Myth Busting – You Need to do Cardio to Lose Weight
The Truth about Cardio: Facts vs. Myths
Everyone today is concerned about their body, and in particular weight loss is the major concern. In fact, almost six out of 10 Americans want to lose weight. Between television, magazines, and the internet, you’re constantly confronted with a plethora of weight-loss “tips and tricks.” So what’s the problem? If there are so many solutions out there, why don’t you have the perfect beach body yet?
One of the biggest myths in the fitness world is that a large, exhausting amount of cardio is essential to losing weight. Some people believe that the only way to get in shape is to put on a pair of sneakers and run until their legs can’t take it anymore. Wrong, wrong, wrong!
Small amounts of cardio can be an effective weight-loss tool, but only when they are accompanied by other exercises that target your entire body. The best possible exercises you can do to truly lose weight and gain lean muscles are circuit training, strength training, and HIIT (High Impact Interval Training) workouts – paired, of course, with proper nutrition.
MYTH: Cardio burns the most calories.
FACT: Circuit training burns the same amount of calories, and it keeps them off longer!
Here are some statistics to prove it. The average 150lb woman, jogging at the average speed of 5mph, will burn about 109 calories per mile. Every mile would be approximately 12 minutes of monotonous jogging, targeting and exhausting the same muscle groups over and over.
The same woman, doing a varied circuit training workout will burn the same 109 calories per 12 minutes, while hitting more muscle groups at once, increasing the effectiveness of her workout.
MYTH: Cardio decreases appetite.
FACT: Appetite may be increased after excessive cardio.
Hey, congrats! You just ran 2 miles, so you deserve a treat right? Well, if you decide to replenish your body with a refreshing 220 calorie milkshake, you’ve just eaten back all the calories you just worked so hard to burn.
Cardio can actually decrease your metabolic rate, making it more difficult to burn the calories you consume. When you perform excessive cardio, your body goes into “survival mode,” also known as “starvation mode.” With rapidly depleted calorie stores, your body begins to believe it needs to conserve calories to continue functioning. You don’t want your body to hold on to calories, you want it to let them go!
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which is short bursts of high-impact exercises accompanied by recovery low-impact exercises, increases your heart rate and improves your endurance. Sounds pretty sweet, right? It is.
For about 20 hours after a HIIT workout, your body is forced to work harder to recover by re-oxygenating your muscles from the lactic acid buildup caused by exercising.
MYTH: Cardio only burns fat.
FACT: Cardio burns both fat and muscle.
When you quickly deplete your intramuscular fat, your body begins to look for energy from other sources. What happens? It starts eating away at your muscle mass. That’s why it is vital to incorporate strength training into your workout.
Strength training keeps your muscles in a state of recovery, replenishing their protein stores, and most importantly – rebuilding!
Circuit training (a combination of strength training and HIITs) strengthens your bones and muscles, causing your body to work to create healthier bone and muscle mass, while eating away at your fat reserves.
MYTH: You can only feel good afterwards (get a “runner’s high”) from cardio.
FACT:Circuit training also releases endorphins, along with other health benefits.
Circuit and strength training have been shown to increase your body’s growth hormone levels. This lets you sleep better, recover better, and even fight disease better!
A varied workout will release more of the good healthy, “happy” chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin. These improve your mood, decrease your overall stress level, and even promote sharper mental acuity!
MYTH: Exercise is too time-consuming.
FACT: Circuit training is the most efficient form of exercise.
Yes, putting on a pair of shoes, finding a nice safe place to run, and jogging in circles for hours on end is exhausting – both to your body, and to your busy schedule. No wonder even those people with the best intentions quickly find themselves quitting exercise all together.
However, circuit training is perfect for the modern person who’s looking to get fit. It is highly efficient, so you get the most bang for your buck (or calorie for your time). It takes a mere 20-30 minutes a day, and you can exercise anywhere you’d like – even in the comfort of your living room.
So, get off the couch. Find a friend, a fitness video, a gym, a group class, or just find it in yourself to do it alone, and see what circuit training can do for you!