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The Cardio-Free Diet

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Are you constantly pounding away on the treadmill but never losing a pound? Does every step on the StairMaster become more and more painful? Are you tired of endless workouts that only make you want to eat more? Cardiovascular workouts do burn a few calories, but far fewer than you think. And the more cardio you do, the hungrier you feel. Not only does cardio fail to help you lose weight, but it kills -- it kills your time, your energy, your joints, and your motivation. You burn a few measly calories but then eat twice as many afterward. The result? Weight gain -- and lots of it. The Cardio-Free Diet is a revolutionary four-phase program that emphasizes strength training to boost your metabolism; build lean, sexy muscles; and achieve all the same heart-healthy benefits of cardio. With just twenty minutes a day, three days a week, you can look and feel noticeably leaner, stronger, and younger than ever before. Weight loss expert Jim Karas has shaped the bodies of Diane Sawyer, Paula Zahn, Hugh Jackman, and even Oprah's best pal, Gayle King. With easy-to-follow instructions, Jim shows you how to exercise the right way in order to see incredible results. You won't just lose weight -- you'll sculpt a whole new physique. Watch the pounds disappear as you prepare delicious dishes such as apple balsamic chicken, Dijon turkey, feta vegetable omelets, and grilled tomato tuna. You can even enjoy a daily glass of wine! With detailed shopping lists, a variety of daily menus, and helpful tips on how to maintain your diet when eating out or ordering in, you'll never have to worry about what to eat. The Cardio-Free Diet offers maximum results in minimal time -- so break free from the mindless, ineffective cycle of cardio and get the body you've always wanted!

272 pages, Hardcover

First published April 10, 2007

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Jim Karas

14 books5 followers

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5 stars
11 (12%)
4 stars
36 (41%)
3 stars
27 (31%)
2 stars
10 (11%)
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2 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews
Profile Image for Kristina.
375 reviews2 followers
April 3, 2014
I found it to be an interesting concept. I'm not interested in the diet plan he sets out as it's just calorie counting which I do, but I am implementing the exercise plan. I'm burnt out on cardio and although I do weight training, I'm going to take it to a new level with Mr. Karas plan.
Profile Image for Lance Willett.
167 reviews13 followers
July 26, 2016
"Never step on a treadmill again..."

One of the better books I've read about combining diet and exercise for losing weight and keeping it off long-term. Practical tips combined with simple scientific and psychological principles.

Principles include things like: mindless exercise leads to forgettable results and mindless eating leads to memorable weight gain. Build lean muscles via strength training to boost your metabolism, a natural calorie burner. If you only do cardiovascular exercise you never hit muscle failure, therefore you don't build muscle; you'll also risk more injuries, be more bored, and create a bigger appetite — which leads to eating more.

To lose weight, the author suggests (and I've read the same thing in other books) aiming for a daily caloric deficit where you burn more calories than you consume. Once you reach a desired body shape or weight, you can then balance the equation to maintain it long-term while knowing you'll have good and bad days as life goes.

Eating tips: there are no forbidden foods, because you will crave it, and once you go back to "normal" eating, you'll need to find a way to eat anything that you can stick with forever. Low carbohydrate diets don't matter as much as low calories — you'll need to watch calories, meaning portions, in any kind of food. However, it's good to avoid or eat small amounts of processed carbs like white rice, pasta, bread, cookies, and cake; instead find high-fiber, complex carbs as they make you feel fuller and more satiated on fewer calories. Eat right before and right after exercise to restore muscle glycogen and speed up recovery. Space meals out with snacks so that you don't either get super hungry or overeat before you need to.

The book also covers related factors such as getting more sleep, reducing stress, drinking the right amount of water. Keeping track with things such as sharing your plan with friends and family, a scale you weigh in on each day at the same time, and how your clothes fit — all to make sure you keep on track. Good stuff!
Profile Image for timmylange.
1 review1 follower
September 4, 2007
The author presents a practical and logical argument for anyone wishing to lose weight. He highlights many key issues that usually discourage people from trying a "diet": lack of time, restricted foods, buying expensive equipment or gym membership, and age are to name a few. His basic premise is this: the best way to lose weight is to count your calories while participating in strength training to develop lean muscle. The book features 2 eight week exercise plans, 8 weeks of food recipes, shopping list, and forms to keep track of calories and workout information. So the real question is: Does it work? I am going to put myself through the 8 week program to see how effective it is. I will post my results here after the 8 weeks.
Profile Image for Nadine/Dina Bourne.
106 reviews1 follower
July 8, 2008
I like his idea that the way to loose weight is through building muscle. His idea of cardio making you hungry is dead on. the day after I use the treadmill all I want to do is eat. He says you don't have to be a bench head to build muscle but a weight bench is what I have, so it would have been nice to see exercises for the bench. my biggest gripe are the recipies. Everytime I read a weight loos book over half the food is something i wont eat. not one day in his extensive food plan had beef it was all fish or chicken. I'll eat a little chicken but no fish. but if you like all kinds of foods then you are set. he even provides you with a shopping list that goes by the week you are in. Also included is an exercise log and food diary. i would recomend printing them.
Profile Image for Tracey.
120 reviews24 followers
March 6, 2008
I am a strong believer that high intenstiy cardio does cause overuse injuries and that you can not lose weight without counting calories. This is a very doable plan that everyone can follow. Most people get burned out too quickly by too much cardio and quite. It will show you how to achieve and maintain an ideal and healthy body that people of all ages can do to have a functioning body in aging years.
Profile Image for Kelley.
1,157 reviews5 followers
February 29, 2016
The main focus of this book is on strength training and the importance of building muscle to maintain weight loss instead of doing cardio. Karas lays out all the reasons in a straight forward way that makes sense. The exercise he offers are effective and easy for beginners. My only complaint about this book is how restrictive his diet plan was based on other diet books I've read. I would give the book an A for the exercise portion and a D for the food portion.
Profile Image for Michael.
544 reviews6 followers
April 23, 2008
This was a very interesting book with a flare for not doing cardio and still losing weight. I can visualize how this will work, however I really enjoy running and this book didn't like the fact I was going to do any more than 30 minutes of cardio.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
6 reviews
April 17, 2014
Has truly changed my mindset on exercise. I slogged away hours running, spinning and doing the elliptical, now I'm heading to weights and yoga and a half hour of interval training (love running, not giving that up!). Looking forward to his next book coming out in December.
15 reviews1 follower
April 1, 2012
This diet just makes sense. Calories in - count them. Calories out - build muscle to burn fat faster. Watch the protein (more).
Profile Image for Daphne (she/her).
5 reviews1 follower
January 15, 2013
I was convinced to start weight training again. The workouts are great. The chapters on diet were dull; I only skimmed them.
Profile Image for Marie.
1,303 reviews7 followers
October 20, 2014
Very interesting concept. I'm excited to try it out, if it works I will come back and change it to 5 stars. haha
Profile Image for Julie.
966 reviews4 followers
September 1, 2015
I feel like I got a lot of good information out of this book. I hope to try some of the strength training exercises he includes in this book.
Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews

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