It seems every time I go on some type of message board or question and answer forum and I read a question like “How do I lose weight?” “How do I lose the fat around my stomach?” “ How do I get a six pack?” “ How do I tone up?” The answer is usually along the lines of do more cardio. Unfortunately this is at minimum a simplistic answer, and more seriously, can actually hurt your weight loss and fat burning goals long term.
In order to understand why too much cardio can actually be counterproductive to your weight loss and fat burning goals, first we need to understand what “cardio” is, and the benefits of it.
Most people consider a "cardio" workout, running, stair stepping, spending time on an elliptical and other similar machines. This definition of cardio is actually not correct and leads to many of the weight loss/fat loss problems and confusion.
Cardio is a term that is supposed to be short for cardiovascular exercise. The purpose of cardiovascular exercise or “cardio”, in simple terms, is to workout the heart. By elevating you heart rate through exercise for a short period of time, the heart becomes more efficient at pumping blood through your body when at rest. Long term, this makes your heart work less.
Another effect of cardiovascular exercise is that the body burns calories throughout the exercise session, which can cause weight loss. If you are over weight, weight loss is a good thing right? Well……kinda
Check in for part two where I’ll discuss what kind of weight loss you actually want for long term success and how to understand cardio so that you can better implement it into an exercise routine to burn fat effectively.