There’s no doubt that you need cardio to be healthy or whether cardio burns a lot of calories. However, for weight loss, there are other factors in play. Let’s start with how cardio fits into a healthy lifestyle. There are four types of fitness, endurance—which is cardio, strength, flexibility and balance. You need to improve all those types of fitness to be truly fit. Each one plays an important role.
Cardio does burn a lot of calories.
Many of the exercises that burn a lot of calories are also good for endurance, which means they’re cardio workouts. That seems like cardio should be the type of exercise of choice when you want to shed those extra pounds. While it does burn calories, cardio workouts burn calories from both lean muscle mass and fat, often leaving you with less muscle mass than more. That can create a problem for weight loss.
The more muscle you have, the better off you are.
Muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain than fat tissue does, which means the more you have, the higher your metabolism. If you compared two people both weighing 120 pounds, but one had mostly lean muscle mass and the other very little, the one with the most lean muscle mass would burn more calories throughout the day, even if their activity level was the same. Even sleeping at night would cause more calories to burn in the person with more muscle mass.
Combine strength building with cardio and flexibility training.
Strength building workouts not only burn tons of calories, they also build muscle tissue at the same time. You can increase the calories burned by increasing the intensity. Also, consider making the workouts HIIT—high intensity interval training—-workouts, where you vary your intensity from high intensity for a minute or two to a recovery intensity for the same length of time or longer and then back to high intensity. It helps you get into shape faster and burn extra calories.
- No matter what type of workout you do, vary it frequently. The body becomes efficient at a specific movement the more you do it. That means it burns fewer calories, to slow weight loss efforts.
- While cardio does burn both fat and muscle tissue for energy, that doesn’t mean you should shift only to strength training. Doing strength training too frequently isn’t healthy and you need all types of exercise, which includes cardio, balance and flexibility.
- Strength training triggers EPOC—Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. That means you continue to burn excess calories long after you quit exercising.
- Exercise is important if you want to lose weight, but great bodies start in the kitchen. A healthy diet is the core of a good weight loss program.
For more information, contact us today at Targeted Nutrition Technologies