There’s a lot of weight loss professionals taunting the idea that cardio is the best exercise when it comes to losing weight. And then, there are just as many people who have the opposite opinion, and completely dismiss cardio for weight loss? So, what is the answer? Should I do cardio, or dismiss it as a time-waster?
To start with, cardio exercise is any physical activity that increases the strength and overall health of your heart and circulatory system. So, right off the bat, you can see how that is vital to your life. But, even you are not interested in the best health, you are definitely going to have the best dieting results when you combine cardio, resistance training, and diet.
Let’s take a look at why you need both cardio and resistance training for the best diet results.
For those who continue ranting about how cardio is the best way to lose weight, here’s a news flash:
Why Cardio is not the best way to lose weight?
Cardio is not a way to lose weight at all — it’s just a really great tool to use for shedding fat and toning your body. BUT there are several other tools that are just as important.
The first thing that most people think about when they decide to embark on a weight loss quest is the treadmill. They conjure up images of themselves panting and gasping as they pound the track or treadmill for hours every day… and guess what they do?
They subject themselves to this insane routine of running like a hamster on a wheel that wears them down and bores them to tears.
It’s no wonder most of them quit on their weight loss journey.
Excessive cardio could hurt your progress?
One of the biggest mistakes that you can make when trying to lose weight is to subject yourself to excessive amounts of cardio. Most of us have trained our bodies to burn food/glucose for fuel.
Unlike professional long-distance athletes, we’ve not conditioned our body to burn fat stores for fuel. So, excessive amounts of cardio will leave you ravenous for food when you finish exercising.
Cardio could be making you fat?
This is exactly why you’ll find that people who do lots of cardio also find themselves gorging on food later: Especially food rich in carbohydrates.
The body craves the carbs because of all the cardio. The end result is that they consume more food than they require. The long cardio session they just did is canceled out — because they’ve consumed more calories than they expended.
Running at 6 mph for an hour can burn up to 590 calories.
But check this out – 1 slice of pizza carries about 285 calories. Eating 2 slices will cancel out your entire workout session.
This post has an accurate chart of calories burned during popular cardio exercises.
Here’s where it gets really bad: it only takes you about 10 to 15 minutes to eat 2 slices, unlike 60 minutes of sweaty torture on the treadmill.
Should You Exercise for Weight Loss At All?
The key to successful weight loss is understanding that all exercise is a tool that’s meant to boost your metabolism to keep your body burning calories.
Exercise is an undeniable part of losing weight.
When you exercise, you get fitter and stronger and your body burns calories at an accelerated rate. That’s the role of exercise.
Exercise is a means to an end and NOT an end in itself.
Successful weight loss comes from watching your diet like a hawk. You’d see much faster results by following a sensible diet plan and having three 30-minute cardio sessions a week — instead of having 7 cardio sessions and neglecting your diet.
You cannot out-exercise a bad eating habit.
Remember – exercise is a tool. Your body is a machine and the food you eat is the fuel. Most people are more concerned about the unleaded fuel they put in their car than the food that they put in their bodies.
It’s absolutely essential to eat right if you expect to lose weight. Everything else is secondary.
How to Use Cardio for Weight Loss?
The next point to note is that short intense cardio sessions are more effective than long steady-state cardio.
You want to engage in high-intensity cardio sessions that last anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes to see real results. Anyone can include HIIT exercises into any workout routine whatsoever. And it’s this HIIT routine that turns on your weight loss with cardio!
These sessions will get your heart pumping and create an oxygen deficit because you are exercising all out!
Your body will be in fat-burning mode for 8 to 12 hours after the workout ends. Overall, you’ll burn more calories and lose more fat. By doing less cardio with more vigor, you’d have achieved more.
To sum things up, watch your diet and engage in short, high-intensity sessions. You’ll find that losing weight becomes a breeze when you focus on the right protocol.
Why Resistance Training is A Must for Losing Weight
Resistance training is an extraordinary tool for boosting metabolism to create more energy to burn more calories. It also builds muscle mass and strengthens your bones.
In fact, as you age, resistance training becomes even more important. Muscle burns more calories during your regular day and night (when you’re not exercising) than fat. So it follows that the more muscle your body is composed of, the more calories you will burn — no matter what you’re doing.
Don’t resist weight training or any form of resistance training if you are a woman, either. I know women who falsely assume they will bulk up and look like a weight lifter. However, that doesn’t need to happen. In fact, it will help you define your natural curves and accentuate your body in a feminine way. Because resistance training builds and defines muscle, it will give you great looking shoulders, shape your butt, and tone your thighs.
How Often To Do Resistance Training On A Diet?
To get the most out of resistance training you’ll need a good workout routine of at least two sessions a week. For the best results, work in 3 cardio workouts and 2 days of weight training each week. The main thing to remember is that cardio and resistance days are both important tools for the same goal.
You can even include both on the same day. Just do 1/2 hour of some form of resistance training first and then add about 20 minutes of cardio. It’s important to do the cardio first. It’s easy to do the weight training first, and then run out of energy for cardio.
Another way to get both workouts on the same day is to do your resistance training at high-intensity levels. Doing them as fast as possible for short durations turns into cardio. HIIT exercises are a highly effective method to burn fat and lose weight in a short time. Not only will you lose weight with HIIT, but you will also tone your body.
Resistance Training Burns Fat and Tones Muscles
The main thing to remember is that if you really want to burn fat, it takes more than cardio. Walking or running, whether on a treadmill or outside, for hours every week gets boring and doesn’t produce fast results. Besides that, most fat people need to tone their body after losing weight, and you’ll need resistance to do that.
As you gain lean muscle, it becomes much easier to burn calories. Lean muscle actually burns a lot of calories when you are at rest.
The more lean muscle you have in your body, the more calories you burn while at rest because muscle is calorically ‘expensive’ and the body needs to burn more calories to maintain your muscles. In other words, you’ll be a fat-burning machine even when you’re not exercising.
There’s a lot of choices when it comes to resistance training
You will find a wide variety of resistance training methods. There is the traditional weight lifting, using your own body weight, resistance bands, TRX cables, and plenty more. You’ll find unique benefits of each, and some you will like, and others not so much. The main thing is to get started and explore different techniques.
Diet, Cardio, and Resistance Training for Weight Loss
When your diet is on point and you’re mixing up cardio and resistance training, you body will shed the excess fat and you will naturally get more toned.
You’ll become lighter, fitter and stronger. Now, the pull-ups and push-ups will become easier and you’ll find yourself executing them with ease.
It takes time… but if you have all the components in place, successful weight loss and the body of your dreams will be within reach in a couple of months. Stay consistent and the results will follow.