Cardio, it’s how you burn fat right?
As long as I go to the gym, sit on the treadmill watching Keeping up with the Kardashians for 45 minutes I’ll burn all my fat.
Yeah Nah, That’s not how it works.
Sure you can just do cardio but what are your goals?
Actually, scratch that, I’m not sure there are any fitness goals you could have that would only want cardio training.
Even marathon runners should be doing some form of strength training.
Sure cardio is very important and should be a part of your training routine.
Even a big part if you are, say, training for a marathon.
But even running a marathon you want strong muscles.
Yeh, you don’t want the extra bulk.
You don’t want big muscles for a marathon.
But the skinny muscles you do want for running need to be strong.
While the pros of cardio are pretty obvious, improved heart health from strengthening your cardiovascular system.
Improved sleep and brain function are more of the benefits you get from cardio.
It’s the con’s you need to be mindful of, there’s the big risk of overtraining. There is also the risk of muscle loss.
Cardio can put your body into a caloric deficit.
Which is what you want to lose weight right?
But the problem is, overdoing with cardio your body starts to use your muscle as fuel.
It won’t be long before you start to notice muscle loss when you are performing too much cardio.
Finding balance in your exercise routine is key.
For most of us, where the goal is looking and feeling better.
A mix of strength and cardio, paired with a healthy diet is what’s going to give you the results you are looking for.
Maintaining muscle while burning fat.
Looking lean and healthy, not gaunt and gross.
A mix of strength and cardio, even putting in some HIIT training as well (High-Intensity Interval Training).
Try this workout I posted on youtube. You can follow along with no equipment needed.
Well, let’s start with cardio.
Yes, cardio burns a lot of calories, but as I mentioned early it’s not necessarily burning fat as well.
But it is a great start, especially if you are carrying a few pounds of excess you want to get rid of.
Strength training is another great way to burn fat.
Strength training, more commonly known as lifting weights, has been shown to reduce visceral fat.
The bad kind that hangs out around our organs.
Strength training is going to help your body maintain muscle mass, your lean mass is what’s going to help your body burn more fat while resting.
After all, muscle weighs more than fat.
And as well all know, when something is heavier it takes more energy to move it around right?
Losing weight isn’t always the goal people are actually looking for.
A lot of people I’ve worked with are ‘skinny fat’.
They’re actually pretty happy with the size of their body, and just want to be more toned.
The problem is they don’t have a whole lot of muscle on them.
They may be ‘skinny’ but they’re soft.
When you are skinny fat and you burn all that fat off you end up looking really thin.
You want some muscle there.
You want the muscle to take up the space of the fat.
So, losing weight is not actually the goal of a lot of people.
Sure we could probably all lose a few pounds.
But if you don’t have a whole lot of muscle mass you may find you actually can a little while in the process of getting toned.
Back to the point, by having more muscle on you and being a bit heavier, you are burning more calories.
And if you have the balance right with your training, and your diet.
You will be burning fat, not using muscle as fuel.
If you are still unsure on exactly how you want to train, whether that be at the gym or somewhere else.
Then check out my free EBook ‘Train Wherever The F*ck You Want‘.
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Again this is one that can come down to what your goals are.
But for the most part, it’s generally agreed amongst fitness professionals that you do strength training before cardio.
Cardio chews into your energy stores, so when you start your sessions off like that it doesn’t leave a whole lot of fuel for your strength training.
As well as using up all the juice and leaves your muscles fatigued meaning they can’t put out as much as you need them to.
In saying that if your main focus is to improve your fitness, let’s go back to that marathon training again.
Then in this instance the strength training is complementary and should be done first, leaving your body with enough fuel to knock out your big run afterward.
Another route you can go down is doing a session morning and night. Get your strength session in at the start of the day.
And then after at least 6 hours and a meal or two go out and get your cardio in later in the day.
There’s nothing wrong with training twice a day even if you’re not an elite athlete.
You just need to listen to your body, give it enough fuel, and rest.
Never overdo it.
If you can do it, getting a few double days in is fine.
But build up to that, if you are a beginner to exercise then let your body get used to exercising before you push it too hard.
And it wouldn’t be wise to do too many double days in a row.
Remember that rest and nutrition are the most important parts of your training.
If you don’t fuel your body and let it recover it won’t improve and you risk serious injury.
No cardio does, not kill gains.
But too much of anything is never good.
If you are trying to gain muscle mass then yes you don’t want to go too crazy on cardio.
But you should always be doing some cardio.
Remember when you do cardio you are improving your heart health and isn’t the whole point of any exercise routine to improve yourself?
So why would you not train everything, just like you shouldn’t skip leg day you also shouldn’t completely drop cardio.
I just said the marathon running should be doing some strength training.
So if strength or size is your goal you should be complimenting that training with some form of cardio also.
It may only be 10 minutes at the end of a session but they all work together to make you a better version of yourself.