To put it simply, cardio is not the best way to lose weight. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking they can eat a surplus of calories and then get on a bike, cycling for hours to burn it off. This is not in any way, the right thing to do and will lead to a lot of frustration. It’s not as simple as this, yet it’s not complex.
Cardio is a form of fat burning, that can work in your favour, although it’s not the most ideal one to focus on. Doing too much cardio can leave you depleted, sick and even fatter then when you started.
If you want to lose weight, here are the following steps to take in order to experience success and feel fantastic.
4 of the best ways to lose body fat.
- Start with overhauling your diet. They key component to losing weight is to start making changes to your diet. This is a combination of what you are eating, as well as the beverages you consume. It does not matter how much exercise you do, if your diet does not change along with it, you will not experience the results you want.
Start by viewing your portion sizes for each meal, and splitting them up into 5–6 portions throughout the day. This is breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. I personally have 5 meals per day, as I find that 6 is a bit much for my digestion. The choice is yours. Stick with low fat protein sources, and green veggies. Use your palm to allocate the specific portions for your body mass. This is the best way to form your portion habit, because scales and weighing is very time consuming, and somewhat annoying if you ask me. Veggies should be your largest portion, followed by protein. I only recommend sweet potato and oats as a carb source. White rice if you are stuck for choices. Don’t go near brown breads and rices as they are toxic. White rice is actually better for you. This topic is for another article, and I wont get into the complexities. Being conscious of your carbs is essential. Fill up on your veggies first, then protein, and see how much is left for carbs.
- The best kind of exercise to sustain the ability to burn fat over time, without you having to make a huge effort. By far, weight training for this alone, is the way to go. The reason being is that lifting weights helps to damage the muscles, forcing them to repair, grow and become stronger. This is what you want to achieve every time you weight train. What happens after this, is you increase your muscle mass. Muscle on the body requires calories to repair and grow after training. You can suspect from this aspect alone, that you would increase your resting metabolic rate quite substantially, therefore, being able to eat more calories and not putting on body fat. Yes, this is what weight training does. Cardio does not have this effect.
- The best form of cardio exercise is done minimally, using full exertion methods. This is called HIIT. HIIT has the ability to tap into fat reserves (the stubborn ones that diet alone do not seem to abolish). The maximum time for this type of exercise is 30 minutes. You exert your most maximum effort for 20–30 seconds, then rest for 60 seconds. On a treadmill, this would be running as fast as possible, for 30 seconds, then power walking for 60 seconds to rest. Rinse and repeat for 30 minutes. After this, your energy levels will deplete. But be warned, exceeding this time can cause some immune system compromised. This can become a cold, or even exhaustion. It’s not to be pushed to the limit.
The benefit of HIIT is the short bursts of your body being without oxygen to fuel your workout. That means, it needs to get hold of fat reserves for energy. This constant back and forth with energy systems, has a profound effect on fat burning and muscle building. When sprinting, you can actually tone and build muscle on your legs!
- Incidental exercise is also a great way to burn off calories. Incidental exercise is any form of movement outside your window of a scheduled workout. This could be walking to and from work, walking at lunch time, taking your dog for a walk, or taking the stairs instead of the lift. All these add up to your overall calorie expenditure, without you having to think about it. I highly recommend finding ways in which you can burn calories by increasing your activity levels. Schedule it into your working and leisure day, as often as you can. You can also split the activities levels during the day, and not have to focus one full block of time. Have fun with it and see what you can come up with.