So many women are on what I call the cardio weight loss program. I was on it myself for years! I was given the wrong information from people who I thought knew the right answers. I won’t go into the story again but you can read my About Me page to catch up if you have not already. I will say that I did not find the right answers until after I turned 40! And it was transforming as well as freeing.
The misconception that women have is that weight loss makes you look good and this can only be achieved by cardio and reduced caloric intake. At the same time, most women believe that weight training will make you big and bulky and cause you to gain weight.
The REAL truth is the cardio weight loss program may actually be doing you more harm than good if not combined with a good strength-training program. It could also be the very reason you have belly fat. Surprised? Over exercising puts stress on your body and this stress releases the hormone, cortisol which is the belly fat culprit. In addition, too long of a cardio burst depletes the stored glycogen in your muscles,forcing your body from anabolic (muscle building) state to a catabolic state (muscle depletion). I could get super technical but it’s not necessary. You simply need an understanding of why strength-training benefits far outweigh a cardio weight loss program.
A steady state cardio session such as running outside or on a treadmill for 45 min to an hour will burn around 400-500 calories during that session. The after-burn, which is the number of calories burned when you stop jogging lasts about an hour and burns a total of only about 30 to 100 additional calories. Weight training willburn calories for up to 36 hours after a weight lifting workout!
The cardio weight loss program is not the key to burning body fat! Increasing your metabolic rate so that it burns fat AFTER you work out is the ultimate goal and the most efficient way to lose body fat. This can be achieved in a couple of ways…by building lean muscle and by performing high intensity workouts. The second causes your body to use up your stored carb energy source. Once this is depleted your body will burn fat post workout. This is due to EPOC which is that high or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Because your energy output was so intense, your body works harder to bring in the extra much needed and depleted oxygen store which causes your metabolism to rise.
So is all cardio bad and non-beneficial?
There is cardio for building muscle and melting fat at the same time.
It is called HIIT, high intensity interval training. It involves alternating low to moderate intensity levels with high intensity levels. HIIT has shown to be more effective, upward of 50%, as a cardio workout to raise metabolism in blasting adipose tissue as well as well as speeding up the metabolism. Examples of HIIT would include:
- High jumps
- Split lunges
- Jump rope
- Box jumps
- Running stairs
- Cardio boxing exercise
and many more.
These alternative cardio workouts are simply short explosive interval bursts paired with low to moderate intervals. Did I also mention you can accomplish better results in the fat burning war in less time? About 20 to 30 minutes is all it takes. So try some HIIT and burn some fat!