You might be confused by the title of this article because it probably goes against everything you were lied to about by the fitness industry.
Cardio is great for your health or building endurance if you're an athlete but it is far from the best method to lose body fat. Numerous studies show that mere exercise alone is a pathway to FAILURE if you're trying to lose weight. Yes, I know - this goes against everything the fitness industry tells you. A lot of responses I get from clients when I tell them this are, “That can’t be true!” or “I lost the most weight when I did cardio!” or a simple “You're wrong.” After receiving these responses, I ask how it’s going for them - did they keep the weight off? Almost every single time I get back, “Well ... no.” That is exactly the point I am making.
Experts agree that 85% to 95% of people who lose a lot of weight gain just about all of it back (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition). I do not want you to fall into this statistic because you did too much cardio! Ok, so it is true that doing cardio can help you lose a lot of weight. In fact, it may be the exact reason why you have lost the most weight you ever have. But this does not mean that your weight-loss was optimal, couldn’t have been easier, or that you didn’t (or won’t) gain the weight back.
So why does cardio “suck” for fat loss?
To start, expending more calories than you take in is what needs to happen in order to lose body fat. Cardio is not necessary for this to occur and a simple reduction in calories is sufficient. When people do cardio in an effort to achieve their “dream body”, they aren’t realizing a few things. One, is that your body becomes very efficient at burning calories during cardio as you do more cardio, but it becomes less efficient at burning calories when you're not doing cardio as a result. This means you need to keep up all the cardio that you're doing which is far from ideal! Your body literally becomes more efficient at HOLDING ONTO FAT when you're not exercising.
If you want to go about losing fat optimally, there is one form of exercise that will do the opposite of cardio; a form of exercise that will make your metabolism even more efficient at BURNING FAT when you’re not exercising. This form of exercise is weight training. A proper weight training routine will help you pack on muscle. Because muscle burns 3-5X MORE CALORIES than fat while at rest, it is a good strategy to build muscle for fat loss. This means that if you weight train, you will burn more calories doing absolutely NOTHING.
To make matters worse for cardio as a way to lose fat, exercise only comprises 5% of the calories you burn throughout the day. In contrast, non-exercise related movement comprises 15% of the calories you burn throughout the day. Even if cardio did work well for fat loss, it would be much EASIER to simply increase the movement that you are doing throughout the day that is not directly exercise.
That’s why the new recommendation is to aim for 10,000 steps a day. There’s a good reason why …
The average person walks 2,700 steps a day. For the average 185 pound man, this will burn 150 calories. Now imagine walking 10,000 steps in a day. For the same 185 pound man, this would burn closer to 500 calories. This means that you could eat an extra 350 calories a day WITHOUT getting any fatter! With this new knowledge, it becomes quite apparent why people who walk to work in big cities are so lean. It’s because they’re walking 20,000 to 25,000 steps a day! My recommendation for you is to do a quick, 10 minute, brisk walk after each of your meals in an effort to reach 10,000 steps a day.
Another perk of walking is that it doesn’t make your metabolism more inefficient at rest like cardio does. Walking is clearly superior to intense cardio in the gym when comparing the weight loss benefits.
All in all, cardio does in fact suck for fat loss. With this new insight, you can start implementing more weight training and brisk walks. You can stop KILLING YOURSELF with tons of cardio. Follow these tips and you are well on your way to losing the fat that you have always wanted.
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