What?! Cardio makes you fat?
Is cardio the answer to fat loss?
There are many different views on what type of cardio is best, as well as how long and how often you need to perform it if you’re trying to lose weight.
The number of theories out there is enough to make your head spin.
These common misconceptions might be keeping your scale stuck, but there are easy ways to change that and lose more weight.
MYTH #1 – TO SPEED UP WEIGHT LOSS, SKIP STRENGTH TRAINING AND FOCUS ON CARDIO
TRUTH: Strength training is not only better than cardio for weight loss, but there are other benefits to strength training like building lean muscle mass. The more muscle you build, the more calories you burn on a day-to-day basis. Not only that, but you can do circuits of strength training which even double as cardio! Try the workouts in the 21 Day Weight Loss Jumpstart and you’ll see what I mean!
MYTH #2 – DO CARDIO FIRST, THEN HIT THE WEIGHTS
TRUTH: It is better to do intense cardio sessions and intense strength training sessions on separate days! But, if you’re going to do them on the same day, then do the cardio after the strength training. Why, you need every ounce of energy and focus for the strength training to keep proper form, prevent injury and to benefit fully. Once done, you can give everything you have left to the cardio! And think of the calorie burn of having the ongoing burning calories of the strength training and the cardio session! The fat will just melt off!
MYTH #3 -YOU SHOULD BURN AT LEAST 500 CALORIES DURING YOUR CARDIO SESSIONS
TRUTH: Trudging away laboriously on a treadmill to hit some magic number is a waste of time and energy. More importantly focus on the intensity of the cardio. You can burn a lot more calories with high intensity interval cardio sessions then steady state cardio. Use a heart rate monitor, like the Polar FT7, to track your calorie burn and intensity levels.
MYTH #4 – STAY IN THE “FAT-BURNING ZONE” IF YOU’RE TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT
TRUTH:Your body does burn fat as fuel during lower-intensity workouts (a.k.a. the “fat-burning zone” of about 65 percent of your max)—however that’s not necessarily what you need to focus on for weight loss. More importantly focus on the total calories burned. You can burn more calories with high intensity interval training. However, if you want the benefits of both the total calorie expenditure and the fuel source, then do 20 minutes of high intensity cardio intervals followed by 10 minutes of steady state cardio!
MYTH #5 – TRAINING FOR A RACE IS A GREAT WAY TO SLIM DOWN
TRUTH:There a tons of benefits to running a 5K or marathon—improved cardiovascular fitness, more stamina, working out for a good cause if you run for charity—but seeing the number on the scale go down isn’t necessarily one of them. All the training you do to cross the finish line makes your body efficient at conserving energy so you can go the distance, and as you increase endurance, you’ll gradually start burning fewer calories during your runs. To meet your race goals and shed a few pounds in the process, supplement your running program with up to three resistance training workouts a week. Also switch out one day of running for a cross-training cardio workout or cardio interval training to help prevent injury and offer a new challenge to your cardiovascular system.
MYTH #6 – IF YOU DO ENOUGH CARDIO, YOU CAN EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT AND STILL LOSE
TRUTH:We wish! Not only do most of us (and the machines we work out on) overestimate how many calories we burn during our workouts, we underestimate how many calories we’re eating too. Exercise alone just isn’t effective enough to burn fat. A recent study suggests that the average obese person loses approximately five pounds of fat over the course of eight months through cardio or resistance training alone. That’s an awful lot of work for very minimal results, so don’t forget the “calories in” side of the equation and follow a healthy diet that delivers the calories you need to eat to lose weight. For a complete fitness and nutrition program, check out the 21 Day Weight Loss Jumpstart!
Let me know which myth you believe in the comments below!