Cardio For Fat Loss
While cardio can be beneficial to the fat loss process it is often overused or used incorrectly. While cardio can help you shed fat, performing too much cardio when it’s not needed can result in the loss of muscle tissue. It’s best to only incorporate a moderate amount of cardio when starting a cutting diet, perhaps no more than 3-4 sessions of 20-30 minutes per week. If you feel that this is not enough, or that your fat loss diet has hit a plateau, slowly add in additional cardio.
Here are some tips to maximize your cardio:
- HIIT vs. LIT – HIIT is high intensity interval training, such as cycling between periods of sprinting and light jogging. LIT is low intensity cardio, such as walking on a treadmill or using a Stairmaster. There is a heated debate over which of these is most effective for burning fat. The bottom line is this…exercise is exercise, and all forms of cardio help to burn calories and elevate your metabolism.
- Cardio and Resistance Training – If muscle retention is a primary goal, perform cardio after weight training. If you enter your resistance training sessions fatigued, it will make it hard to perform at 100%. The human body needs all the incentive it can get to retain muscle while losing fat. Sub-par resistance training workouts can put you on the fast track to muscle loss.
- Cardio on Off Days – Cardio can also be performed on off days, or on days in which you are not performing resistance training. It may also be convenient to perform cardio first thing in the morning or several hours before your weight training session. If you use this approach make sure you feel 100% before hitting the weights.
- Cardio Monotony – Cardio does not have to be mindless and boring. Pick an enjoyable form of cardio, and if one doesn’t exist, create one! Cardio can be performed in intervals, using everything from sled dragging to swimming to kettlebell swinging. Don’t chain yourself to a treadmill. Exercise should be fun.