Everytime I’m at the gym, I notice the banks of “cardio” machines. In fact, for many consumers, the number and availability of the card machines is the single most important factor in decision making when buying a guy membership (which is why gyms can get away with less-than-optimal weight areas but they can’t get away from sub-par cardio equipment.) In the winter time (in Canada) I can understand how using a cardio-machine can be useful. Personally, I abhor most forms of cardio for the sake of doing cardiovascular work. I’ve been a competitive swimmer, and a competitive rower and we never did cardio just to do cardio. We worked out because we wanted to get faster. That being said, if it’s nice outside and you can run (or bike, or climb stairs, or row), there are a number of very good reasons why you should leave the gym and the endless run/bike/stairclimb to nowhere, but I’m going to focus on the biomechanics and energetics of running/walking.
Treadmill running is very different than overground running. Treadmill _walking_ is very different than overground walking. This has been shown time and time again in numerous biomechanics studies. But when it comes to fat loss and treadmill running or even treadmill intervals (if you’re of the school that cardio, in any of its many forms, including HIIT is important for fat loss), these differences are quite important. To understand some of these differences though, we need to have a language for gait.
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I’m no “real world” trainer, but if there’s anything that I am, it’s a “real world” researcher. And if there’s anything I can say that I do well, it’s research reviews. This review was a very exciting thing for me to do because this is a trial that has “real world” training implications and hopefully, you will see that not everything is crystal clear in an abstract. It also enabled me to demonstrate a few examples of how alternate analyses can be useful as well as the importance of succinct data reporting.
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