Is Cardio Making Me Fat?

Starting any exercise program is a good thing, even if it’s just walking. However, if you want to lose weight and be your healthiest, you need all types of exercise, cardio, strength, balance, and flexibility. Some people focus strictly on cardio for weight loss, saying it burns tons of calories. They’re correct. It does burn calories, but if that’s all you’re doing, you might be sabotaging your efforts to lose fat and future weight loss.

Cardio burns all types of tissue for energy.

When you do cardio, the body burns both lean muscle tissue and fat to get the extra energy required. The source of the calories is important. If you’re using lean muscle tissue to fuel your run, it reduces the muscle tissue you have. However, lean muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, so the more you have, the higher your metabolism and the more calories you’ll burn 24/7. It’s better to vary your workout and do more than just cardio if you want to lose weight.

If you do the same cardio every day, like running, your body becomes efficient.

Running is probably the most popular cardio workout, but if you only run, your body becomes efficient at the movements. The body is hardwired to burn as few calories as possible, so it finds ways to make the movements more precise and effective to reduce the calories you spend. It might save just a few calories every mile, but that slows your effort to lose fat. Unless you continually increase your distance, you’ll notice your body plateauing and weight loss slowing the more often you run.

Try mixing it up with other types of exercise, especially strength training.

Strength training builds lean muscle tissue as it burns calories from fat tissue. Unlike steady-state cardio, strength training causes calories to burn for hours following an intense workout. It effectively raises your metabolic rate for hours after the workout and sometimes for days. Excessive cardio can also lead to stress injuries that can sideline you for weeks. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. It simply means you must do all types of workouts to burn fat efficiently.

  • No matter what type of exercise you do, if you’re trying to lose fat, you need to change your diet, too. Eating healthy is just as important for weight loss, if not more important. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.
  • Before you start any exercise, always check with your healthcare professional, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions. If you work with a trainer, always inform them of any limitations.
  • Some studies show that people who run frequently eat more calories per day than those who don’t. One study showed that the increase was approximately 100 more calories than they burned, making weight loss more difficult.
  • If you run, modify your intensity throughout the run. Studies show that a moderate steady-state pace burns fewer calories than a modified alternating pace going from high intensity to a slower recovery pace.

For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness

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