When you think of the best exercise for weight loss what comes to mind? For many people, the answer is cardio. The reality is that doing too much cardio can actually hinder your weight loss goals. There is so much misinformation out there about how to properly workout for weight loss that many people work diligently to lose weight and get disappointing results. Understanding what cardio can do for you, why too much cardio can hinder your weight loss goals, and how to find the right balance with cardio is important if you want to choose a workout plan that will move you toward your weight loss goals.
What cardio can do for you
Cardio, in its various forms, is popular among people who want to lose weight. When you strap on your step/calorie tracker it is cardio that shows the highest calorie burn. And, since a big part of successfully losing weight is burning calories, it seems logical to increase cardio to lose weight. This approach will work temporarily. In the beginning of your weight loss journey, your body will likely respond quickly to increased cardio. Cardio is also an important part of your heart health and overall wellbeing. Getting in some type of cardio every day can provide you with important benefits but when it comes to weight loss, cardio has its limits. If a little bit of cardio at the beginning of your weight loss journey can burn a significant number of calories, then what can a lot of cardio do? The reality is that the calorie burning effect of cardio will start to change as your fitness level improves. There is a point with cardio in which you will start to see diminishing returns. If you are trying to lose weight, more cardio is not necessarily better.
Why too much cardio can hinder your weight loss goals
It is important for everyone to include some cardio into their lives. You can get your cardio in at the gym or commit to being more active throughout the day – take a walk after lunch, kick the soccer ball around with your kids, park farther out in parking lots, etc. If you choose to put in focused cardio sessions at the gym or outside, it is important that you do not do too much cardio. You may see quick results from cardio in the beginning of your weight loss journey but those results will quickly slow down and eventually plateau. If you respond to the slowed results by continually adding in more and more cardio you may get to a point where you are sabotaging your weight loss. This happens because your body adapts to the cardio you are doing. How far could you walk or run that first day? How difficult was it for you? If you are consistent with your training you will be able to go longer and farther with less effort. Your body is adapting. Doing too much cardio can signal to your body that it needs to start conserving energy. That means that your metabolism will slow down. This is the opposite of what you want to happen if your goal is to lose weight!
How to find the right balance with cardio
Cardio is important but too much cardio will hinder your weight loss. How do you know how much is too much? You can find the right balance when it comes to cardio but it will take some effort. You need to find the right balance of cardio for your body. Getting in non-exercise thermogenic activity (NEAT) is important to do every day – one way to fit in NEAT is to set a step goal. If you want to include more focused cardio into your workout plan, you will need to keep close tabs on your results to ensure that you do not overdo it with cardio. If weight loss is your goal, use your progress to help you determine if you are doing too much cardio. A plateau may mean that you are off track with your eating or that your body is adapting to the amount of cardio you are doing. If you make strength training the primary focus of your exercise sessions it can help you avoid sabotaging your efforts with too much cardio.
There is a place in your workout for cardio but it should never be the primary focus. You can learn more about the way that cardio impacts your body on the Mind Pump Media blog. If you are ready to find a program that will help you consistently move toward your weight loss goals then check out the latest from MAPS Fitness.