In this article, we will discuss the five most common cardio mistakes that people make when trying to lose fat. When done correctly, cardio can be beneficial for your overall fitness and well-being. Cardiorespiratory fitness refers to your body’s ability to provide oxygen to your muscles when they need it, which can burn calories and help you lose weight. When done correctly, cardio can also improve your overall fitness level, making it an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle. The study found that being overweight or obese is a major predictor of all-cause mortality, which means death from any cause and cardiovascular disease. The results of this 2009 meta-analysis showed that this is the case.
There’s a mortality benefit to high-intensity cardio when it comes to all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease.
How Cardio Helps You Achieve Results
There are a lot of benefits to having good cardio, such as improving overall athletic performance, enhancing recovery between sets, and even making the workout harder.
Several variables determine how challenging it would be to perform three sets of eight squats if your cardio was not up to par. If you’re not seeing the cardio benefits you expected, you might want to rest the entire day between sets if you’ve been skipping it.
But when you’re working out with consistent cardio, you can get more work done overall. It’s also worth mentioning that physical activity is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight over the long term.
Decreased cardio can hurt your training goals. Poor cardio can reduce your work capacity and recovery, making it harder to train successfully. For example, if your cardio is weak, you may struggle to complete three sets of eight reps of the squat exercise, which would make the exercise much more difficult.
You may need to take a break all day between sets if you’ve been skipping cardio. In addition, you may not be able to complete the same volume as if you were doing cardio regularly. But when your cardio is on point, you can get much more work done efficiently. Physical activity is an influential factor in maintaining a healthy weight over the long term.
Cardio Isn’t As Effective As Diet
A recent study found that people who are more active in their everyday lives are more successful at keeping the weight off after dieting. However, many people remain uninformed about the benefits of cardio exercise for weight loss. So, with these benefits in mind, let’s take a look at some of the biggest mistakes that people make and then offer some practical advice to help avoid them. The first mistake is thinking that cardio is as effective for fat loss as diet is. This is definitely not true, and even though being physically active is uncontroversial, it’s not strictly required for health.
At the most fundamental level, losing weight comes down to the number of calories you consume versus the number of calories you expend. This can be particularly discouraging when it comes to cardiovascular activity – the number of calories you expend in a typical cardio session is usually pretty low.
If you weigh 170 pounds (77 kilos), for instance, it would take you roughly three hours of brisk walking to burn off a thousand calories, but if you tried, you could eat a thousand calories in under a minute. Steve Cook, a fitness model, actually demonstrated this disparity.
So, in response to the 10,000-calorie food challenge, he attempted to burn 10,000 calories the next day. However, despite being one of the most physically fit guys in our industry and despite his best efforts, he still couldn’t do it.
Cardio is Essential for Maintaining Weight
It’s not smart to try to out-train a bad diet, so let’s see if we can find out who he’s about to try to out-train. And, in the end, he burned just over 7000 calories, proving that it is far easier to consume calories than it is to burn calories.
According to recently published research, if you do cardio as part of your weight loss program, the actual amount of weight lost from exercise is usually only 20 to 50 percent of the weight lost from diet. You’d think so based on the number of calories burned.
In other words, if you did nothing to change your diet and burned 2500 calories over a week through cardio, you would have to do something like five-hour treadmill walks. Based on the math, you’d expect to lose about 0.7 pounds, but you’d lose 0.
14 to 0.36 pounds, or about a quarter to half of what you’d expect. There are two possible reasons for this. The reason compensatory overeating is so common is that it’s difficult to tell the brain to stop eating. When you’re told to just do cardio, but don’t make any changes to your diet, your brain interprets this as meaning that you don’t need to consume as much. Therefore, it will compensate by eating more. This can lead to weight gain and an unhealthy diet.
Cardio May Not be the Sole Driver of Weight Loss
The second reason is that your body is smart. When it realizes you’re burning more calories through cardio, it tries to save energy by burning fewer calories through other metabolic factors. There is still some uncertainty as to which component of metabolism is most responsible for this trend, but some evidence suggests that it is due to reductions in meat or non-exercise activity thermogenesis. It could be your regular daily activities that aren’t formal cardio stuff, like fidgeting, moving around at your desk, bringing in groceries, and so on. Your body begins moving less as you increase the number of calories you burn through exercise. This causes fewer calories to be burned from meat and less weight loss than you’d expect.
There’s no harm in eating a little bit more to make up for exercise. However, it’s imperative to keep a close eye on your diet to make sure your caloric intake is balanced. Overeating on your own won’t necessarily counteract the benefits you get from cardio.
You’ll never experience a compensatory loss of muscle mass that leads to weight gain as a result of cardio, for sure. But my main point is that, as your body adjusts and compensates, the more you rely on cardio for fat loss, the less effective it becomes. This is why I rank this mistake at the top, not because I don’t think cardio is effective.
Cardio is helpful, but it’s not the only thing you need to lose weight. You should use it as a supplemental tool to help you reach your fitness goals and lose weight. Cardio shouldn’t be the sole focus of your weight loss plan – it’s critical to combine it with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
How to Avoid Interference Effect When Working Out
One of the biggest concerns with cardio while engaging in weight training is the so-called interference effect. This occurs when your body’s timing of muscle contractions is thrown off, potentially resulting in a decrease in strength and performance. So, it’s imperative to make sure that your cardio is appropriate around your weight training workouts to avoid any negative effects.
The interference effect is the reason why it’s sometimes difficult to see significant gains from cardio training when combined with strength training. There is some truth to the idea that cardio can hurt muscle gains, but it’s not always the case. There is a clear discrepancy between aerobic exercise and muscle growth, and it can be difficult to optimize results. One way to work around this is simply doing weight training.
The systematic review and meta-analysis found that when endurance training and cardio are performed concurrently, cardio results in significantly worse improvements in one-rep max strength. The meta-analysis found that strength training is compromised for at least six to eight hours following endurance training.
Separation of Endurance and Resistance Exercise
Although it might not be realistic to separate endurance and resistance exercise by 24 hours, this research suggests that this could be a useful strategy to optimize concurrent training adaptations and avoid acute interference. A 2021 meta-analysis found that combining cardio and weight training had no impact on strength for untrained and moderately trained individuals, but did significantly impair strength in more well-trained individuals. This is more of a concern for advanced trainees, as concurrent training can hurt their progress. The most effective way to combine cardio and weights is to do your cardio last.
As you get more advanced, you can add more challenging exercises to your routine. Separating your cardio and weight training would be a wise idea. This could mean doing them on different days or doing one in the morning and the other in the evening.
High Intensity Trap
The third mistake is to fall into what I’ll refer to as the high-intensity trap. Coaches typically divide cardio exercises into one of two categories: low intensity, steady state cardio, also known as less or no cardio. When it comes to cardiovascular exercise, there are three main types: moderate intensity, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and resistance training.
If you’re doing cardio at a moderate intensity, that is when you should stick to a steady pace like walking or running on an incline treadmill or stair climber. In contrast, if you wish to try high-intensity interval training, then you should exert yourself intensely for 20-30 seconds, then ease back into a light pace for two to three minutes, and then repeat usually five or six times.
Caloric afterburn effect
There is some truth to the idea that high-intensity exercise can cause a “caloric afterburn effect,” which occurs after a person completes a strenuous workout and results in a temporary increase in calorie expenditure. However, the effect is not as significant as is often thought, and it doesn’t matter whether you do a HIIT or low-intensity workout. In the long run, you’ll burn more calories overall if you engage in regular exercise.
One study found that even after 80 minutes of high-intensity cardio at 80 percent of maximum heart rate, the afterburn effect only resulted in an additional 80 calories burned. A more recent systematic review found that the afterburn effect is unlikely to account for any apparent increased fat-loss potential. However, even if we disregard the afterburn idea, the afterburn effect still has the advantage of being more time-effective. Consider that you can burn the same number of calories in up to 40% less time.
Some people do find HIIT to be less boring, which is an additional benefit, and I do believe that’s a perfectly reasonable reason to use it. Time, efficiency, and enjoyment of HIIT are all positives, but its biggest downside is that it can impede weight loss. It takes longer to recover from more training. You could also argue that HIIT is more redundant because weight training and HIIT are physiologically quite similar, with typical moderate to high rep weight training. According to some experts, intense exercise provides most of the benefits of HIIT training without the additional time and effort expended.
Too Much Cardio
The fourth mistake is doing too much cardio overall. Even if we do everything else correctly in terms of timing and intensity, it is still possible to do too much cardio. Let’s look at the results of the NSCA meta-analysis of the interference effect. They noticed a decrease in hypertrophy around three to four days per week, though the correlation was not strong. So, while this is a trend to be aware of, it isn’t going to disappear like your muscles.
Research has shown that if you do cardio more than three or four times a week, it may have negative correlations with hypertrophy strength, power, and the length of endurance exercise per day. The higher you go above 30 minutes per day, the more interference is seen. I think it’s important not to look at exercise frequency and volume data in a vacuum. Even if a dog walks for a half hour, that’s not comparable to running suicide sprints. So, what I would recommend for someone’s cardio depends on the type of cardio they are doing and what specifically they need help with.
Relying Solely On Fasted Cardio To Burn Extra Fat
The fifth mistake is relying solely on fasting cardio to burn extra fat. The fact that you burn more fat during a fasting cardio session does not necessarily mean that you will lose more fat overall. There is much debate over the effects of exercise on weight loss, and changes in lean and fat. A 2011 study found that when you burn more fat during a cardio session, you burn less fat over the next 24 hours. A systematic review found that exercising in a fasted state did not influence weight loss or changes in lean and fat.
Escalante and Bearcat recently published a review paper in which they analyzed the research on fasted cardio in the context of athletes with competitive physiques. People tend to think that there is a certain advantage to training quickly, despite research not being conclusive on the matter. This is mainly because physique competitors typically have low levels of body fat, so it is possible that fasting could help them achieve this. However, it is still up for debate whether or not this is the case.
In some advanced cases, they also say that protein-enhanced cardio, which involves consuming about 25 grams of protein beforehand, might have a slight advantage. But in general, I believe that you should just do your cardio when you can stick to it for the longest. This means doing it after a fast or after eating.
When it comes to weight loss, it is imperative to include cardiovascular activity as needed to maintain a consistent pace. On average, people lose about 5-10% of their body weight each week, so staying within this range is recommended. If you’re able to maintain your current weight and fitness level with only weight training and diet, then you don’t need to include any cardio exercise. However, adding some cardio can help improve weight and fitness, while also helping to establish healthy activity habits for long-term weight maintenance. I would recommend hitting the gym for one to two sessions per week, lasting about 15 to 30 minutes each. Additionally, low-intensity cardio can be added as needed.
Generally speaking, the amount of calories burned per day varies depending on a person’s occupation and lifestyle outside the gym. For example, people who work a desk job typically burn around 300 calories per day. However, people who are involved in physically demanding work, such as agriculture, can burn up to 2,000 calories per day through natural needs alone.