It’s common knowledge that if you want to lose fat, you gotta do lots of cardio.
You might as well put down first, last, and security on that treadmill because that’s your new home until you reach your goal, right?
Wrong. (insert President Donald Trump meme here)
I had to learn this the hard way myself.
When I first got started in the gym back in 2012, I did nothing but cardio for months.
Sure, I got some good results but I also learned how to track and restrict calories around the same time.
It wasn’t until I started strength training that the results really started coming.
In fact, I eventually stopped doing cardio altogether and ended up reaching my lightest bodyweight ever of 164.8lbs at 6 feet tall.
I’ve also helped many people get real results without endless cardio.
So why do so many people recommend cardio for fat loss?
Either (1) they don’t know any better or (2) they realize it can be a useful tool to burn a few hundred extra calories per week.
Here’s the deal:
In order to lose fat, you need to be burning more calories than you eat.
Your body burns a base amount of calories based on height, weight, age and gender.
You burn even more calories by simply living your life.
For example, a 40 year old 5’2″ 160lbs woman burns about 1,450 calories just by living and breathing.
Let’s say she works at a desk sitting down most of the time, but is doing a 3 day resistance training program.
She would burn about 2,000 calories per day on average.
If she wanted to lose a healthy 1 pound per week, she would need to either:
A. Eat 1,500 calories per day OR
B. Do 500 calories of cardio per day
Here are 50 ways to burn 500 calories, which a quick skim through that list will help you realize why it’s not realistic to do that much work EVERY day.
Option A is pretty easy and actually takes LESS work.
It’s even better when you eat filling, high quality foods.
Don’t get me wrong…
Cardio is great and I do recommend it for general health.
However, if you’re doing hours per day without restricting your food intake, it’s not going to work and will take up a ton of your time for no reason.
Plus, it’s very possible to gain weight while doing cardio every day.
And that’s why I heavily recommend tracking calories, following a strength training program, and sticking with it for a long time.
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