast, irregular heartbeat. AF is strongly linked to stroke and cognitive decline.

Endurance athletes are at a greater risk for atrial fibrillations than the general, non-running public. One recent study of cross country skiers even found that the best athletes, the top performers, were more likely to have cardiac arrhythmias than the rest. Moderate exercisers, meanwhile, are at a lower risk for AF than the general, non-running public. A recent comprehensive study offers several potential explanations for the increased risk:

  • Increased fibrosis (scar tissue formation) in the heart.
  • Myocardial injury to the heart, as evidenced by post-training elevated cardiac biomarkers typically used to diagnose injury. Probably not a big deal so long as you recover fully from your training, but most cardio junkies can’t wait that long to log more miles.
  • Excessive amounts of inflammatory markers brought on by training. These markers have been linked to AF.

Endurance-related AF usually starts off infrequent. The older you get and the more miles you log, the more entrenched and regular your atrial fibrillation may get. Some studies found that around 40% of athletes with AF eventually progress to persistent AF, where it’s happening on a regular basis. That’s the troubling kind of AF that may presage serious cardiovascular problems, like stroke.

Atherosclerosis

It’s totally counterintuitive to think that endurance athletes are at risk for arterial plaque. “You mean to tell me that the wispy greybeard whizzing past my house in short shorts every evening could have clogged arteries? No way.” Maybe, just maybe.

A 2011 study found evidence of carotid and peripheral atherosclerosis in a group of marathoners. Although there was no control group of non-runners in that study, another study compared the arteries of marathon runners to a control group of sedentary non-marathoners. Marathoners had more calcified plaque in their coronary arteries, which has been linked to stroke and dementia. The tricky thing about these cases is that endurance athletes with atherosclerosis don’t evince the regular signs. Whereas your typical sedentary guy with extensive atherosclerosis will probably have all the hallmarks (metabolic syndrome, abdominal obesity, hypertension, etc.), marathon runners with atherosclerosis don’t fit the traditional cardiovascular risk profile.

It might be time to add “trains for endurance athletics” to the list of risk factors.

Oxidative Stress/Overtraining

It’s no secret that endurance training induces oxidative stress on the athlete. That’s how we get better – by encountering a stressor, being broken down a bit, and then recovering stronger than before so that the next time we encounter the stressor, we’ll be better than the last time. Whether we’re talking strength training, marathon running, cycling, gymnastics, martial arts, or even studying for a trigonometry class, we have to challenge our physiology to get better, and challenges to the physiology mean oxidative stress. Problems arise when we don’t let up, when we keep the intensity elevated and the days off few and far between. We’re constantly in that post-workout state, and it starts to look like chronic oxidative stress for all intents and purposes. Even if our times are improving, we’re not truly recovering. It’s a two steps forward, one step back kind of thing.

So. Those are just a few of the reasons I am no fan of chronic cardio (and don’t get me started on the bad backs, osteoarthritis, hip and knee replacements and chronic tendonitis among my former elite endurance peers). A strong will can be a great thing for survival, for business and for relationships, but it can also get you in trouble if you don’t pay attention to your training load.

Having said all that, I am still a big fan of weights, of brief, intermittent interval training and I am all for doing a fair amount of mixed low-level cardio, the kind that doesn’t overstress the heart or involve so much repetitive joint motion that it causes chronic injury. That makes sense in an ancestral context. You’re expending energy at a high rate, but you’re not going long enough that it becomes a liability. Or, if you’re going long, you’re taking it easy enough that you have the energy to make it back home, possibly carrying food.

I’m not even against a long training run or ride once in a while, provided you are trained, rested and allow enough recovery afterwards. I’m even OK with running marathons occasionally or jumping into a short triathlon now and then. As a species, we obviously have the capacity to go long and relatively hard every now and again. It’s the chronic, day-in, day-out long, hard stuff that is counter-productive. If you did that twenty thousand years ago, when your next meal – and that of your entire family/tribe – was on the line, when calories were somewhat precious, when you didn’t have an air-conditioned caravan of trainers, massage therapists, and coolers filled with electrolyte drinks following along after you, you’d be foolish. You simply wouldn’t do it.

That we can run marathons (and do other stupid things) and know that we’ll get out alive is a luxury of modern living. There are so many other less damaging ways to achieve what I would call high-level adaptive fitness by using a variety of training methods, all of which can be cardio-protective and joint strengthening when done the right way in at the appropriate times. Heck, when it comes to hypertension, blood lipids, and type 2 diabetes, walking is just as effective as running – without the potential downsides. Everyone can walk. Everyone thinks they can run, but running is a skill that must be learned. To run with poor form is to welcome injury, doubly so if you’re running an excessive amount. And all this will be addressed in detail in my forthcoming book, Primal Endurance. For now, use your brain and listen to your body.

My point, of course, is that the human organism is made for short, intense bursts of activity laid atop a foundation of frequent slow moving. We aren’t “supposed” to run as hard as we can for two or three hours. We’re not supposed to run with the express purpose of “burning calories.” We can certainly choose to do those activities, and we’ll become adapted (or perhaps inured) to them, and they may even make us “fit,” but they’re not the healthiest, most efficient path to fitness. Chronic cardio is the meandering, roundabout trail that will get you there with a ton of bruises, scratches, a tick or two, and a sprained ankle. Oh, and you might get eaten by a bear along the way.

Your choice.

Thanks for reading, folks. I’d love to hear your thoughts on cardio, both chronic and otherwise. Let me know in the comment section!

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306 Comments on "The Evidence Continues to Mount Against Chronic Cardio"

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Groktimus Primal
3 years 2 months ago

So the secret lies somewhere between eating Snackwells on the couch and running marathons!

Amy
Amy
3 years 2 months ago

+1000

I tried to explain this to a chronic cardio friend (she’s already had joint surgery at 35!) but it gets lost.

Kayu
Kayu
3 years 2 months ago

Yeah, I have a sister-in-law who at 40 is physically worn out, has had joint surgery multiple times, thyroid cancer, hair is thinning, can’t sleep, etc but says she will keep on running even if she has only stubs to go on. Should I mention she won’t give up her low fat high carb diet either?

Mike D.
Mike D.
10 months 4 days ago

Genetics probably has a lot to do with your sister-in-law’s poor condition at age 40 as well.

whorekitten
whorekitten
3 years 2 months ago

LMAO om nom nom!

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
3 years 2 months ago

This sounds like yet another case of too much of something being just as dangerous as too little. Thank god we all know where the sweet spot is now!

Madeleine
3 years 2 months ago

Yes, this is an interesting post considering we’re in the middle of Tour de France fever – ultimate in chronic cardio?
I enjoy my once-a-week long 14km run, I run along the river, listen to podcasts and take it easy Yes, I find it relaxing. But any more running than that or if I train hard, I get grumpy, sore and over it very quickly.

James
3 years 2 months ago

I ran for years; from cross country in high school to marathon running into my 30s. I thought getting sick, tired and exhausted was all part of the journey to strengthen my physically and mentally. I finally broke down and quit once I came across MDA. How could I not listen to a former elite runner, right?

John Ward
3 years 2 months ago

From one who has done marathons and martial arts I always thought that training was as very well described – ” we have to challenge our physiology to get better, and challenges to the physiology mean oxidative stress.”

I agree entirely with – ” Problems arise when we don’t let up, when we keep the intensity elevated and the days off few and far between”

I have seen a lot of people break down because they do not give the body sufficient rest

Jon

mike
mike
3 years 2 months ago

I wonder if Crossfit’s programming falls into “brief, interval training,” because sometimes I feel like the metcons are too much.

MattyT
MattyT
3 years 2 months ago

When i quit doing Crossfit everyday my bodyfat percentage dropped and my sex drive skyrocketed. N=1, but I’m never going back. Chronic HIIT is worse than Chonic cardio in my opinion.

Kat
Kat
3 years 2 months ago

I fell in love with you a little bit when I read your last sentence. That is all.

David Pryor
David Pryor
3 years 2 months ago
There was a great post on Robbwolf.com a while back that pointed out that Crossfit, done wrong, is just trading chronic cardio on a treadmill for chronic cardio with weights! I have been in a Crossfit gym for almost three years, and have really plateaued from the complete randomization and too-intense metcons three times a week. My current plan is to metcon only one day a week, and work on my olympic lifts the other days. I also run ultras, which I would argue are not chronic cardio because they are done at such a low pace, I stay in… Read more »
Martin
Martin
3 years 2 months ago

David, from my experience it does not really matter what running events you do (I went from 21/42K to ultras myself) but what you do in the training phase 😉

David Pryor
David Pryor
3 years 2 months ago

I agree, and now realize my post was not very clear. I actually don’t “train” very much for the events I do, short of long runs (damned near hikes) on the weekend, very few miles of faster-paced stuff during the week, and Crossfit / weight training. Not a lot of high heart-rate tempo runs, which is what I think Mark has in mind with his criticism of chronic cardio.

James
James
2 years 10 months ago

Wow. I just joined a cross fit gym and was wondering the same thing with cronic cardio in mind. You mentioned metcons and ultras?have me a lot to research. Thank You very much!!

Mark P
3 years 2 months ago
It definitely doesn’t, IMHO. Those WODs are simply too long for “metabolic-conditioning”. The sub-10-minute workouts seem okay, but I see plenty of them last 20 minutes and longer. Basically, you’re pushing your glycolytic pathway to the max (AKA, sugar-burning metabolism) when you get into these prolonged bouts of Crossfit. If I am correct, this is the same thing as running on the treadmill for an hour. In my writings, you can tell that I’m definitely not a fan of Crossfit – http://www.brainbodybelly.com/2013/05/07/about-crossfit/ In response to David Pryor, Robb Wolf is totally on point. In addition to being totally shunned by… Read more »
Brian
Brian
3 years 2 months ago
Hi Mark, Love the website and read it daily. However, I don’t get your obsession with telling people to avoid chronic cardio! I’m sure that the vast majority of people out there are not training for marathons at an elite level. What seems more likely is that you’ll turn someone off from training for their first 5k or 10k or half-marathon out of fear of doing more harm than good! I know you often preach to “move often at a slow pace”, but I think it would be nice to supplement these articles with more encouragement to do healthy amounts… Read more »
Dalton K.
Dalton K.
3 years 2 months ago

I’d have to agree with you here. I just got out of high school where I ran cross country and track and while I was never the fastest, I was miles ahead of my buddies that ran extra miles after practice or 20+ miles over the weekend. It was a rule that I ran slowly in practice and did no weekend running and almost always beat the guys that did. The only time I didn’t win was against a genetic freak who could run three times as much as the rest of us and keep going.

Mantonat
Mantonat
3 years 2 months ago
“I think it would be nice to supplement these articles with more encouragement to do healthy amounts of cardio.” I think that’s exactly what he did when he said “walking is just as effective as running” and “everyone can walk.” His point is that running has become the most recommended form of “fitness” in America, even though most people don’t know how to do it properly and most people overdo it and that a couple of decades of doing it wrong can lead to serious issues, even among non-elite athletes. Running is something humans do when they want to catch… Read more »
Randy Stimpson
3 years 2 months ago

I thought spouse wrestling was chronic cardio

Dzoldzaya
Dzoldzaya
3 years 2 months ago

I think you must be doing it wrong, spouse wrestling is definitely HIIT.

Amy
Amy
3 years 2 months ago

“I’m sure that the vast majority of people out there are not training for marathons at an elite level. What seems more likely is that you’ll turn someone off from training for their first 5k or 10k or half-marathon out of fear of doing more harm than good! ”

Someone might skip a totally pointless running contest in favor of daily walking or learning to weight lift properly? Quelle horreur! 🙂

Unfortunately, I disagree. I know many people who completely equate fitness=running, one who is determined to destroy her health over it. These type of posts are very much needed occasionally.

Lea
Lea
3 years 2 months ago

I would personally like to see a lot more information about middle of the road cardio. There is a lot of wiggle room between walking and 100 miles a week. It can’t be all bad.

Nocona
Nocona
3 years 2 months ago

Lea, spoken like a true Cortisol junkie.

Trevor
Trevor
3 years 7 days ago

If you want the cardiac and fat burning benefits of cardio, powerlifting is a much better way to get them, and you don’t risk overtraining. Likewise, hiit does this as well, except it doesn’t make you as much stronger as powerlifting does. Training for half marathons or 5ks is stupid; if you are strong (like a decent powerlifter) and have a low body fat percentage (you can get this from diet) you can do one of these easily at a moment’s notice. I have before. There’s no reason to screw up your health so you can do it.

MattyT
MattyT
3 years 2 months ago

By all means keep jogging, if you want to be skinny fat. Lift heavy stuff and walk a lot in nature for a few months and see how much better you feel (and look).

Jay Gloab
Jay Gloab
3 years 2 months ago

These two things are not mutually exclusive, you know.

I don’t think running is going to make anyone fat.

Amy
Amy
3 years 2 months ago
“I don’t think running is going to make anyone fat.” Actually…it can. The provisio is that you need to be doing serious mileage each week. Here’s how it happens, in an over simplified way. Running consumes a tremendous amount of energy in a short time. By the end, muscles have exhausted their stores of glucose and possibly even metbolised themselves for energy because the liver can’t supply glucose in time. The muscles, in need of recharge and rebuilding, stimulate the appetite. The hunger that comes is huge – it’s overwhelming because your body thinks you’ve just been chased by a… Read more »
Jay Gloab
Jay Gloab
3 years 2 months ago

This may be dependent on the distance and intensity. My typical runs are under 30 minutes, and not very hard. I do not find myself to be particularly hungry afterwards, and in fact I do this in the middle of intermittent fasting periods as I’m working on weight loss at the moment, and don’t find myself any more ravenous before lunch.

So I stand by my earlier statement, slightly amended: Running won’t make you fat, in and of itself. However, over-training *in any kind of exercise* can cause problems. Fair?

drea
drea
3 years 2 months ago

^ This is exactly what happened to me in college. Exactly.

At the end of my 4 years I finally decided I was quitting running (because I hated it) and would only do fun things to stay fit (playing sports, rock climbing, biking, handstands, cartwheels, what-have-you). I shed 30 of the 40 lbs I gained in college without even trying. Largely because my appetite was greatly reduced and I was working jobs that could be described as moving at a slow pace throughout the day.

Mark
Mark
2 years 7 months ago
I am never as hungry after even a long running session as I am after a hard lifting session. I remember the first time I lifted weights about half a year ago, I was ravenously hungry–literally for days my appetite was crazy high. That’s calmed down, but I still get the feeling sometimes from lifting. Anyway, it is most likely the crap your friend is eating that’s making her fat rather than running. I run 30-40 miles a week (not too extreme I don’t think), lift 2x per week, and have been gaining strength and not much weight. I eat… Read more »
Superchunk
Superchunk
3 years 2 months ago
Hmmm…not to be obnoxiously contrarian, (although that’s in my nature) but I think there are a number of mechanisms that could essentially equate to “running making you fat”. The mechanisms could include: – When running causes muscles to atrophy from lack of resistance and the short range of motion involved in most running, (another big problem) you will effectively become like a lot of the people I see on treadmills who are basically skeletons surrounded by blubber, largely due to lack of muscle size and tone. So, did they get fatter? Proportionally yes because even if they “lost fat”, they… Read more »
Paul
Paul
3 years 10 days ago

“One could argue that it is selection bias, but the leanest people I see in gyms are almost always spending the majority of their energy lifting not running.”

Are they truly lifters, or actually body builders? If body builders, they’re probably more diet-conscious than the average runner or lifter. As you surely know, muscles (and leanness) are made in the kitchen.

Susan
Susan
3 years 2 months ago

+1

michael
michael
3 years 2 months ago

If only I could run a little AND lift weights. Boy, that would be nice.

Alas, it’s impossible to do both and live.

Julie
Julie
3 years 2 months ago

So true, so sad.

Panko
Panko
3 years 2 months ago

I’m pretty new to the concept of Primal fitness and would appreciate people’s comments on my general week:

– Several long walks.
– 1 game (1.5 hours) of ultimate frisbee or one flow yoga class.
– 3 crossfit classes (actual exercise less than the hour long class).

I’m often sore and recovering, but I feel well and getting stronger/fitter. Is this too much exercise? Would it be considered chronic? Too much high intensity? I’m not one of those people that feel like a failure if they don’t puke during crossfit… but I’m still working pretty damn hard.

Metric
Metric
3 years 2 months ago

I’d say that looks good.

Mantonat
Mantonat
3 years 2 months ago

Why do you pay to go to a class to sweat and get sore?

Panko
Panko
3 years 2 months ago

Mantonat: For me it comes down to motivation. In years past, I’ve tried various self-directed exercise regimes that all quickly fail due to me making excuses. With sceduled classes, I just need to convince myself to show up and the trainers figure everything else out.

Mantonat
Mantonat
3 years 2 months ago
And I probably sounded a little judgmental there. I get it that it’s difficult to find ways to stay fit when modern life isn’t really geared toward it. I did the gym thing for a few years and lost some weight, but I found that it wasn’t sustainable. I hated the regimen of doing the same stuff all the time, the drive to the gym, the smell of stale sweat, jostling for space with other sweaty people, etc. It seems like Mark takes every opportunity possible to talk about finding things that you enjoy doing that also involve getting the… Read more »
MetalStorm
MetalStorm
3 years 2 months ago

Get yourself a pair of Gymnastics rings – you can get a set that can be attached to a variety of things at a cheap price. Then learn the “Muscle up” on rings, and you you can say good bye to needing a gym (just make sure you do weighted squats also, get a barbell for this purpose, or go full primal and use an old rock for weight). A complete workout can be done on the rings or bar, almost anywhere.

Paul
Paul
3 years 10 days ago

“or go full primal and use an old rock for weight)” –Mantonat

Thanks to Antiques Roadshow old rocks are now very expensive, can I use a new rock instead?

Paul
Paul
3 years 10 days ago

^^^ correction: quote should be attributed to MetalStorm

craig almaguer
3 years 2 months ago

I’d say this looks pretty good too. “maybe” drop to just 2 CF classes and do a lighter (maintenance) workout on the 3rd? Just a thought. or sub in a serious mobility class. Sounds like you need it anyway after the UF? I walk 3-4 times a week…about 50 minutes, and do 2-3 CF per week. An occasional soccer game in there too. For me it’s the games that cause the most soreness. 🙂 I’m 45 too.

Stacie
3 years 2 months ago
Honestly, you can’t really compare YOU to anyone else. I think it’s all about balance: balance in your diet, your exercise, your rest and recovery, and your stress levels. Do you beat yourself up when you miss a CrossFit class? Are you tired all the time? Do you get enough sleep? You have to be constantly asking yourself these questions and be completely honest with your answers. I’ve looked into CrossFit on several occasions; I’m a very competitive person and I love lifting, so several people have told me I would love CF. BUT I also played collegiate sports and… Read more »
Braden Talbot
3 years 2 months ago

Now if only I could convince my family. Cardio is the workout shibboleth.

Jordan
Jordan
3 years 2 months ago
It is funny, that for my entire young adult life I prided myself on how “healthy” I was – biking to the gym each morning to take an hour long spin class. If I didn’t feel like I would drop dead I wasn’t working hard enough. It was a constant battle against fatique – but I was doing the right thing right? Strengthening my heart right? Wow…. I definatly burnt out of that lifestyle and luckily around the same time that I fell across this website. I’m glad/relieved to know the key is really to easy low intensity cardio often… Read more »
Alannah
Alannah
3 years 2 months ago

I agree that chronic cardio is dangerous, but at the same time I really enjoy distance running, so I stick with it because it’s better than no exercise. And I’m not going out and doing marathons every day, the max would be maybe 12 K once a week. I don’t view this as chronic cardio but maybe I’m wrong. I do need to work on the moving slowly frequently part of Primal living! A desk job really does nothing to help that haha.

Jay Gloab
Jay Gloab
3 years 2 months ago

This is basically where I fall. I enjoy running. I don’t intend to ever run a marathon (maybe a half, at most), but I feel like 5k twice a week and a longer run once a week isn’t really overdoing it.

Also I do high intensity weight training twice a week so my exercise isn’t all cardio.

Mantonat
Mantonat
3 years 2 months ago

That sounds reasonable, especially if you aren’t trying to run too fast. I think Mark has recommended nothing faster than 10-11 minutes per mile.

Jay Gloab
Jay Gloab
3 years 2 months ago

Sheesh, that’s barely running. I don’t think I could run slower than that if I tried.

Mark Sisson
3 years 2 months ago

Mantonat, pace depends on relative fitness and how often you do it. I am not against a couple of hard runs or rides once in a while. It’s just that doing it every day or 4-5 days a week starts to become antithetical to health.

Sarah
Sarah
3 years 2 months ago
I think that if you are doing something and you are enjoying it then you should keep doing it. I have just started training 3X a week for a 5k and I am really enjoying it, and have lost (excess) belly fat. I read articles like these and then I think “am I doing the right thing, but now I just remind myself that I am enjoying what I am doing and it works for me, so I shouldn’t worry”…. That being said, extreme running/cycling (like every day) or big distances like marathon running, or doing so much cardio that… Read more »
Pat
Pat
9 months 20 days ago
I commute to work by bike once or twice a week (24 miles) and do a longer ride on the weekends of 40 – 50 miles. I used to ride like a bat out of hell thinking it was good for me. Since reading comments on the boards, I’ve begun to understand the wisdom of slowing down a bit. I believe trying to crank up the speed in my riding was increasing my cortisol level with the end result of no real weight loss. I enjoy my rides more now and I’ve actually lost a couple of pounds…win, win
Bryan
Bryan
3 years 2 months ago

Before I came across MDA, I lost the bulk of my excessive weight via running. It turned into a second full time job, running at least every other day and as the mileage increased it became even more time consuming. I still run 4 or 5 local 10K events supporting a local charity or group, but I don’t run near the mileage that I used too. More importantly, I don’t feel like I need to run that kind of mileage anymore.

Bjjcaveman
3 years 2 months ago

It’s interesting because for me too I found that my weight comes off faster with running than it does with anything else… Bjj and crossfit and weight training included!

Stacie
3 years 2 months ago
Just thinking out loud, but I’m wondering if you lost any muscle through all the running? I run about once a week and also bike quite a bit, but what I’ve enjoyed about the PB is how strong I am feeling again. I haven’t seen a ton of movement on the scale, but I can see a definite change in body comp and strength gains, which leads me to believe that I am losing fat and gaining muscle, so at least my measly five pounds of weight loss is mostly (if not all) fat. Again, I think this all comes… Read more »
Bryan
Bryan
3 years 2 months ago
I became obsessed with ‘getting’ healthy and incorrectly assumed that running was the only way to do it. I don’t think I was losing muscle as I was running hills and steep terrain and getting faster. However, on my ‘off’ days I would I would allow myself to step away from my otherwise okay diet. Beer, cheese (Wisconsinite here), etc… After reading MDA, it’s the classic ‘what not to do’, I was at a point of treading water. Disappointed with not being able to lose that little bit around my core via running, I did a round of P90X Lean… Read more »
Speedy
Speedy
3 years 2 months ago
What about the competitive athlete who is less “chronic?” This entry seems pointed to the non-stop athlete who doesn’t train smart and allow for proper – if any – recovery time. I’m a competitive cyclist who trains 6 to 8 hours a week and varies the weekly training pace with some hard days, endurance/moderate pace days, and easy recovery pace days. I even have a couple off days a week because that’s just life and having other responsibilities. I’ve been on a paleo/primal diet approach for about 3 months and am seeing my best form ever on the bike. Is… Read more »
Amy
Amy
3 years 2 months ago
I don’t have any research at alll, but I do have a free opinion (the best kind). 😉 Do you actually enjoy that much training? Will you become pro? What does biking in general mean to you? Could you stop and pick up another form of exercise if you became injured? Could you get on your bike and simply enjoy the ride and the sunshine? If you’re not having fun (the *only* point is the competition), then it’s not something that encourages health. Cardio can be a very addictive activity (runner’s high anyone?). I know people who have sworn up… Read more »
Nocona
Nocona
3 years 2 months ago

Took the words right outta me mouth…

Stacie
3 years 2 months ago

+1

Along these same lines, has anyone read through Paleo for Athletes? I saw it at a sports clothing store and thought about buying it since I’m still fairly active and just love competition and sports, but then put it back because I didn’t think it would tell me anything that the PB hasn’t already.

BillP
BillP
3 years 2 months ago

Well said. Combining a competitive personality with an addictive activity is a recipe for overworking.

Speedy
Speedy
3 years 2 months ago
Of couse I enjoy riding my bike and competing, otherwise, why would I train? You don’t have to be a pro (and I never will be) to pursue a sport with a desire to achieve and improve. I prefer to call it a passion since it is my conscious choice (addiction is not a choice) and am well aware that competitive endurance is not the optimal path to health. Quite frankly though, I don’t care because it’s something I love to do. What I do care about is doing the best I can to mitigate the inflammation/damage and optimize my… Read more »
Mark
Mark
2 years 7 months ago

I had similar questions about the marathoners. They’re traditionally a high-grain, high-carb consuming bunch, both in the long-term and binging before races, which sounds like a more reasonable explanation of atherosclerosis to me than running.

Of course, when you define a group as runners instead of high-carb dieters, it is most likely the running and not the high-carb dieting that will get the blame for any health ills.

Greg
Greg
3 years 2 months ago

I’m on board, but this is not an easy philisophy for a 44 year old to accept. But it’s working, and I like it!

John D
John D
3 years 2 months ago
I’m 62 and have run marathons and half marathons for quite a while. Now wisdom, injury, laziness and a little MDA have brought common sense into my life and I have wound that activity down. I still do one race a year, the Air Force Half, just since I’ve done about 20 in a row and want to do another 20. But I found Senior Olympics as well and now do 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500 meter track and field. Times pretty much suck, but I am in the game. Doing intervals and twice a week weights is really… Read more »
Kevin
Kevin
3 years 2 months ago

I wish “sprinting” would get as hip and trendy as distance running does. Theirs no better feeling than when you get into that peak acceleration in my opinion…

The problem is, you can’t exactly “spend an afternoon” doing it.

Anyone want to start a sprint club in ATX?

Sean
Sean
3 years 2 months ago

“hip and trendy” – you hit the nail on the head with that statement. Need proof? Just take a drive around town and start counting all the “26.2” and “13.1” stickers.

My personal favorite is the 0.0 sticker 😉

The Beckster
The Beckster
3 years 2 months ago

I never knew what those stickers meant. I’m definitely not a marathoner! I don’t even like to ride 26.2 miles in the car.

Lea
Lea
3 years 2 months ago

“My personal favorite is the 0.0 sticker”
Hah! If I ever see one of those I will totally buy it.

Maybe you should start selling .1111 stickers.

John
John
3 years 2 months ago

ok, guess I’m dumb – I don’t get the “.1111” comment….

Amy
Amy
3 years 2 months ago

+1

Nocona
Nocona
3 years 2 months ago

+.1111

Paleo-curious
3 years 2 months ago
I have a related question– lately I’ve been doing a lot of heavy work in the garden (digging, forking, mattocking clay soil, laying pavers, uprooting small saplings) for multiple hours a day. I stop to catch my breath between exertions, but I’m definitely pushing my endurance levels (I’m a middle-aged woman) & I began to wonder if I might be overdoing it. Mind you, I feel great (1000 times better than days when I don’t get outside), but I adore gardening so much, & I used to be a running addict, so I can’t entirely trust my instincts! Does the… Read more »
Stephanie
Stephanie
3 years 2 months ago

paleo curious-
I am only 10 months primal, but was also a former runner turned gardener. I’m sure gardening is excellent exercise but I would definitely listen to your body to know when to stop. I have an autoimmune condition so if I overdo it outside it gets ugly– surely transplanting that large shrub could wait till tomorrow? I’m getting stronger every month because I’m careful not to push it and at 43 years old I’ve NEVER felt this good.

Paleo-curious
3 years 2 months ago

Thanks Stephanie! Nice to know a fellow convert. 🙂

When you say “listen to your body,” how quickly do you get feedback? I surely know to look out for back pain or extreme exhaustion, but how can you tell if you’re just pushing a bit too hard, too often?

Amy
Amy
3 years 2 months ago

What do you feel like the next day? If you feel good, you did it right. If someone ran you over with a truck in the middle of the night, you might have pushed too hard yesterday. 😉

Just rest when it happens and you’ll be good to go. The goal is to feel good 80% of the time.

Amy
Amy
3 years 2 months ago

Or least, my goal is to feel good 80%-90% of the time. I’m not sure that’s universal. 😉

Paleo-curious
3 years 2 months ago
If that’s the criterion, I’m doing fine– I honestly feel better (& sleep *much* better) after hard garden days than when I’m stuck at the drawing table all day. But I would have said that about a hard run too until I ran my knees to bits… :-/ I was mainly carb-fueled then though, if that makes a difference. I’m a jitterbug by nature who somehow ended up in a line of work that is super-sedentary– I have to stay extremely still to paint the way I do– so when I have the chance, heavy gardening for hours feels absolutely… Read more »
Gordon
Gordon
3 years 2 months ago

I started early January this year with MDA and shortly after found a local conditioning gym. My best weeks are a mix of gym, walking or cycling all for about 1 hour each for an average of 3 hours, for the week!

I have lost 58lb to date.

I am comfortable with this volume of workouts as it still allows for the rest of my life to continue as normal

Louise
Louise
3 years 2 months ago
Thank you! This is perfect to show my family members. I have lost 70 lbs eating primal but I still have 50 to go. When I told my cousin I was going to be focusing on weight lifting this fall, maybe some o-lifting (she asked), she repeatedly and assertively told me that that it was too “static” and I needed to do some running. Static? Ha! Ever do a power clean? No, of course you haven’t. But her reaction is typical. Add the armchair exercise advisors to the red-meat-will-kill-you crowd. And don’t pay any attention to my chronic foot and… Read more »
Nocona
Nocona
3 years 2 months ago

Two – 25 minute body weight workouts and one 20 minute sprint session along with a few leisurely walks a week and I’m in better shape than when I was 25. That’s coming from a jock in their 50’s now! Call me a believer.

Mark Sisson
3 years 2 months ago

Nocona, and that’s the essence of the PB Fitness Pyramid.

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-succeed-with-the-primal-blueprint/

Nocona
Nocona
3 years 2 months ago

Man, I really thought that was not going to be enough workouts to get in tip-top shape. That’s why I said I’m a true believer. Thanks for all you do Mark. The PB Fitness Pyrymid works!

Courtney
Courtney
3 years 2 months ago
Hey Mark, I am curious about what the line is for “chronic cardio”. I understand why you might not want to do it, but I am not sure where the line is for too much and just right. I am fairly out of shape as it is and have been trying to walk an hour or two very slooow hours a day on a treadmill. Reason for the treadmill is that it has a padded deck and I have questionable knees. I figured this approach would help harden the legs up a bit and help prevent injury instead of going… Read more »
Mark Sisson
3 years 2 months ago

Courtney, slow walking on a treadmill is not in the realm of chronic cardio. Go for it.

Courtney
Courtney
3 years 2 months ago

Thanks 🙂

Dalton K.
Dalton K.
3 years 2 months ago
I just got out of high school where I ran cross country and track and while I was never the fastest, I was miles ahead of my buddies that ran extra miles after practice or 20+ miles over the weekend. It was a rule that I ran slowly in practice and did no weekend running and almost always beat the guys that did. The only time I didn’t win was against a genetic freak who could run three times as much as the rest of us and keep going like he hasn’t done a thing. I don’t think there’s anything… Read more »
Tom
3 years 2 months ago

Agree, this topic deserves more attention. Recently had my RQ, cals, anaerobic threshold and VO2 measured at gym. Showed that at HR of 144-154, I burn 80% fat on my primal diet. Learned that my jogs were too fast. Keeping HR at or below 150 leaves me feeling better after a run than before. Mark, is a long (3-5 mi) slow “run” 3-4 times a week chronic cardio?

Mark Sisson
3 years 2 months ago

Tom, probably not at that HR and distance.

Tom
3 years 2 months ago

Mark, thanks for your reply. New to MDA, PB. 3 mo ago, went primal. Have lost 15 lbs. feel great.
As a gastroenterologist, I noticed some of my Crohns patients go into remission after eliminating grains.
I’m sold on it.
Sure you thought about being a doctor. You’re helping more people doing what you’ve done the last 20 yrs.
Tom McGinn MD
Omaha NE

Michele
3 years 2 months ago
Thanks so much for writing this. It really couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I used to do Ironman Triathlons, marathons, etc – if it was long and slow, I did it. I thought I was in the best shape of my life when I did these. I since have had 2 kids and have fallen off the exercise bandwagon but keep saying that I need to get back. However, I found out in December that I have a genetic heart condition where my aortic tissue is weak, leading to it being enlarged. While it is not… Read more »
Amy
Amy
3 years 2 months ago

You may want to get a second opinion on the beta-blocker, even if you love your Doc. Have someone really explain the drugs, their side effects, and any possible alternatives. If you end up needing to go there with drugs, (we just had a bought with modern medicine involving our infant daughter), you’ll feel a whole lot better about it and much more involved.

Michele
3 years 2 months ago
Thanks Amy. I don’t actually love my doctor, and definitely plan on getting a 2nd opinion. I got a several month reprieve because I am still breastfeeding my son (he’s 11.5 months) but she wants me to go on the beta-blockers as soon as I am done. But when she explained that she also was trying to convince me that I should stop breastfeeding as there really was no point to do so after the baby is 12 months old and that really turned me off. She obviously has only one path in mind (drugs) and that path has no… Read more »
Amy
Amy
3 years 2 months ago

Ugh. I’m sorry – that is a turn off. My 18 month old daughter would disagree that there’s no point to nursing beyond 12 months. 🙁 (We’ve consistently weaned at 2, not 1).

Anyway, it’s hard to find good Docs, but it’s sooo worth the time and effort to find one. We went through a few Docs before we ultimately agreed with the original opinion and went ahead with surgery for our daughter. IMO, we ended up with a better overall experience and more importantly, a better surgeon for our child.

Feather
Feather
3 years 2 months ago
If you need a rebuttal for the breastfeeding: childrens adaptive immune system isn’t completely up and running until they are three. Until that time, they benefit from the antibodies they get through breastfeeding. And because mommies tend to get in contact with whatever the baby encounters, pathogen-wise, they tend to produce exactly the antibodies the little one needs. Kinda brilliant, really. In your case the question is if the benefit of ‘prolonged’ breastfeeding for your kid outweighs the benefit you could have from the meds. There may be a lot wrong with the medical establishment, meds can still save lives… Read more »
Meredith
3 years 2 months ago

Re: endurance athletes and atherosclerosis

I love Dr. Stephanie Seneff’s theory that atherosclerosis indicates a cholesterol deficiency. She argues that if the body’s default state is to heal, why would it put plaque so close to the heart? Maybe as a local storage site for cholesterol.

Anyway, this theory jives with some research on the “cholesterol lowering” effect of intense exercise. Food for thought.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-0838.1996.tb00475.x/abstract

Christy
Christy
3 years 2 months ago

Hey Mark,
I just finished the book “Born to Run”. I’m sure you’ve read it, or heard of Barefoot Ted, or seen these tribes in the world that thrive on running ultra distances?? Help me out here… is it the technique? the story is so convincing that running HUGE distances is how we evolved, basically saying Grok himself was an ancient ultra runner!

Peter
Peter
3 years 2 months ago

Christy,

Not sure if you heard, but in an unfortunate turn of events, Caballo Blanco (Micah True) died of heart issues on a run some time in 2012. Of course one data point does not a theory confirm, but there is a lot of science backing up what Mark is saying whereas there isn’t a lot of science claiming the HUGE distances are healthy.

Mark Sisson
3 years 2 months ago
Christy, we did evolve to be able to run upright, I agree. But we didn’t evolve to frequently run long distances at a high heart rate. Other than the Tarahumara, who are unique in the world really, no other “tribes” run very much. H-Gs have the ability to do persistence hunting once every few days (mostly as a result of always being Primally fit across a spectrum of ftness metrics), and if you’ve seen the videos, those guys aren’t running very fast at all. They are mostly jogging, resting, sprinting, cutting the tangent and using tracking skills. Then they usually… Read more »
Amy
Amy
3 years 2 months ago

Someday I think I should write “Born to Walk A Whole Lot and Sprint Occasionally” and see if I can make it best seller. Me thinks it would probably flop. 😉

Heather
Heather
3 years 2 months ago
@ Christy: Check out a book called ‘The Old Way: The Story of the First People’. The author (and her parents) spent years with the Bushmen of the Kalahari (African Savannah – where modern humans evolved into modern human). The “runners” were few and far between. They stalked prey. They didn’t run after it at a steady pace for hours on end. Prey doesn’t run from predators like that either. And – even if we were “born to run” due to hunting down animals that can’t apply to the female of the species because we weren’t part of the hunting… Read more »
Diane
Diane
3 years 2 months ago
I did a few long distance hikes (3 months of daily marathon-length hiking in the wilderness with a pack on.) The result was not good. I lost muscle, I screwed up my metabolism royally, I intuitively felt that this was not healthy even though I loved knowing I could walk 30 miles in a day like some kind of super-woman and even though being out in nature like that is wonderful. Now I follow the Primal Blueprint Fitness recommendations: 1x/week sprint, 2-3x/week lifting, daily slow walking, one hike a week as my “play”. My body is stronger, healthier and better… Read more »
kate
3 years 2 months ago
I’m not sure exactly where I stand on chronic cardio due to the fact that when I lost most of my baby weight I was a chronic cardio-er (minimum hour a day runner). I lost the final lb’s switching over to a Primal way of eating however and have since maintained my lowest weight ever (with a 5 lb window), and kept my body fat percentage at 16/17 percent (41 year old mom of three). I lift weights a few times a week, throw in some yoga and do sprints maybe once a week. So… there are my two cents.
Siobhan
Siobhan
3 years 2 months ago

Well Mark, I’ve resisted your efforts to get me to exercise for the past year and a half. Your new book probably will finally get me off my duff!

Megan
Megan
3 years 2 months ago
Several years ago I ran a few marathons & did some longer triathlons, culminating in an Ironman. Looking back, I can’t say the training was enjoyable, but there was a great sense of satisfaction that I could set a goal, figure out what I needed to do, and then meet that goal. The human body is amazing in its adaptability. Recently I gave birth to my first child (more amazement at the human body) and am pregnant with my second. I’ve found that going for a few walks/hikes, strength training a few times/week, doing some yoga, and sprinting 1x/week (when… Read more »
Alice
Alice
3 years 2 months ago

I’m trying to think of this in terms I can relate to. Is someone who does an aerobics class three days a week potentially damaging their heart, or is this limited to “ultra” and “endurance” athletes?

Mark Sisson
3 years 2 months ago

Alice, don’t overthink this. If you can do it 3x week and recover easily, then it’s not in the realm of chronic.

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[…] The Evidence Continues to Mount Against Chronic Cardio […]

Primal_Alex
3 years 2 months ago

I do not do cardio anymore. Not regularly at least.

Long walks and upstairs sprints, together with weightlifting circuits seem to keep my heart well trained without the boring and repetitive running sessions. So well trained that, every 5-6 months, I decide out of the blue to do a nice long run on the treadmill at a sustained pace. Guess what? It seems I am just as fit as I was when I was running 4 times per week.

No pain no gain? I would say: painless gain! How can you not love this?

MadMav
MadMav
3 years 2 months ago

As my wife goes out to train for yet another triathlon, i tell her I am going to sprint down to the mailbox (200 yards) and back for my work out today.. Just after i finish cooking my bacon.

GaryB444
GaryB444
3 years 2 months ago

I prefer walking – I walk 3 times a week, about 4 miles each. I live in the foothills of Northern CA and the route I take has considerable up and down-hill slopes,so it turns into a really good workout.. I don’t know if I could even run anymore. I have a touch of COPD so the walking is strenuous enough for me. I lost 40 lbs doing this as well as eating Paleo. Now I’ve added a weighted backpack to the routine to add intensity. Works for me.

Julia
Julia
3 years 2 months ago
Hello 🙂 as a former jazz aerobics instructor from the 80’s I completely understand all the detriments of chronic cardio…. I am wondering if I could get some thoughts about my current situation. I live in the deserts of Southern California and while during the cooler seasons I can always get in those long “low and slow” walks and hikes, I’m not sure what to do in the summer……90 degrees by 9 am is a standard. I do own an elliptical and this is the most convenient thing to do. What might you suggest? Elliptical for an hour super slow… Read more »
Scott
Scott
3 years 2 months ago
Food for thought to the marathoners: I had Jeff Galloway’s Book on Running. From what I recall Jeff talks about doing a seminar for marathon training. Jeff writes about a guy who asked if Jeff thought it were possible to only run once per week and not hit the 20 mile wall. Jeff said he didn’t think it was possible. But that’s how this guy was training; he was only running on the weekend. This guy only had time to put in one long distance run each week. Back then I had friends who thought they needed to run every… Read more »
Carey
Carey
3 years 2 months ago
Completely agree. When I run I know I’m not doing it properly. My knees ache as do my hips and feet. I’ve always hated it and knew something was wrong. Now I know why, haha! I walk a lot at work (big warehouse) but have just started adding an extra one in the evening. Felt great. BTW have lost 3 kg in 3 weeks going primal. Wasn’t a fatty to start with but was starting to soften at the belly. Now much leaner at 81kg. Am at 12% body fat. Wanna dip below 10. Cheers! This is a great website!… Read more »
Patrick Hansen
Patrick Hansen
3 years 2 months ago

Has anyone read anything on endurance training and hypothyroidism? I’m a 40 year old male, in shape and healthy. Spent much of my 30s doing distance running and hardcore marathoning/racing to almost one marathon a year combined with many other races. Gradually my TSH levels increased to the point where the doc put me on meds.

I HATE having to take a pill everyday (I don’t feel this way about supplements) and I can’t think that all the hardcore training had something to do with this.

Thoughts?

Derek H.
Derek H.
3 years 2 months ago

I’m a believer too. As a sugar burner marathoner I was 174 lbs at 18% body fat. Began primal blueprint this year and now 167 lbs at 12% body fat. Before I felt beat up all the time now I have energy to spare. I’ll never go back.

Derek H.
Derek H.
3 years 2 months ago

Patrick,I also did marathons in my 30s and my TSH levels say I have hypothyroidism. I’m 42 now I feel great the large majority of the time, exercise primally now and refuse to take medication. Don’t let the number on a test dictate how you feel. I came to realize the days after a meal with gluten is when I feel sluggish so I cut out gluten all together. Simple but not easy.

Nick Laszlo
Nick Laszlo
3 years 2 months ago
As a “Chronic Cardio” Success Story featured in the softcover PB, I have a few well-chosen thoughts on this topic of “chronic cardio”. Chronic cardio is a somewhat vague and mostly misunderstood concept, in my opinion. There is a broad spectrum of variables that go into appropriately defining chronic cardio in respect to each individual individually. Variables such as level of intensity, duration of exercise, conditioning of the individual, and their ability to recover from the effort. Is it “easy” on their mind, body and spirit? Do they feel energized or exhausted after their bout of endurance training? Did it… Read more »
Joy Beer
Joy Beer
3 years 2 months ago
I’m looking forward to any answer about this! I did not know about the Kenyan jogging style, for one. And it’s way true about the excessive carb intake. I’ve been a very good runner for over 33 years, and most of those were high carb. I stopped running my 5.5 miles/per day a year and a half ago and miraculously stopped having chronic colds and bronchitis. Now I catch NOTHING the rest of the office catches. But I still enjoy an occasional longer run with a friend, and still place high in races using sprints and lots of walking instead.
irunprimal
irunprimal
3 years 2 months ago

I used to run cross country and track in college and was definitely the leanest when I was training 60 miles a week (even on a grain based diet). Its hard to quit chronic cardio because I’ve never had such a rush as breaking 18 for the 5k, or running a 10k at 6 minute miles. I may be ‘healthier’ now but I just feel fat and slow. Anyone else feel like this.

Amy
Amy
3 years 2 months ago
I know people who complain about feeling fat and slow when they’ve stopped endurance exercise. To me, the focus of this post and their talks about is “the rush”. That’s endorphin addiction, buried in random time tracking (minute/miles) and body image. An addiction that requires running miles a week is probably better than many others I can think of, but it’s an addiction none the less. Truly appreciating what your other appendages are capable of might help ease the body image problem. Visit a nursing home and then feel the “rush” of taking a walk. Garden. Make a sculpture. Squat.… Read more »
Jeff F.
Jeff F.
3 years 2 months ago

Mark’s one of my heroes today in his late 50’s. I’m 54 and here’s one of my heroes from back in the day: Gary Player. He was a proponent of weight training and exercise before Tiger was even born. See what we’re capable of in our 70’s, the new 40!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB9O8WMcMHE

Nocona
Nocona
3 years 2 months ago

Thanks for the link Jeff. I love Gary Player. That man looks fantastic at 77.

Matt
3 years 2 months ago
I was just discussing with a critical care MD at work the other day the mounting body of evidence supporting increased mortality from endurance exercise. Right now it’s looking like anyone who logs around over 30 miles a week is doing more harm than good. And a. fib. is no good either. With the lack of turbulence in the heart from ineffective heart contractions it makes your blood easier to clot and is one of the biggest risk factors for having a stroke. Once in a. fib. it’s likely you’ll have to be on blood thinners like aspirin, plavix, or… Read more »
Rebecca
Rebecca
3 years 2 months ago

I am a former Cross Fitter and so glad I quit. I follow Rusty of FitnessBlackBook.com and it’s made all the difference. I feel like I am finally losing fat after getting bigger and being constantly swollen at CrossFit. As a woman, that was hardly the way I wanted to look. Weights and HIIT training done separately several times a week plus playing around with diet, has bee a revelation.

Mark Kelley
3 years 2 months ago

If only I didn’t have this bucket list goal of a sub 3 hour marathon I could give up these 70 mile weeks with speedwork. Yes – resistance training and MDA eating (but you gotta eat carbs with 70 miles/week too). I’m 52 and close to my time goal – and I swear once I achieve that i’ll back off..well…I’m planning on it anyway. One confession too – had mild AF last year.

Amy
Amy
3 years 2 months ago

This paragraph is cardio (endorphin) addiction in a nutshell. Is continuing to damage your heart *really* worth a sub 3 hour marathon? Isn’t your life worth something more than a time on a clock and short lived rush?

Nocona
Nocona
3 years 2 months ago

Mr. Kelley, give it a rest. You are a beautiful human and OK the way you are…

Kim
Kim
3 years 2 months ago
I haven’t been to the gym since summer began! My two exercise buddies are ages 10 and 8. So far, we’ve done crossfit kids (so fun, but not overwhelming), played tennis, completed our own kid’s tri (50 swim, 1 mile bike, .5 mile run), taken “long” bike rides ( 5 miles), scooter rides (4 miles), water-gun freeze tag, playground tag, had a balance day (stilts, pogo stick, skateboard and slackline), sprints on the track, and hiked to the river where we went tubing for 1/4 mile and repeated. Oh, and sometimes we play at the pool (I swim laps during… Read more »
Lee
Lee
3 years 2 months ago
While no one will ever accuse me of overtraining, I’m a 43 y.o. Female, 80% primal for 3 or so years, who spends about 6 minutes doing hill sprints, 3x a week. Add in a little gardening, the occasional walk or hike, and I look and feel great. Since I’m vacationing at the beach this week, the beach sprints are absolutely super-fun. I try the occasional push-up, and sadly, can rarely manage more than one – I admit that a little more body weight exercise would take care of that. But honestly, there’s never been an easier way to stay… Read more »
Julia
Julia
3 years 2 months ago

I’m still allowed to run the Boilermaker 15K this weekend, right?

It’ll be my… 17th? (And maybe my first one at a non-obese BMI.) I trained as a careful slow fat person. My pace is ~11 minute miles. But I still have all my original joints!

A primal-curious friend asked me how I justify my running in light of your concerns over chronic cardio. I theorized that I probably run too slow for it to count. Would that be a fair assessment?

kristine
kristine
3 years 2 months ago
I was a very competitive soccer player all my life (22yrs playing). I played in college, olympic development program, and professional. I loved every bit of it and would never regret one second of it. I didnt do it for the medal i did it because i loved it. I think a big problem athletes have is that many of us are never taught anything about health and nutrition. We play to the max but dont have the proper nutrition to rebuild. MY coaches only ever taught me how to play but not how to eat or take supplements. We… Read more »
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