Cardio For Weight Loss
Cardio For Weight Loss
Whenever people talk about fitness they often mean steady state cardio e.g running or cycling. We are constantly told that cardio is fitness but this is simply not true, cardio is part of fitness and health along with strength, flexibility & power.
Unless you are a sports person or athlete, were you need sport specific fitness, then functional fitness is far more important for everyday life. Examples of functional fitness uses are simple things such as being able to walk for an hour or 2 with out tiring, caring heavy shopping or suitcases, sprinting to catch a bus or save a child who has stepped into the road. Slogging round your local park will have a limited effect on any of these, also if you are not very fit jogging or cycling alone will create more problems than they solve.
Also most people over 40 take up steady state cardio to lose excess weight and with little or no base fitness jump on their bike or start pounding the pavements. While initial weight loss will be positive, after 6-8 weeks the body adapts to the load being put on it and weight loss ceases and starts to reverse with the return of the initial weight and then extra is often gained.
Lets start with running, when most people say they go running what they actually mean is they go slogging (slow jogging), we've all seen them and most of us have been there, the person barely moving above a slow walking pace, sweating, red in the face and checking their couch to 5K app.
They get home collapse on the sofa with sore knees and ankles, a bad back, neck ache and the first sign of shin splints but happy in the knowledge that the bottle of wine and pizza they are going to have has been earned.
Cycling favoured by your average middle aged man in Lycra, he spends most of his life sitting at a desk or in a car, so he chooses an exercise were he can sit down as well. This type of lifestyle and fitness training often leads to shortening of the hip flexers & Psoas which often leads to back & hip issues as well as digestive problems. Plus after a few hours in the saddle he rewards himself with a sit down, a pint and a carb heavy meal.
Both these examples are very common and believe that they are doing everything right to lose weight & improve overall fitness, but with time they will improve at running or cycling but can't lose weight and often gain weight. And what is worse the weight they gain is fat not muscle.
The Reasons Steady-state Cardio training is Supposed to Burn Fat But doesn’t
1) It burns calories. Hard working muscles demand extra oxygen to help them work. However, many activities also burn calories by requiring work from the muscles, such as weight training, intervals, sprinting, sleeping.
2) The fat burning zone.The fat burning zone is a concept that the body burns a greater amount of fat at lower-intensity aerobic exercise than it does at higher intensities. At lower intensities the body may burn 50 percent of the calories from fat, while at higher intensities it may only burn 35 percent. But at higher intensities you burn way more total calories—and more fat calories overall—than you do at lower intensities.
3) Aerobic training makes your body an efficient fat burning machine. This is true, but this isn't a desirable response. Yes, aerobic training does demand work from the muscles, but not as much as other activities. Because the only tissue that burns fat in the body is muscle, aerobics exercises are ineffective at building muscle and so a very poor at maintaining your body's fat-burning tools.
4) Aerobic training raises your metabolism. This is false. Your metabolism is largely a function of how much muscle you carry. Because aerobics do nothing to even maintain muscle, never mind build it, they do not contribute to raising your metabolism while at rest.
Your metabolism or your metabolic rate is what determines how many calories you burn each day. It is controlled by your thyroid and is largely a factor of muscle mass. Every pound of muscle you put on requires approximately 50 calories per day to maintain. This doesn't take into account the calories burned developing that muscle, or the calories burned while maintaining that muscle. These 50 calories are the amount needed by that muscle to just sit there.
This equates to 18,250 calories per year, or the equivalent of a little over five pounds of fat. Gaining and maintaining even five pounds of muscle in your training program will assist in burning off over 26 pounds of fat over the course of a year.
Consequently, an athletic physique is not just the result of how many calories burned during exercise, but how many calories the body is forced to burn all the time. Raising your metabolism is the real key to long-term fat loss and body change.
So in conclusion aerobic or cardio training is great for your cardiovascular system but not great for fat burning. If you want to burn fat make sure you include regular heavy lifting, weighted carries & sprints in your fitness regime. Even if you are concentrating on improving your running or cycling, lifting heavy weights will help improve your overall performance levels as well as burning more fat.
A strong runner or cyclist will be able to go further, faster and recover quicker, along with correct flexibility training all these will lead to a happier healthier life.