Updated: Feb 2
The most common mistake fitness enthusiasts make... WAY TOO MUCH CARDIO. Don't get me wrong cardio is a must if your goal is to find the healthiest version of yourself. It can improve physique and reach results if you do not overdo it. Hardcore cardio workouts every day are a great way to achieve burnout and walk away with injuries. Not to mention, cardio workouts are designed to target just that your cardiovascular system. That is your heart, but too much cardio can put unwanted stress on your heart putting you at greater risk.
Too much cardio also impacts your weight loss goals. Excess cardio can begin to burn muscle affecting your body's metabolism and its ability to burn fat. You will also see a direct impact on your recovery time because your muscles may feel sore. Even muscles that were not worked may feel fatigued slowing down your results. You may also feel an abnormally high heart rate days after your workout impacting your body's natural ability to rest and recover on days off.
Ideally, it is suggested a safe amount of time to devote to cardio is 30 minutes a day 5 days a week. This suggestion is for those who are die-hard cardio junkies that are at the cycle bar every day of the week. Training for specific events may require more time but for the average person just trying to stay fit limit yourself to the suggested time frames to reach your best results. If your goal is weight loss you might even reduce cardio workouts down to 3 days a week.
There are different types of cardio. One being, high-intensity cardio workouts. Interval training can lower body fat, heart rate, and blood pressure. It may also help lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. These workouts could include HIIT, PLYO, cycling intervals, running/sprints, challenging hikes, etc. High-intensity interval training is about spiking your heart rate and then bringing it back down to rest. This helps your body balance between fat burn and cardiovascular training.
Another form of cardio is steady-state cardio means applying a steady effort, as opposed to an interval cardio workout where you vary your energy output. Steady-state cardio is a great low impact option which can be extended into 45-60 minute sessions. These workouts include a light walk, swimming laps, pedaling on a bike, etc. Low impact provides similar benefits yet is great for avoiding injuries. You may not feel as big of a spike in your heart rate which means you are most likely in the fat burning zone.
It is a myth to think the harder you go the more results you will see. The truth is your addiction to feeling a cardio rush might actually be standing in the way of seeing results. It is best to balance cardio and strength training proportionally. If your main goal is weight loss you may lean more towards lifting weights. The truth is that you have greater potential to burn fat during your sculpt sessions. Building muscle burns fat. In fact, it can keep you burning fat all day long. Cardio burns fat and muscle which as we discussed can backfire slowing down the process of losing weight if done disproportionally.