Question & Answer: Is Cardio Good For Weight Loss?
I’ve heard a lot of different theories as to whether or not cardio is good for weight loss … probably you have too. So, is cardio good for weight loss?
Cardio has gotten a bad wrap over the last few years. Some say that it is inefficient for fat loss while others say it actually makes you soft and flabby around the midsection. What I’ve found is that it is not cardio’s fault. The REAL problem is that not everyone knows how to implement it properly into their routine.
I wish my gym had a view like this … it would be much easier to do cardio with this view!
Over the last two weeks I’ve been following a new cardio program that is coming out in a month or two … or three. I’ll talk more about that later. What I have found first hand is that YES, cardio is good for weight loss … as long as you know what to do and when to do it.
I have been talking about the benefits of combining HIIT with steady state cardio ever since I started my blog. That method does still apply, but I have found that good old fashioned steady state cardio does have it’s place as well
Is Cardio Good For Weight Loss?
There are actually several benefits to doing cardio. Here are some just a few.
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Lower risk of stroke
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower bad cholesterol
- Lower risk of breast cancer
- Lower risk of type 2 diabetes
- Strengthens bones
- Controls joint swelling
- Weight loss
In this article, we’ll talk mainly about #9 and we’ll answer the question: is cardio good for weight loss?
How To Lose Weight
In it’s simplest form, weight loss is a result of burning more calories than you consume. Since losing a pound of fat requires a 3,500 calorie deficit that is what we’ll look at. Every 3,500 calories you burn is one less pound of fat you weigh.
So how much cardio to burn 1 pound of fat? Unfortunately the answer is about 6 hours!
That’s no good, I know. The average amount of calories you burn doing cardio for one hour is about 600. Yes, there are other ways to burn more than this. When you consider the EPOC, HGH release, etc., you can lose a bit more fat. For now though, let’s just say 600 calories per hour.
“Other” Requirements To Weight Loss
In addition to cardio, you HAVE to be eating a good diet in order to lose weight. Now, there have been studies that show you can eat CRAP (not literally) and still lose weight so I won’t harp on that too much. Bottom line is you need to watch the amount of calories you take in.
I STRONGLY recommend that you not get your calories from junk food.
The initial and most important calorie deficit needs to come from your diet. There are many different peices of advice floating around … some work, some do not. For a pretty hardcore dieting approach, I like to follow this rule on calories.
Eat 8-10 calories per pound of your GOAL body weight, per day.
That means that if you are weighing in at 180 pounds and want to cut fat and get down to 170 pounds that you should eat 1,360 – 1,700 calories per day. This seems low … and it is. You don’t want to do this diet for extended periods of time but it is great for a one or two month push to shed fat.
Think Long Term Weight Loss With Cardio
After your diet is on point … that is when cardio plays a significant role in losing weight. You can only diet so much before your body will start to work against you. So how do you continue to lose weight when you reach a sticking point and your diet is already dialed in? Cardio!
If you are going to the gym 3-4 times a week and doing 45 minute sessions of cardio after your workout that is 2.25 – 3 hours of cardio, or and EXTRA 1,125 – 1,500 calories per week. If you bump that up to one hour sessions you could be looking at a 2,400 calorie deficit just from cardio … and that’s the least effective type of cardio.
If you do this over the course of just 3 months (12 weeks) you will have burned 28,800 calories … 8 pounds of fat.
What is important to remember about dieting and working out is that you will lose MORE than just 8 pounds during those 3 months. You will be amazed at how much water weight you lose in the process. 8 pounds of fat is A LOT of fat. Once you shed that you will be able to see a significant difference in your physique.
Coming Up Soon-ish
I mentioned in the beginning that I have been following a new cardio course over the past two weeks. I’ve been eating according to this formula (with some more specifics that I’ll talk about in another post) as well as doing strength training followed by the strategic cardio workout.
The results? In two weeks I’ve dropped 8 pounds and OVER 2% body fat.
I am going to stick to the cardio course for a while longer. After I am done giving it a thorough test I will post a new article about it on this site, recommending it … or not. So far, it’s been very effective.
Final answer … is cardio good for weight loss? Absolutely!