How much cardio should someone do if they want to lose weight?

Weight loss is dependent on many factors, such as hormones, genetics and diet. Exercise is the last factor that determines how much body fat you lose. In saying this, exercise does assist in the movement towards weight loss and maintenance over time.

What is the real key to weight loss

In order to lose weight, we must create a calorie deficit for substantial periods of time. The number of calories you consume needs to be less than what you burn on a daily basis. The body will then (not always!) tap into fat reserves as energy sources, and that is how the process begins. This is mainly created through nutritional choices. In fact, it’s the main reason for weight loss. Exercise follows as an aid in weight loss, as well as increasing your metabolism. This all depends on the type of exercise you do regularly. There is a place for cardio and a place for weight training in this spectrum.

Before we get into the specifics of cardio in particular, we need to be aware of the following factors in a bit more detail. These will have an effect on how much you will lose.

6 key factors that affect your rate of caloric burn

  1. How much you weight – If you are overweight, you will burn a lot more calories because you have a lot more fat stores. Leaner people will burn a whole lot less, and may not make too much of a difference in their appearance. This is where weight training comes into play – for better results
  2. How hard you work and at what intensity you train at – If you choose to do isolated movements, or use machines to train, you will not be working as vigorously than someone who does a weight training session, circuit training or HIIT. This is what it takes to lose body fat.
  3. What sex you are – Men burn more calories overall than women do. The reason behind this is that men have much more muscular tone than women do.
  4. How old you are – As you get older, you will burn less calories. It’s actually not based on your age specifically. You burn less calories as you age because you move a lot less you did as your younger self, and have lost muscle due to lack of use. This can be changed and it’s not set in stone by any means.
  5. How much muscle you have on your body – This isn’t to say you should turn into Arnold, but to highlight the fact that the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn when you exercise – and at rest, than someone who has a higher level of fat stores. Muscle needs calories to maintain, grow and repair. It’s in your best interest to increase muscle mass – both for men and women.

With these factors in mind, what’s your best option?

In order to lose weight, we have to fill up our strategy with a few different things. To focus only on cardio, you are losing out at the long benefits of growing muscle mass, looking leaner, athletic and stronger, as well as maintaining your metabolisms health long term. No one want’s to eat chicken feed in order to maintain their weight loss goals. I know I don’t!

Therefore, you need to have a more balanced outlook on training and diet, in order to get the best results. Here are some suggestions.

5 key strategies to losing body fat, faster!

  1. Weight train. As we mentioned above, muscle mass increases your metabolism – even when you are not exercising. This is the key to keeping your metabolism elevated for life, well into old age. As you get older, muscle mass is harder to maintain, therefore a few tweaks with your training and nutrition will keep you at a strategically optimal level. If you weight train regularly, this will not be an issue for you. Make the effort to lift weight, altering your training methods to get the best results.
  2. HIIT workouts regularly, but for short duration – HIIT is the best way to target stubborn stores of body fat, without compromising your muscle mass in the process. There are many ways to do this, such as circuit training, strongman training, hill sprints, sprints on a treadmill, skipping and bike riding. You can be creative to alter the techniques so that your body never becomes accustomed to one thing, and you will not risk hitting a training plateau.
  3. Implement some low impact exercise daily – Do not underestimate the magic of low impact exercise, such as walking longer distances, hiking, light jogging or even being on your feet most of the day, moving around. You can use incidental exercise to your advantage, making it even easier to lose body fat, and add more momentum towards your fat loss goals. Try walking to and from destinations more often, going for a walk after you eat and trying to get up regularly from your desk at work. It will make a huge difference to your weight loss results.
  4. Eat lost of cruciferous veggies. Your best bet towards rapid weight loss is diet, but did you know that cruciferous are key to achieving this? Why? Because they are filled with fibre, are low in calories and keep you full for longer periods of time. They also diminish cravings, and supplement your body with many more nutritional values than a donut ever can! Eat them with every meal, and in abundance – with olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice. Add some salt for extra deliciousness. Learn to embrace your veggies for longevity.
  5. Protein – I don’t have to remind you how important protein is. This macro is key to muscular grown, diminishing your rate of losing muscle as age progresses, and will keep you full. It also provides a thermal effect. Protein is just want you need on your plate, sitting side by side with your veggies. An accurate calculation can be found online, or use your palm to gauge the amount.

I hope this has helped you somewhat. Remember, to think about the long term effects for weight loss. Weight training is key, and so is diet. Cardio can be implemented here and there until you reach your goal. The real secret is to watch what you eat, don’t slip up, but allow an indulgence once a week. Good luck, and let me know if I can help you a lot more.

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