I think that when the majority of people embark on a weight loss journey, they first think they have to drastically reduce their calories and do tons of cardio exercise.

These efforts actually cause further problems because they really can cause damage to a person’s metabolism.

Weight loss?

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First, we need to understand that when someone wants to lose weight; what they really want to do is lose bodyfat and get leaner.

If we lose muscle, this is not a good thing because this will depress our metabolism, causing us to get weaker, so to be clear, people should aim for fat loss when they start a weight loss program.  

There are a few more factors that go into losing fat than just cardio exercise.

Benefits of cardio

Cardiovascular exercise is a very important part of a total weight loss (fat loss) program.

Cardiovascular exercise burns calories, but not as much as many people think.  

It’s also important to know the right type, amount, and frequency of cardio exercise to conduct in order to get the most out of your fat loss efforts and help build your metabolism.

is cardio effective for weight loss_2HIIT training

In general, high intensity cardio exercise done for 20-30 minutes is best.  High intensity interval training is often utilized for short bursts of high intensity activity followed by short lower intensity recovery periods, then repeated over and over throughout the workout.

It’s known from research that high intensity cardio exercise conducted for shorter amounts of time burns the same amount of calories as low to moderate intense exercise conducted for 3x the amount of time as the high intensity activity.  

For example, a 20 minute high intensity session can burn as many calories as a 60 minute low to moderate intensity session. Who wouldn’t want to get the same benefit in only a third of the amount of time?

EPOC

Another benefit from high intensity cardio is a thing called excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).

EPOC is a measure of the amount of calories burned after the exercise session has ended. It’s clear that the higher the intensity, the more calories are burned for longer periods of time following the exercise session.

In addition, cardiovascular benefits of cardio are important to note. The benefits to heart function such as an increase in stroke volume and decrease in resting heart rate are very important cardiovascular benefits that come from cardio training.

Is cardio effective for weight loss

I think it is possible to lose weight (fat) with a structured resistance training program and a solid nutrition program that teaches you how to eat to get lean.

Although it’s possible to lose weight (fat) without cardio, I highly recommend cardio exercise is a part of a total fat loss program.

We must burn more calories than we consume to lose weight, but there are other factors (nutrition and resistance training) that are also very important to a total fat loss program.

Just a number

The important thing to take away is that people should focus on losing bodyfat instead of just weight loss.

I see so many people get caught up on a number on the scale and this number dictates whether their weight loss program is giving them benefits or not.

This can get them into trouble if they are not doing the correct things to lose bodyfat and build their metabolism.

I think people should focus on body composition and not weight loss. If you do the right things to improve your body composition (lose fat, build muscle and get leaner); then you really shouldn’t be too preoccupied with what the number on the scales reads!

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