The most desirable answer to the question - “is cardio necessary” depends on how you feel about doing hours of cardio training. Right? The problem is, there is no clear answer because it all depends on what you, the workout warrior, are seeking to gain.
What is Your Goal?
While cardio exercise has more recently been shown to support muscle growth, something that was previously believed to only break muscles down; it’s not likely going to be the best option if you’re seeking massive muscle gains.
Another side to this equation is if you’re looking for a way to reduce body weight. You would be hard pressed to find a doctor or fitness professional to tell you that cardio “doesn’t” support losing weight. The real question is, how effective is it?
In contrast, maybe muscle gains and weight loss aren’t your goals and you either need to reduce weight for health reasons or because you're in the process of becoming an endurance athlete.
The Better Question
Instead of asking “is cardio necessary”, maybe we should be asking, “What does cardio really do for the body?” The answers might help put your own goals into new perspective.
Yeah, But What About Fat?
Is cardio necessary to get rid of fat? Cardio used to be known as the killer of fat. What you might not know is that cardio alone isn’t likely going to give you the optimum fat burning workout. It’s definitely a 1-2 punch. Weight lifting has been proven to be an incredibly efficient means to lose body fat, but it appears that the street where cardio and weightlifting combine, is the sweet spot. Cardio actually provides the fuel for your muscles to ensure great weight training sessions, helping you both lose fat and build muscle. The best results for losing weight will be choosing both when weight loss is your goal.
Fat Loss (Not so Minor) Detail
If you are going to put in a solid effort at the gym, doing both cardio and weight training, you cannot ignore the one thing that will negate both of these efforts. In short, your mouth. Burning 700 calories in an epic session isn’t going to mean anything if you walk out of the gym door and walk into the pizza joint next door. If your goal is to achieve weight loss, clean your diet first.
The Endurance Factor
Is cardio necessary if you’re thinking about doing a marathon, or triathlon? If you’re in it, for this reason, you know the answer already because cardio is one of the most important aspects of an endurance athlete’s training. If endurance is your goal, your bigger goal is bettering your consumption of oxygen. The best way to do this, yes, is aerobic exercise. When you increase your oxygen consumption, you send that oxygenated blood to the heart helping it perform more efficiently and with more ease. You’ll want to use a a forma sustained cardio exercise if endurance is your overall goal.