The Truth About Cardio: Does It Really Result in Weight Loss?

Cardio — one of the most done exercises for people on-the-go. It makes us sweat from head to toe and increases our heart rate, two things that are highly beneficial for our bodies. And of course, it trims off that excess waist line and inner thigh fat. But how come we’re not losing enough weight from it?

If you’re a fitness professional who has completed an outstanding health coach diploma course, you’d know that cardio exercises alone aren’t enough to make people lose weight. Sounds bad for those who can only commit to cardio, but don’t be disheartened yet; there are ways for you to adjust your workout routines so you can finally meet your fitness goals.

First, let’s understand what cardio does to our bodies, then find out the other exercises we need to lose fat.

Cardio Myths and Facts

It is a fact that cardio burns calories. However, when your body gets used to the cardio routines you do every day, it’ll start to burn fewer calories, hence the statement that cardio can make you lose weight is a myth.

But that doesn’t mean that cardio is useless. It still has a lot of benefits, which include expanding your lung capacity, lowering your stress levels, and reducing your risks of developing heart diseases. It just needs to be paired with strength training to be effective in weight loss.

The more muscle you build, the more fat you’ll burn. And if you only do cardio, you’re actually losing muscle mass, keeping you from trimming down enough fat.

But doing cardio first then lifting weights afterwards isn’t the proper way to lose weight, either. According to Lindsay Vastola, certified trainer and founder of Body Fitness and Lifestyle, an intense cardio session will leave you with too little on your tank to make your resistant training count. She instead recommends doing cardio and resistance training on separate days so you can give your all to both exercises.

So, does that mean that you should increase the distance of your runs and jogs to “give your all’? Health professionals also advice against this, because your muscles can become overused when you habitually perform repetitive and high-intensity cardio, like running or dancing. As a result, you may develop long-term muscle injuries, such as joint pains and breakdown.

Also, cardio on an empty stomach doesn’t burn more fat. Michele Olson, PhD., adjunct professor of sports science at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, AL, states that this strategy can cause hyperglycemia and dehydration, which weakens your body and only pulls your further from your fitness goals.

Recommended Exercises for Weight Loss

Man running on a treadmill

If you love your cardio, you can double it as a strength training exercise to keep you motivated. Kettleball exercises, for example, are found to effectively burn up to 20 calories a minute, which is the equivalent of a 6-minute mile pace run.

To target your belly fat, forget sit-ups and other abdominal exercises. That’s because you cannot lose fat in one body part alone. To you need to reduce the body fat percentage of your whole body to have a flatter stomach.

So, work out your entire bod by doing reps of burpees, mountain climbers, medicine ball slams, dumbbell overhead lunges, and kettleball swings. They engage all your muscles, helping you cut down fat.

At-home exercises including side planks, inchworm push-ups, and alligator drags are also effective resistance and fat-burning routines. They’re difficult, so don’t force yourself to perform them perfectly in the beginning. You’ll eventually find them easier once your strength builds.

Try to accompany a healthier diet with your exercises as well to speed up your weight loss. Quitting junk food, vices, and sugary treats will improve your overall health, so might as well go full out and reap all the amazing benefits.

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