Do I need to be doing cardio for fat loss?
All too often you’ll see people joining a gym because they want to lose weight. So typically, what do they do? They do 20 minutes on the treadmill, 20 minutes on the cross-trainer and 10 minutes on the bike. First of all, we need to understand why cardio is used in weight loss/fat loss.
All cardio workouts do is expend more energy and in turn, help you burn more calories. It doesn’t burn more calories than a typical weight work out as this makes your muscles more metabolic (basically better at burning fat and boost your metabolism). Its just a by product that you actually get fitter as you’ve not as much weight to lug around every day!
What typically happens is people have a low calorie diet and try to fit in as much cardio as possible, up to a stage this burns fat, so you will see the scales drop. But your body then turns to burning muscle for fuel, which will also see the scales drop. But you will still typically think your dropping body fat as your clothes get baggier!
So should cardio be implemented into your weekly routine? The answer is only if it needs to be. Primarily you should be focussed on utilising weights and resistance machines, as we said earlier this burns more calories and makes your muscles more metabolic. So, as well as your diet, it can only take you so far before you start to reach a plateau meaning your weight isn’t increasing or decreasing. You then need to implement another weights session into your week, drop your calories even more or some form of cardio. Don’t forget, cardio doesn’t need to be running on the treadmill, or cycling on the indoor bike. Cardio is purely an extra energy expenditure tool so going for a long walk, bike ride or swim can all class as “cardio”. 10,000 steps running on the treadmill is no different to 10,000 steps walked on a Sunday afternoon – one just takes longer than the other!