Cardio for Fat Loss? Maybe Not.
What kind of cardio should I do?
None! I joke. Kind of.
Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of cardio. But I guess I’m bias, as it’s just never really been my thing. To be clear, I’m currently working my way up from 5 minutes to 30 minutes of incline walking – and sweating like a biatch. I suppose it’s for this reason that I really should do more of it.
However, I can’t deny its benefits.
No, it’s not really in the big players league when it comes to fat loss. But it is excellent for cardiac health and general well-being. As long as, that is, you’re not simultaneously damaging your joints (the reason that I opt for incline walking instead of running).
I often get asked the following question:
What type of cardio is the best for fat loss?
Let’s cut straight to the chase. If you’re training for fat loss you’re going to want to focus on resistance training, good nutrition and incorporating low-level cardio in your daily life (i.e. taking the stairs instead of driving).
The fundamental idea is to create an energy imbalance.
Put simply: energy in < energy out = weight loss. But, if the ‘energy out’ results in muscle deterioration then fat loss is not necessarily occurring, hence the importance of resistance training. That’s a gross oversimplification, but it’s not what this article is about, so moving on…
So what if you like cardio? What if you’re struggling to meet your required energy imbalance for fat loss? Or maybe you just want to make some wriggle room in your calorie allowance. If so, then doing some extra cardio is a great idea. It doesn’t have to be loads and it doesn’t have to be something you dislike. You could go for a walk each day. Cycle instead of taking the bus (nowadays this will probably save you a tonne of money wherever you live). Play a team sport a few times per week. Take up martial arts. Go for a swim. Or do like me, and get your incline walk on!
So what is cardio for?
‘Cardio’ is short for cardiovascular exercise. This type of exercise trains your cardiac muscle. So that’s your heart and the vascular system that’s connected to it (aka the circulatory system – aka your blood transportation system). So the main exercise adaptations from this type of exercise are related to cardiorespiratory fitness, endurance and bodily energy efficiency.
So if you’re training for any kind of endurance event, cardio is for you. Perhaps you’re exercising to improve your cardiac system, general health, or simply to become less out-of-breath after walking up the stairs. For all of these goals, cardio is going to be a very advantageous type of exercise for you to perform.
If this is you, then the next thing to do is to decide what mode of cardio you want to perform. E.g. running, swimming, cycling, walking, aqua aerobics, cross-training. There are loads of options to choose from, so this pretty much just comes down to what you prefer.
…Unless you’re training for a specific event, such as a marathon. In this case, you would want your chosen exercise to replicate the one you’re training for as closely as possible, within the limits of avoiding overtraining.
Lastly, you want to consider your fitness level when deciding what intensity to perform your chosen exercise at. Let’s say you’re a beginner who’s never run longer than to catch the bus, but you’re training for a marathon. It would not be advisable for you to try to run 26 miles straight off the bat – start slowly.
Depending on your fitness level, this could even be with some long walks. Gradually progress, mixing walking with jogging, and eventually progressing to continuous pace, long distance running. You could also perform some sprint intervals every now and again to increase your stamina and performance.
The key here, as with anything in life, is to start at an appropriate level and not bite off more than you can chew.
The above example is only one of many different types of events that you could be training for. There are plenty of different cardiovascular training methods which I could go into detail on, the scope of which however are beyond this article.
So that’s it, folks. Hopefully, you can put the idea of hours on the treadmill in an attempt to shed unwanted fat, out of your mind. If you would like help with your fitness journey, why not become either an online or in-person client of mine? Get in touch with me today to book your free consultation and you can find out a bit more about what my training can do for you.
Thanks for reading, leave a comment with your thoughts on cardio, or any questions you may have 🙂
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