Cardio myths that make you fat

These common misconceptions might be keeping your scale stuck, but there are easy ways to change that and lose more weight!

To Speed Up Weight Loss, Skip Strength Training And Focus
On Cardio

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All cardio and no strength isn’t just boring, it may cause you to burn fewer calories overall. “Strength training builds lean muscle mass, which both increases your metabolism and decreases fat,” says celebrity trainer Elizabeth Hendrix Burwell, co-owner of High Performance Gym. “So the more muscle you build, the more calories you burn on a day-to-day basis.” Some strength training workouts can even double as cardio: A recent study by the American Council on Exercise found that kettle bell exercises can burn up to 20 calories a minute—the equivalent of running at a 6-minute mile pace!

Do Cardio First, Then Hit The Weights

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This age-old question is about as common as the chicken-or-the-egg conundrum: Should you start with cardio or strength training? “If you’re hitting the treadmill for an intense cardio session and then plan to hit the weights afterward, you’ll have little left in your tank to make your resistance training count,” says Lindsay Vastola, a certified trainer and founder of Body Project Fitness and Lifestyle. When it comes to doing a full, high-intensity cardio session and an entire resistance training workout, perform each on separate days, Vastola says, so you can give both your all and burn more calories in the process.

You Should Burn At Least 500 Calories During Your Cardio Sessions

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Slogging away on the treadmill to hit some magic number is a waste of time and energy since machines can only roughly estimate your metabolic rate, Vastola says. Ignore the red digits on the console and focus on intensity instead. If you work harder in shorter bursts, you’ll burn more calories even after your workout is over. Use a heart rate monitor (aim to stay between 75 to 85 percent of your max heart rate) or the rate of perceived exertion scale of 1 to 10 (strive for an 8 or 9 on high-intensity intervals) to determine if you’re working hard enough.

Stay In The “Fat-Burning Zone” If You’re Trying To Lose Weight

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Your body does burn fat as fuel during lower-intensity workouts (a.k.a. the “fat-burning zone” of about 65 percent of your max)—however that’s not necessarily what you need to focus on for weight loss. What counts the most is your overall calorie expenditure, not the fuel source. “The higher the intensity of your workout, the more total calories you will burn,” says Marta Montenegro, a certified strength and conditioning coach and adjunct professor of exercise and sports sciences at Florida International University. That burn lasts up to 24 hours after your last rep or step, and studies show you’ll shrink your belly fat faster, she adds.

Doing Cardio On An Empty Stomach Burns More Fat

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You can’t drive a car without gas, so why expect something different from your body? The trouble with this theory is that the large muscles that power you through your cardio exercise rely heavily on a combination of carbs and fats for energy. When you run or bike on an empty stomach, your body will turn to the carb and fat fragments in your bloodstream and muscle stores, not to the fat in your fat cells to energize your workout, says Michele Olson, Ph.D., professor of exercise physiology at Auburn University.

If You Do Enough Cardio, You Can Eat Whatever You Want And Still Lose

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We wish! Not only do most of us (and the machines we work out on) overestimate how many calories we burn during our workouts, we underestimate how many calories we’re eating too. Exercise alone just isn’t effective enough to burn fat, says Bret Contreras, a certified strength and conditioning specialist. “A recent study suggests that the average obese person loses approximately five pounds of fat over the course of eight months through cardio or resistance training alone,” he says.

Now you can be sure you’re doing it right!

Love,

Helwi El Hayet

About helwielhayet

Helwi el-Hayet discusses your favorite topics every week day at 4:30 p.m. Beirut time. From fashion to psychology to books to art to nutrition to cooking and coaching (and much, much more), Helwi el-Hayet is here to shed light on the latest trends and to share with you reports, interviews and recipes from Lebanon and the region!
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