Have you been running like a hamster in frustration on the treadmill, spinning the wheels of your bicycle or jumping rope during your workouts, only to not see any results? Fear not… this is VERY common! There are a lot of myths surrounding cardio and how it works when it comes to burning calories and shifting fat, so our 12WBT Fitness Expert Louise McDonald is busting some common cardio myths.
1. More Cardio = More Fat Loss
It’s common for us to think that our calories in vs calories out formula is how we calculate how much cardio we are to do, right? Wrong! This is not necessarily indicative of how our bodies will respond to burning the ‘unwanted’ weight. Following a properly designed plan with both your cardio and strength workouts, plus structured meal plans is the best way to reach your goals. Too much cardio can lead to burn out and muscle breakdown.
2. Always Stay in The ‘Fat Burning Zone’
Yes, it is true that conducting your cardio sessions with an average heart rate that sits within this range will target fat stores. However, training at a higher rate or using interval type training can offer a greater total energy expenditure. It can even promote hormonal changes that encourages body fat utilisation during recovery. That’s a win-win!
3. Doing Cardio Allows Room for Extra Calories
This is a huge misconception! Adding in extra calories just because you’re doing cardio ultimately sabotages your efforts in shifting the desired amount of body fat! Remember that you need to be working on creating a deficient where there has previously been excess, to achieve your goals.
4. Cardio Only is Better For Fat Loss
While cardiovascular training is indeed a tremendous way to lose weight, mixing up your routine with resistance training can offer an increased metabolic rate. This in turn provides a fat burning platform for you even while you rest! More lean tissue equals a higher rate of energy burned throughout the day!
5. It’s All About The Time Spent Exercising
Being able to understand how many calories your burned and how this has impacted on your fitness level or weight loss on that exact day, is as relevant to your progress as the type of cardio activity that you did. Movement is progress and consistency means you’ll be on your way to fantastic results!
6. Always Exercise On An Empty Stomach
There are many different viewpoints and theories regarding the dos or don’ts of cardio before brekkie. The simplest way to apply this to your own routine is to try a few different approaches. If you leap out of bed feeling dandy with the need for only a drink of water before you exercise then go for it. If you feel flat upon entering your session, then you’re probably not going to have a good workout. Try a little light bite instead to super charge your output! Your results depend on how well you ‘perform’ and not how long your session was.
7. I Need Different Equipment to ‘Tone’
Using different pieces of equipment or performing a variety of activities for your cardio sessions is a brilliant way to keep things interesting, but if you’re wanting to really change the shape of your muscles or build lean tissue, you should consider resistance training, too. Cardio will most definitely provide weight loss, but your ability to reshape your physique and fine tune it with attention to the ‘wobbly bits’ is usually where a combination of training principles is suggested.
8. Do the Same Thing Every Day
Having a plan, a routine and an allocated amount of time is tremendous, but is it really necessary to perform the same type/level/time of session each day to reach the desired outcome? Nope! Giving each workout your absolute BEST effort is the key!
9. Cardio is Boring
Not true! It can seem very monotonous running on the treadmill for a length of time, or cycling your life away in a stationary position without the fresh breeze through your hair, so to avoid the rut of boredom, mix it up! Kettle Bell circuits or HIIT training are fabulous ways to rock your cardio and wear a smile!
10. Running Is The Best Type of Cardio
Some of us feel as if we are only winning if we’re clapped out after a marathon! Running is amazing, but it isn’t for everyone. Choosing your ‘type’ of cardio is a personal thing and needs to be specific to YOU. Just get your heart rate up and have fun with it!