We know. Cardio is the devil.
But when people initially make a commitment to losing weight, they jump to the assumption that they have to do all cardio all the time to effectively burn fat.
Well, we’re here to clear up any misconceptions you have about getting that heart rate up.
Myth 1: Cardio is the Key to Weight Loss
Yes, cardio is an essential part of weight loss. But cardio alone will not get you the results you want.
Most people assume that if they really want to lose weight, they have to do nothing but cardio all the time. The truth is that cardio burns both fat and muscle and the best kind of weight loss displaces fat for muscle. Doing too much cardio can make building muscle harder than it needs to be.
The real key to weight loss is balancing cardio, strength training, and eating right.
Myth 2: You Have to Do Cardio for at Least an Hour for it to Be Effective
This is so wrong it hurts.
You can do half an hour of cardio on its own or pair bursts of cardio with your weight training, and it will still be an efficient way to lose weight.
Many experts say that thirty minutes of cardio at least five days a week is ideal, but you don’t have to do thirty minutes straight. You can break up your cardio into two fifteen-minute chunks or three ten-minute chunks, and it will still be just as effective.
Myth 3: Cardio = Running
No, no, no.
Cardiovascular exercises, which the world has shortened to cardio, are aerobic exercises. Yes, that technically includes the “Let’s Get Physical” era of big hair, neon-colored tights, and what we think of when we hear “step-aerobics.” But it also includes swimming, dancing, using the StairMaster, Zumba, HIIT, jump roping, and really anything that will get your heart rate up. So if you dread cardio because you hate running, congratulations—there are other ways to get your cardio in.
Cardio is essential because it exercises your heart and lungs and can help you live longer. That doesn’t mean you have to hate every second you’re doing it.
Myth 4: If I’m Running, I Can Skip Leg Day
Don’t you dare.
Yes, running can help you tone your legs, but that’s not an excuse to throw squats out the window completely. Leg exercises including squats, deadlifts, and lunges can capitalize on the work you’re doing with your cardio sets.
As we said before, the best approach to fitness is a balanced one, which means you have to work your legs outside of cardio. Consider cardio to be a full-body exercise, so integrate cardio with your regularly programmed strength training sets.
Myth 5: Cardio Only Works if You Stay in the Fat-Burning Zone
Lower intensity cardio is considered the “fat-burning zone,” People believe that the longer they stay working out in that zone, the more fat they burn. And yes, doing lower intensity cardio for a longer duration can burn more calories from fat.
However, higher intensity cardio can burn more total calories and calories from fat in a shorter amount of time. Additionally, the more intense your cardio is, the higher you’ll be able to jump, the faster you’ll be able to run, and the quicker you’ll be.
In the end, what matters is that you get moving. Find the kind of cardio that you enjoy doing and get your heart rate up.
If you have any questions about how much cardio you should be doing for your body type and goals, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.