If you walk into almost any gym, you’ll definitely notice several people working hard on the cardio machines. And for the most part, the reason they’re toiling away on a glorified hamster wheel rather than doing something more enjoyable is simple:
They want to shed some pounds!
Let me begin by saying that this is a commendable goal, and I am not dismissing those who are working hard to accomplish it. In this blog post, I intend to present a more balanced view of how cardio affects fat loss, as well as debunk some widespread fat-loss misconceptions.
What is Cardio?
Let’s start with an overview of what cardio exercise is. Cardio is an abbreviation for cardiovascular, therefore cardiovascular exercise helps to condition your heart and circulatory system.
Cardio, on the other hand, is more often associated with aerobic activity. Aerobic exercise is a form of exercise that involves the use of oxygen to supply the body’s energy needs. Running, riding, and swimming are examples of this.
But, before we go off on a tangent, you should know that undertaking cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise can help strengthen your cardiovascular system and better prepare you for endurance activities. Your body will become more effective at fulfilling your oxygen demands, so you won’t easily get tired walking up the stairs or racing to catch the bus.
All of this is fantastic, and there are several health benefits to doing cardio on a daily basis, including a lower chance of heart disease, strokes, lower blood pressure, and simply feeling better.
Now that we’ve established what cardio is and some of the larger health advantages that you may expect from doing cardio, let’s go back to the topic at hand: the misconceptions regarding cardio for weight loss.
Cardio Myths You Need To Stop Believing
The runner’s high – that oh-so-satisfying sensation after a long run or tough aerobic exercise – is unrivaled. While all of that is true, there are a lot of misconceptions out there, and believing them might prevent you from reaching your fitness goals.
We’ll go through some of the most common myths to help you distinguish between reality and fiction:
More Cardio Means Faster Weight Loss
Hours spent on those fast-paced gym machines are a sure-fire method to lose weight; after all, it’s calories in against calories out, right? Yes, but with that weight loss, you’ll also lose muscle, and if all you do is cardio, you’ll burn fewer calories in the long run. Replacing fat with muscle is the best way to lose weight. When you do too much cardio, it becomes extremely difficult to gain muscle.
You Need To Do Cardio for at Least an Hour To Be Effective
Dr Thean from Ensoul Body Medical Clinic shared that many people assume that a decent cardio exercise session requires running at least 5 to 7 miles. This could hardly be more untrue.
In comparison to lower intensity and longer length sessions, 20 minutes of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be more beneficial since it leaves your body burning calories for hours afterward.
Cardio on an Empty Stomach Burns More Fat
This myth is founded on the belief that if you don’t have any food to burn for fuel, your body will burn fat. You can’t run a car without fuel, so why should your body be any different?
When compared to fasting before exercise, studies show that eating carbs before a workout boosts the amount of fat burnt.
Doing too much cardio in a fasting condition can also lead to increased catabolism (muscle loss).
Sweating is a physiological response, not a reflection of your work ethic.
Cardio Is Most Effective Before Weight Training
One of the most common cardio misconceptions is that cardio should come before weight training. However, this is not the case. If you complete a decent cardio workout, you won’t have much energy left over for weight training. It’s preferable to complete each one on a different day so you can give it your all.
Cardio activities alone are insufficient for fat loss. A calorie deficit and a range of regular workouts, such as strength training, must be added to the mix. It’s not just about losing weight; it’s about making smart decisions and forming new habits that will help you keep it off in the long run.