Does Cardio Actually Help You Lose Weight?

Fitness // Louise McDonald

With so many different ways to train, and so many ways to perform cardio (cardiovascular exercise), this can make things seem confusing when working out HOW to workout. We get asked a lot in the 12WBT Member Zone: Is it necessary to perform lots of cardio to achieve your weight loss goal? Here are some points to consider before you engage in a torturous cardio routine.

What Is Your Goal?

If your goal is to build lean tissue and ‘tighten up’ by shedding some body fat, performing too much in the way of cardio activity can be detrimental to your overall results. Depending on your body shape, this can impact the results you are likely to experience.

If you lose weight easily, nutting out lots of cardio and trying to build a sexy shape simultaneously is a vicious circle. Strength training, adequate rest and a keen eye to nutrition is paramount here.

If your goal is to run a marathon and lose weight, yes it makes sense to get to your workout sessions that include cardio while adhering to the other components of the Exercise Plan.

How Fit Are You?

Making sure that you exercise at intensity and frequency that matches your ability is the best way to train. By attempting way too much in the hope of seeing results quicker, you are more likely to shock your body into survival and be disappointed by the results.

Risk Factors Of Too Much Cardio

  • Injuries
  • Muscle loss
  • Respiratory infections
  • Mood swings
  • Overtraining symptoms

Also read: Top Ten Cardio Myths Busted

Cardio Mythbusting

1. Cardio Burns Fewer Calories than Weight Training

Yes, lots of calories can be burned during your workout, but looking past your session, there are far less calories being burned over the rest of your day while your basal metabolic rate is unaffected by the session. Strength training elevates your basal metabolic rate with the increase of your muscle mass, which in turn requires fuel as a source of energy. In short, by having a bit more muscle, you are a fat burning unit even outside of your workouts. GOLD!

2. I Can Eat More After a Cardio Session

Many mistakes are made by having the approach that either additional calories can be consumed following cardio workouts or that the type of food groups do not matter… worse yet, both!

3. More Cardio Means Less Muscle Mass

As mentioned above, performing lengthy cardio sessions can tap into our muscle stores and lead to this being broken down. Less muscle, less calories being burned throughout the day.

4. Cardio Won’t Tone Me Up

No matter how many workouts you tackle and how many funky ways to ‘tone’ while you’re bobbing around on the cross trainer or curling cans of beans while you run does not replace resistance training to assist in a tighter physique.

Also read: Easy Ways to Workout at Home

5. Cardio Will Give Me Joint Issues

Impact from the types of workouts that you would expect from a cardio session can often include lots of work that places joints under stress. Repeated action like this can lead to joint issues and potential pain.

6. Cardio Will Make Me Tired

Too much cardio can wear you down. Burnout should be avoided to maintain your consistency. Train smarter, not necessarily longer than needed.

Also read: Building Muscle – What’s The Point?

7. I Don’t Need to Rest Between Cardio Sessions

Too much exercise and insufficient time to recover properly between your workouts is not ideal. If you want to be at your best and get great results, take the time out needed between efforts to rechargeCardio is definitely great for your health as a whole and teaming cardio with strength work and flexibility puts you in a better position for quicker results and a sustainable approach to exercise.

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