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.
THE IMPORTANCE OF DIET
The example is just another prove of how important is your diet when you want to lose weight. If you don’t pay attention to your diet you might end up eating more calories than it is physically possible to burn them.
So, cardio exercises must be regarded only as a stepping stone in burning calories, not as a sole foothold of your weigh losing endeavour. To succeed on the path you’ve embarked on, you need to focus more on the amount and quality of food you consume on daily basis.
FIND THE RIGHT FAT BURNER
While the diet is the most important element in the fat losing equation, in some occasions, and for some people, it simply won’t cut it.
The sobering truth is that while some people burn fat quickly, for others this process is far more laborious.
The solution to this problem is using fat burners. After all, they are designed for people, whose metabolism needs a kick in the teeth in order to burn more calories.
The real questions are how do they work and do they work?
Well, while there are many low quality good-for-nothing products on the counters, the market also offers some high quality fat burners that do meet their promises. Most of them rely on thermogenesis in increasing your metabolic rate, which helps you burn more calories. Check the label to find out if the fat burner contains caffeine, green tea extracts, hot peppers, vitamin D, glucomannan or green coffee bean extract, which are considered as some of the best in prompting fat loss. Avoid fat burners that contain ingredients like ephedra, DMAA, DMAE.
Having all this in mind we’ll once again point to the importance of caution when choosing your fat burners. Products that are ambiguous in labelling the ingredients contained in them, should be avoided.
Having read this article you might find yourself upset that you’ve wasted all that time running and biking.
Don’t be. Although it might not have helped you much in reducing your waistline, cardio exercises are still very important in your overall health plan. However, if you want to be more efficient in shedding those pounds away, you have to rely more on solid diet with reduced calorie intake.
Only then you’ll provide your cardio exercises with the necessary backup to sweat away the calories.
Do i understand everything right? U wrote that running 30 minutes on a treadmill is not efficient because after that ppl eat a cake. What if i didnt eat a cake? o.O
And i’ve got a question – is cardio on an empty stomach good?
The point is that you should not depend on cardio alone when you want to lose fat. It will speed up the process of burning calories, but if you eat those calories back, then cardio will not be of much help.
As far as cardio on an empty stomach, some studies say it’s not very efficient, but people had good results with this method (they took bcaa before the workout). Just go for it and see how you feel after a 3-4 weeks
If this is the case, where does the weight you lose go? You lose weight through sweat and breathing and I have to say I get way more exhausted through cardio than heavy lifting. This makes no sense to me.
This is way too simplified and doesn’t take in account how hormones play a role in weight loss. Not all calories are equal, as the source of calories have different effects on the digestive process and hormones. Eating 2000 calories of healthy dietary fat and lean protein will have a dramatic difference on weight loss compared to a 2000 calories of processed food, carbs, and sugar. People have gone on nutritional ketogenic diets consuming over 5000 calories a day and lost weight. So the calories in and out theory is only partially true but has many variables not accounted for.