SY Performance Monthly Muscle Flex – Can’t We All Just Get Along? Cardio is Not Your Enemy


Millennials and Gen Z may be too young to remember, but there was a time when cardio was LIFE.  Aerobics, jazzercise, and the timeless classic “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” hosted by Richard Simmons reigned supreme if you were serious about your health.  Suffice it to say a lot has changed. But I’d be lying if I said I understood the shade so many people now throw at cardiovascular exercise. I understand not enjoying cardio. I don’t like doing it myself some days. But I can’t for the life of me figure out why people think it’s now ineffective or counterproductive to good health.

You certainly don’t have to do the Locomotion at home alone five days a week, but there is simply no physiological reason to eschew cardiovascular exercise. Just like there’s no reason to ignore the benefits afforded by strength training. Both forms of exercise offer myriad benefits.

However, cardiovascular exercise offers exclusive benefits that you simply cannot reap from strength training alone. And it’s kind of a big deal since it affects brain activity.

Overview of Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Exercise

Flashback to 5th-grade science class with me. Remember when we learned about aerobic and anaerobic exercises?  That’s the key difference between cardio and strength training.  Cardio is an aerobic exercise. Strength training is an anaerobic exercise. 

Aerobic translates to “with oxygen.”  When you’re getting after it in a spin class, shaking it in Zumba class, running for your sanity, or whatever the case may be, the source of energy fueling your exercise is oxygen.  So you’re breathing deeply. This causes your heart to pump super oxygen-rich and nutrient-rich blood through your body

As such, aerobic exercise offers benefits such as lowering or regulating blood pressure and supercharging your immune system to make you less susceptible to colds, the flu, etc. It also strengthens your heart.

 By contrast, anaerobic translates to “without oxygen.” That means that when strength training, you are fueled by stored energy. Indeed, your body is breaking down glucose to fuel those dead lifts.

Anaerobic exercises also offer unique benefits such as burning fat, building muscles, increasing stamina and strengthening your bones. 

Brain Health: Cardio Comes Out on Top

Though cardio and strength training both improve your physical health and are proven to offer mental health benefits, only cardio directly improves your brain health. How?

It all comes back to the oxygen-rich blood flowing through your body while engaging in cardio exercise. The increased blood flow to the brain, according to the brainiacs over at Harvard, helps to:

  • Clear toxins from the brain
  • Protect against inflammation
  • Promote the development of new brain cells
  • Improve memory

Moreover, a multitude of studies suggests that regular cardiovascular exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus and your prefrontal cortex, both of which are vulnerable to neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. This benefit is exclusive to cardio exercise. No matter how many PRs you achieve (and then post about, obvs), weightlifting will just not provide these brain benefits.

Meeting in the Middle: A Healthy Mix of Both is Best for Most People

To get the most out of the time you spend actively working on improving your health, most people will benefit from a few days of cardio and a few days of strength training. Of course, you need to be mindful to let injuries heal, and you don’t need to try to become a powerlifter when you’re 75. But with few exceptions, balancing cardio and strength training will offer the most comprehensive benefits for your body and your mind. 

About SY Performance

SY Performance offers in-person and hybrid training at The Victory Stronghold, located at 519 S Victory Blvd in Burbank. SY Performance was founded by Burbank-based celebrity personal trainer Scott Yonehiro. Yonehiro created and launched the first “90-Day Body Transformation Program” in 2010. To date, thousands of individuals have completed the program, which utilizes a proprietary combination of science-based techniques coupled with fitness, nutrition, and mindset exercises to help individuals of all ages lose weight, reduce body fat, and increase muscle.


Email :




    BurCal Apartments8715