4 Cardio Myths That are Destroying Your Fat-Loss Efforts

These are general misconceptions that are destroying your weight loss efforts, but there are easy ways to change that and get back on track. We aim to bust those myths here:

Myth 1: To speed up weight loss, skip strength training and focus on cardio

Focusing only on cardio and no strength training at all isn’t just boring, it may cause you to burn fewer calories overall. “Strength training builds lean muscle mass, which both increases your metabolism and decreases fat,” says celebrity trainer Elizabeth Hendrix Burwell, co-owner of High Performance Gym. “So the more muscle you build, the more calories you burn on a day-to-day basis.”

There`re certain strength training workouts that can double as cardio: According to a recent study by the American Council on Exercise kettlebell exercises can burn up to 20 calories a minute which is the equivalent of running at a 6-minute mile pace! Maximize your weekly workouts’ weight-loss benefits by incorporating up to four non-consecutive days a week of resistance-based exercise such as kettlebells, TRX, and weight lifting.

Myth 2: Do Cardio First, then Hit the Weights

This is one of the oldest questions when it comes to Cardio: Should you start with cardio or strength training? “If you’re hitting the treadmill for an intense cardio session and then plan to hit the weights afterward, you’ll have little left in your tank to make your resistance training count,” says Lindsay Vastola, a certified trainer and founder of Body Project Fitness and Lifestyle.

When it comes to performing full, high-intensity cardio session and an entire resistance training workout, perform each on separate days, Vastola says, so you can give both your all and burn more calories in the process.

Myth 3: You Should Burn At Least 500 Calories During Your Cardio Sessions

Hitting the treadmill in order to accomplish some magic number is a waste of time and energy since machines can only roughly estimate your metabolic rate, Vastola says. Ignore the numbers on the console and focus on intensity instead. If you work harder in shorter bursts, you’ll burn more calories even after your workout is over. Use a heart rate monitor and aim to stay between 75 to 85 percent of your max heart rate.

Myth 4: Stay in the “Fat-Burning Zone” If You’re Trying to Lose Fat

Your body burns fat as fuel during lower-intensity workouts however that’s not necessarily what you need to focus on for weight loss. What counts the most is your overall calorie burn, not the fuel source. “The higher the intensity of your workout, the more total calories you will burn,” says Marta Montenegro, a certified strength and conditioning coach and adjunct professor of exercise and sports sciences at Florida International University. That burn lasts up to 24 hours after your last rep or step, and studies show you’ll shrink your belly fat faster, she adds.

But before you cancel all of your cardio sessions to high-intensity, maximum-effort training, remember that this type of exercise isn’t without its risks, such as injury and overtraining fatigue. Montenegro recommends alternating between low- and high-intensity workouts to give your body proper time to recover and build consistency.

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