Cardio Free


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Cardio Free is a weight loss plan designed to benefit individuals who are struggling to lose weight through the traditional approach of diet and exercise. According to Jim Karas, author of The Cardio Free Diet, cardiovascular workouts burn fewer calories than other alternatives. Karas’ four-phase program is designed to increase the body’s strength, boost metabolism, while providing support and motivation.

Cardio Free vs. Traditional Weight Loss Plans

While traditional weight loss plans often require a high amount of cardiovascular activities, such as running, exercising on a Stairmaster, and so forth, the Cardio Free diet promotes the incorporation of different and more effective activities. Jim Karas promotes these exercise alternatives as he believes that many cardiovascular exercises are inefficient, while they also often increase feelings of hunger, causing dieters to over-eat after exercising. By following Karas’ exercise plan, he asserts that participants will benefit from working out in shorter periods of time while seeing greater results.

Cardio Free and Exercise

Karas asserts that in order to benefit and receive weight loss results, participants only need to exercise for twenty minutes a day three times a week. In addition to introducing new activities to promote weight loss, Karas also explains the ineffectiveness of traditional exercises.

Ineffective Exercises

Some of the exercises that Karas does not support include:

  • Low-impact aerobics
    These activities can cause joint damage, pain, and discomfort
  • The Step
    Difficult to follow and involves too many maneuvers
  • The Slide
    Does not promote effective or efficient weight loss
  • Spinning
    Can pose harmful effects on the body
  • Tae Bo
    Joints can become hyper-extended, leading to both pain and injury
  • Boot Camp
    Difficult to follow and unrealistic maneuvers / activities

Effective Exercises

To replace the traditionally followed “ineffective” exercises, Karas promotes exercises that focus on activities such as:

  • Strength Training
    Boosts metabolism and burns fat
  • Weight Training
    Improves the body’s composition

Cardio Free and Recipes

In addition to the exercise regimen, dieters are provided with information on healthy eating, that include resources such as:

  • Detailed shopping lists
  • Daily menu plans
  • Helpful tips for ordering food at restaurants
  • A variety of recipes, some of which include:
    • Grilled tomato tuna
    • Feta vegetable omelet
    • Dijon turkey
    • Apple balsamic chicken

The Four Phases of Cardio Free

Karas’ Cardio Free regimen encourages participants to increase exercise as they move through the four phases of the diet. While detailed information on the four phases is vague, the general approach to the four phases involves encouraging participants to engage in two routines out of ten exercise options. Gradually, every two weeks, individuals are to add two more exercises, until ultimately reaching phase 4.

Jim Karas and Professional Experience

Jim Karas, in addition to writing his weight loss book, has helped train and shape the bodies of a number of celebrities, such as:

  • Diane Sawyer
  • Paula Zahn
  • Hugh Jackman
  • Gayle King
  • Critics of Cardio Free

While Karas asserts that weight and strength training is more effective and efficient in promoting weight loss, many critics argue that a cardio-free lifestyle can deprive individuals over increased overall health, as cardiovascular exercises are healthy for brain functioning, the heart, and other vital organs.

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