The gyms around the world are full of people that are running on a treadmill, biking, and spinning the elliptical machine. What are they up to, you ask yourself. Probably trying to lose weight, while in fact they just keep on wasting time.
Although the standing myth is that cardio exercises are the best way to lose weight, the truth is that they are not even necessary. Although it might be somewhat helpful in getting leaner, all that energy spent on cardio won’t furnish you with the desired six-pack. Of course, we’re aware that many of you who are reading this article now might have spent lot of time on cardio exercises, and will probably hate us for telling you the truth. But, hey, don’t kill the messenger.
We’ll try to atone for this revelation by providing you with an article explaining the role of cardio in losing weight, and with tips on how to replace these time consuming exercises with stuff that still works. Remember, it’s never too late to change your approach.
HOW DOES CARDIO WORK?
Cardio exercises are meant to improve your cardiovascular system, which acts as a transport route for oxygen and nutrients throughout your body.
Cardio exercises are also known as aerobic, because they use oxygen to provide fuel for the body. Typical examples of aerobic exercises are running, swimming and cycling. The focus of aerobic exercises is at strengthening your cardiovascular system, providing your body with the necessary stamina by increasing the oxygen flow.
All things considered, cardio exercises are extremely beneficial and should not be avoided altogether, because they can prevent heart conditions, lower the blood pressure, alleviate the stress, and improve your overall health. The only thing is that they are not important in your fat losing process.
CARDIO AND LOSING FAT
Weight loss generally boils down to how many calories you’ve consumed vs. how many calories you’ve spent.
All that it takes is keeping track on the number of calories that you put in your body, and number of calories you’re burning on daily basis. Simple as that. Although you may find many programs that this principle can be overridden, promising you fast and furious weight loss, the truth is that they probably have a snowball chance in hell to work.
Each calorie you consume is either burned as a fuel, or stored in your body as building material for your muscles or as fat deposit.
Determining your calorie intake should not pose a greater problem. All you need to do is follow the caloric value of each ingredient in your daily diet, and compare it with how many calories you spend with your daily and extracurricular activities.
There’re are plenty of different ways in which you spend your calories every day.
First of all, every routine activity you perform during the day takes a certain amount of calories. The calories burnt during these daily activities are also referred to as basic metabolic rate or BMR.
However, you can increase this rate by adding more intense activity, running on treadmill for 30 minutes for example. Because of this, many people when trying to lose weight turn to cardio exercises. The increased activity requires additional fuel that the body provides from the stored fat, protein or glucose.
In other words, cardio provides you with a calorie deficit, and it might theoretically sound as a good way to melt the fat.
However, this does not work in practices, because the number of additional calories you can melt with cardio exercises on daily basis is fairly small, and can often be insignificant. Will try to prove our point with the following example.
Once again we assume that in addition to your daily activities you’re are doing 30 minutes of treadmill every other day. That’s 300 calories burnt with each session on average. However, after finishing your workout and leaving the shower, you feel hungrier than ever.
You figure that eating a cake won’t hurt you a lot, since you’ve just flushed a ton of calories out of your system.
Well, the truth is that while it probably won’t hurt you a lot, it will get you back to square one, since the cake you’re about to eat is also worth 300 calories, or 30 minutes of treadmill running on average. So prepare to say goodbye to all that hard work you’ve done in the gym that day.
Of course, this won’t rob the cardio exercise off all its health improving benefits, but it won’t trim down your waistline either.