This week, we will cover cardio and whether or not it is necessary for fat loss.
Whenever people begin to think about losing weight, the first thing that usually springs to mind, is some sort of low-intensity cardio exercise.
Running, the cross trainer, treadmill, stationary bike etc.; all of these things have become the go-to things to do for weight loss for the general public, and why wouldn’t they?
Pick up any magazine aimed at weight loss and you will usually see a picture of one or two females, who are in shape, looking very happy as they head out for a run.
Is there anything wrong with this? No.
Is running the best, most efficient way to burn fat? No.
Cardio is a tool that should be used as needed.
To build your entire weight loss exercise regime solely around cardio based exercise would be a mistake.
So why do so many pick cardio?
The thing about cardio that makes it better for almost everybody, other than its easy learning curve, is that it’s very low impact – your body can go for hours and hours, day after day, and not get worn out. If you have the desire and willpower, you can burn calories all day long.
The problem with low impact cardio like this is there is very little Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) with cardio, which means you only burn calories when exercising and not much happens in the way of burning calories afterwards.
The other downside to cardio is there is very little in the form of muscle gain from it.
I know that many of you won’t see this as a problem. You are probably reading this thinking ‘as long as I lose weight, I don’t care how it comes off’.
If this is your train of thought, you could always amputate a limb, or maybe you could shave your head; that should give some weight loss…or how about you try and catch that stomach flu that is going around? You will lose loads of weight with that sucker.
The thing you need to know is you are not looking for ‘weight’ loss, you are actually looking for ‘fat’ loss.
Last week, I covered why having more muscle helps you to burn more calories, so check out last week’s article if you missed it.
What you need to know is this. Muscle helps you walk up and down stairs and pick things up. Keeping you moving is muscle’s most important function. You don’t want to lose muscle.
But muscle can also help you lose fat and stay lean due to increased basal metabolism. In short, you burn more calories doing absolutely nothing, if you have more lean mass.
As I also referred to last week, a study on diet plus exercise found that;
The weight training group lost 21.1 pounds of fat (44% and 35% more than the diet and aerobic exercise only groups respectively). Basically, the addition of aerobic training didn’t result in any real world significant fat loss over dieting alone.
Does this mean that you shouldn’t do cardio based training for fat loss? No it doesn’t.
Remember: above all else, your diet is fundamental. Eat poorly and none of the above matters. Eat right, eat real foods, and exercise, and you’ll get better.
Do cardio if:
You really enjoy the treadmill or elliptical, or you just really like running!
You have all the time in the world to lose fat. (You will need it to burn enough calories)
You’re just getting started and don’t really know what you’re doing.
What you have to realise is that it is NOT the best way for you to burn fat and get the body you want.
That’s it for this week, next week I will cover HIIT training and what the actual truth is regarding it and fat loss.
Any questions, contact me through the link below. #TrainSmart