Cardio exercise, also known as aerobic exercise, is any rhythmic activity that elevates your heart rate into your target heart rate zone. This is the zone where the most fat and calories are burned. Though most people do cardio exercises just to lose weight, cardio comes with a lot of other benefits, like enhancing your sleep quality or reducing the risk of a heart attack or high blood pressure.
Walking, cycling, and swimming are some of the most common forms of cardio. Even household chores like vacuuming and mopping can be considered cardio exercises.
The first step in choosing the best cardio workout is identifying the activities you enjoy the most. Consider what fits your personality and what you’d be comfortable incorporating into your life. This is critical because if you don’t enjoy the exercise, you’re less likely to stick with it in the long run.
If you love being outdoors and enjoy adventure, you can try cardio, like swimming, cycling, hiking, or running. If you prefer to work out in a gym, you have many options, including stationary bikes, elliptical trainers, treadmills, rowing machines, climbers, the pool, and more.
Or if you simply want to do cardio at home, you can try options like the jumping rope, jumping jacks, jogging in place, and burpees.
This blog discusses the many aspects of doing cardio for weight loss. If you are interested in learning more about cardio and how you can incorporate it into your daily life, keep reading until the end of the blog to get some insightful tips and info!
Common Myths About Doing Cardio For Weight Loss
The below-discussed myths about doing cardio for weight loss are the reason why most people often shy away from this or don’t see good enough results even after doing the exercises.
It’s time to bust these myths!
MYTH 1: Doing just cardio can help you lose weight
While cardio does help burn some fat and shed some pounds, they are not the only exercise you should be doing if you want results. Focusing on both cardio and strength training is the best way to lose weight.
All cardio and no strength training is not only inefficient but also boring. Strength training increases lean muscle mass, which boosts metabolism and burns fat. As a result, the more muscle you gain, the more calories you burn on a daily basis.
MYTH 2: Burn a minimum of 500 calories at every cardio session
There is no single answer to the question of how much cardio you should do to lose weight. The amount of time you need to work out, the type of workout and the no.of calories vary from each person, based on their weight loss needs or stamina. And apart from fat-burning cardio, other factors contributing to weight loss include eating a healthy diet and building muscle.
An easy way to get going without getting stuck up on numbers is to focus more on the intensity of these exercises while doing them. Working harder in shorter bursts helps you lose calories even after the workout.
MYTH 3: Doing cardio on an empty stomach burns more calories
The problem with this theory is that the large muscles that propel you through your cardio routine heavily rely on a combination of carbs and fats for energy. When you run or bike on an empty stomach, your body will use carb and fat fragments in your bloodstream and muscle stores to fuel your workout rather than fat in your fat cells.
This strategy could ultimately backfire and make you hyperglycemic or dehydrated, causing you to reduce your intensity or stop sooner than planned.
6 Cardio Tips To Lose Weight Faster
These six tips will help you help accelerate your weight loss process and get the most out of the minutes:
1. Always stick to an active workout
A proper warmup is designed to increase blood flow to your body’s tissues and elevate your body’s temperature in order to prepare for cardio activity. Active warmups have been shown to improve muscular function by increasing the turnover of adenosine triphosphate, the body’s cellular energy source.
Static stretching is excellent for increasing joint mobility and range of motion. You can perform warmup activities for 10-15 minutes before your actual workout. These can include light jogging and other common warmup exercises like jumping jacks or lunges.
2. Start on a high note
Rather than starting out slowly and increasing speed, do your high-intensity cardio early in your workout and taper off to a slow finish to burn significantly more calories. After a 5-10 minute warm-up, go into high gear (80 to 85 per cent maximum heart rate) for 15-20 minutes before slowing down (60 to 65 per cent maximum heart rate) for the final 10 to 20 minutes.
3. Don’t forget to eat before your workout!
Carbohydrates, broken down into glucose and stored as glycogen in your liver and muscle tissue, are the body’s primary and most efficiently absorbed fuel source.
Eat a low-fibre, carbs and lean protein meal 3-4 hours before your cardio session. If you’re rushing to a cardio workout and don’t have time to eat, consider grabbing an on-the-go, carb-rich option, such as chocolate milk or a serving of fresh fruit.
4. Take intervals between your workout sessions
You can’t maintain an intense pace for very long unless you’re a highly conditioned athlete, so intervals are the best way to improve your aerobic fitness and burn fat. And by intervals, we don’t mean breaks where you can chill out! You can alternate high-intensity work periods with low-intensity recovery sessions during these intervals. This way, you’re still doing some activity to burn calories and warming up for the next round of your high-intensity session.
5. Add some variety in your workout session to avoid burnout
Seeing your hard work pay off when you begin to lose weight can be reassuring. However, a progress plateau caused by repetitive workouts and burnout can send your motivation spiralling.
According to research, incorporating variety into your cardio workouts will boost your adherence – or willingness to stick with it – and bring you closer to your goals.
If you run 3 days a week, make sure to swap a day cycling or doing jumping jacks or even spending 30-45 mins in the pool.
6. Drink plenty of water
Dehydration during exercise reduces blood volume, resulting in less blood returning to your heart and a spike in heart rate. This, in turn, increases your cardiovascular strain, making your workout feel more difficult and causing you to quit early.
Drink 500-600 ml of water with your pre-workout meal, and another 5-10 ounces right before you begin. You should drink 400-800 ml of water every 60 minutes of movement, depending on how much you sweat.
A Few Cardio Exercises To Get You Started!
Here are some of the most common and recommended cardio exercises for you to get started and lose weight faster:
Sprints can be done outside, on a treadmill, or even up the stairs or bleachers. It burns the most calories in the shortest amount of time. These workouts require no equipment and can be done almost anywhere.
Kettlebell workouts combine the benefits of both strength training and cardio. The best way to maximise calorie burn during a kettlebell workout is to perform a movement for 30-40 seconds, rest for 20-30 seconds, and then repeat the movement or cycle through several movements.
Swimming is a total-body workout that begins the moment you step into the water. Since you’re essentially fighting gravity, your muscles work harder to keep you afloat. In fact, one minute of fast swimming will burn 14 calories.
4. Jumping Rope
Jumping rope, also known as skipping, improves not only your footwork, shoulder strength, and coordination, but also simulates sprinting, allowing you to burn up to 500 calories in just 30 minutes. It’s cheap, easy to do, and burns a ton of calories!
You can choose to cycle only if you’re ready for a high-intensity workout session. When you decide to do cycling, either inside a gym or outdoors, you must be willing to go at an intense rate.
A vigorous indoor cycling or spin class can burn up to 1,150 calories per hour for a 180-pound man, while a ride at a more moderate pace will only burn about 675 calories per hour.
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Knowing where to begin when trying to lose weight can be difficult, and the stakes can feel pretty overwhelming.If it indicates that you are doing too much, it is time to reduce the intensity, frequency, and duration of your workouts.
Whatever you do, keep your cardio workouts as simple as possible. Start small and set a goal of doing something every day, even if it’s just a 5-minute walk.
If you are looking for a fully-equipped gym, you can walk into SLAM Fitness Studio anytime you want and get started on your weight loss journey!