Cardio will make you lose all your gains, period. Not really, but some people want to believe that or still believe in that myth. What if i told you that cardio actually has its benefits and that you can utilize cardio to your advantage? You can use cardio in the off season as well. Cardio can have a lot of benefits, let’s start!
WHY YOU SHOULD DO CARDIO
Cardio is one of those things that even nowadays people still doubt the benefits. What we mean with cardio is any type of activity that will elevate your heart rate for a significant amount of time.
You get the idea. Well, it is often said that cardiovascular exercise can help your health. Even do research is not a definitive answer, let’s see if there is research to support this:
This study by the Department of Psychology and Brain Health Research Centre of New Zealand digs deep into the benefits of regular aerobic exercise. In this study, they acknowledged that previous studies have shown benefits like:
- Improved Brain function when compared to non- exercisers
- Neuroprotective effects
- Better mental functioning
These benefits were noted in older adults.
Other studies also show benefits in mental health in comparison to psychotherapy and other methods.
Besides the mental health benefits of cardio, aerobic exercise has also been shown to:
- Improve cardiovascular fitness.
- Associated with a longer health span.
- Improve blood pressure.
- May combat chronic diseases
So cardio is a very useful tool and people is still worried about losing their gains. But it actually seems like it can enhance your results. But you can definitely overdo cardio to the point that it consumes a lot of energy and it can impede recovery.
My recommendation is to do some cardio sessions, 1-4 sessions per week along with resistance training. With 2-3 being optimal in my opinion and with a moderate duration depending on the intensity. If you are doing low intensity cardio, 30 minutes are plenty. If the cardio is high intensity, 15 minutes is more than enough. You should also take into consideration your personal experience while adding cardio to your routine. If everything is in check and you see a decline in gym performance you are likely overdoing the cardio, so in that case you can reduce the duration, intensity or number of sessions.
So cardio does have some benefits and it is always fun to not run out of breath during everyday activities. So you can find a way to sneak in some cardio in form of activities that you enjoy doing. Some people can do the treadmill walk for 30 minutes with no problem, but in my opinion that is boring. So you can try one of the following forms of cardio if you are thinking about incorporating this type of training into your routine:
- Walking, jogging or running (outside or in a treadmill)
- Sports like soccer,tennis,basketball,softball and others.
- Elliptical Machine
- Stationary or normal bicycle
- Jumping rope
- Boxing or kickboxing (classes or simple bag punching)
These are not all the cardio activities that you can do, but you get the idea! Incorporating a moderate amount of aerobic exercise into your training routine offers some real benefits with no harm if you don’t overdo it and specially if you have your nutrition,training and recovery in check.
HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT WITH CARDIO
Cardio by itself won’t make you lose weight, but if you combine cardio with the correct diet, you should be alright! Having a good cardio routine a few times per week will definitely give you a boost for losing weight. You will burn calories on your cardio sessions but you still need to watch you diet. Here is what you need to focus on:
Eat less calories: Weigh loss comes from a caloric deficit, this means that your body uses certain amount of energy (calories) in a day and to lose weight you need to eat less than your body uses. So the first step is eating less, pretty simple.
Eat low calorie filling foods: Flexible dieting may be a way for some to diet. This is usually for young folks with a fast metabolism and a low to moderate appetite, this approach may not work for everyone. If you include a variety of vegetables with your meals, foods with fiber like oatmeal, lean sources of protein like chicken, turkey and some lean red meats, you will likely be successful in your dieting approach. Cheat days and cheat meals are also a bad idea if you will eat uncontrollably. Make sure that you cheat knowing the caloric intake of your cheat meal.
Optimize you sleep: Sleeping is a really important process for you to optimize your health and your recovery from exercise. Sleeping is important for your hormones and all your biological processes. If you sleep less you will likely have a lot more cravings. This is because less sleep is associated with increased hunger and appetite (due to ghrelin and leptin levels).
Do not rely on supplementation: Fat burners can work, do not get me wrong, but they can only work when you are in a caloric deficit. Yes they can give you a boost in your energy expenditure and burn a little more fat, but you shoudn’t rely solely on supplementation since this only works if you are dieting the right way.
Lose weight “slowly”: The first week of dieting you can expect to lose more weight due to a drop in intracellular water and glycogen in the muscles. You can lose up to 4 lbs of pure water and glycogen, this happens due to the changes in caloric intake and carbohydrate intake. You can safely lose up to 1-2 lbs per week and more if you are above 25% body fat for men and 35% for women. You need to have some patience, fat loss is really not a long process if we compare it with muscle building. Stick to your plan for at least 3 months!
If you want to know more, check out this article that is specific about losing weight, you will know how many calories you should eat and a lot more : How to lose weight for good
This is it! If you have any questions let me know in the comments!