Okay…so you’re eating the right kind of high nutrient food that your personal trainer swears by, your portions are correct, and you’ve become a cardio queen (or king) this past month…so why aren’t you reaching your weight loss goals? When it comes to cardiovascular exercise, you need to know how it works—in order to make it work for you. We’ve got your cardio class—including a few great ways to maximize your time on the treadmill (so you never waste a moment.)
If You Want to Lose Weight, This is How Cardio Works…
Are you faithfully devoted to a cardio workout five days a week and barely seeing the inches on your waistline decrease? Are the pounds refusing to melt away? If not, then it could be you’re not strength training like you should be. The misconception about weight loss is that in order to lose weight, you’ve got to hit the treadmill, or take spin classes.
The truth is, yes, cardio is more important than strength training to lose weight—but by including strength training in your workout, you can speed up your weight loss. Here’s why: when you incorporate at least three days of thirty-minute weight lifting or resistant training, you’ll decrease fat, raise your metabolism and build lean muscle mass. If you really want to lose weight (and have a lean, tight body to show for it), then add muscle. Simply put: the calories you are able to burn on a daily basis depends on how much muscle you build.
The Order of Your Workout Matters
If someone you trust (your best friend, parent, etc.) has told you that it doesn’t matter when you do your cardio (just as long as you do it), they’re mistaken. The truth is, if you’re starting with cardio and then hitting weights, you’re losing steam. You need a lot of energy to push through lunges, squats, shoulder presses, crunches and bicep curls—exercises which will be tough to get through successfully if you hit your run first. Go full steam ahead with a powerful weight lifting session, and then pack a punch swimming laps, climbing stairs or jogging on the treadmill.
When It Comes to Cardio, Focus on Upping the Intensity
One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about doing cardio is thinking that any type of cardio counts, as long as you remain moving. Some people make the mistake of coasting along for thirty minutes and continue a steady pace. Unfortunately, that’s not doing any good for their heart rate—or their waistline. Don’t make that mistake—instead, commit to cardio that will allow you burn 500 calories (or more) per session.
A spin class (for example, which is high intensity) can allow you to burn 900 calories a month, whereas you’ll burn between 400-500 calories per forty five minutes on a treadmill at a jogging pace. Increase your cardio by alternating between jogging, running and sprinting or take a few high intensity classes (such as Zumba, spin or a boot camp style) to enhance your results.