Cardio for Weight Loss

Are you thinking about weight loss? Then cardio is a great solution.

Cardio is a physical workout that uses large muscle groups in the body and raises the heart rate. It is considered the fastest way to lose weight since cardio is a fat burner group of exercises. The most common types of cardio are running and aerobics. Cardio exercises increase the metabolic needs for energy and also change the way the metabolism works.

What are the health and weight loss benefits of cardio? How exactly does cardio affect weight loss? Is it really necessary to do fasted cardio, meaning exercise on an empty stomach, to burn fat quicker? How to properly combine cardio with strength training?

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What is cardio?

Cardio (from the Greek “cardio”, heart) is physical exercise that increases the heart rate. In cardio, the body is in aerobic state and consumes more oxygen. Other types of cardio training include running, brisk walking, jumping rope, cycling and even swimming.

The benefit of cardio is that physical training against the background of increased oxygen consumption leads to an active work of the cardiovascular system. This, in turn, increases blood flow in tissues, and also has a positive effect on metabolism.

Among other things, cardio training can help you lose weight, especially belly fat, both through the calories burned and by optimizing metabolic processes. In particular, cardio training has a positive effect on blood glucose levels, and also helps to normalize the production of a number of hormones.

Benefits of Cardio:

  • Increased basal metabolic rate
  • Cardiovascular training
  • Improving blood circulation in tissues
  • Improving glucose and insulin metabolism
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Cardio - what's included?

The effect of cardio on weight loss is not only in the extensive use of calories. First, due to the higher heart rate, the body temperature rises and blood flow increases. Secondly, the fat-burning hormone adrenaline is produced. Thirdly, the level of insulin is normalized, which affects the decrease in appetite.

The benefits of cardio are supported by numerous studies while a sedentary lifestyle and lack of daily activity are harmful to health. In fact, regular cardio training affects the entire body – mood improves, immunity increases, extra pounds go away.

Pros and cons

Besides the pros, cardio has a number of downsides. First of all, age and general health must be considered. For example, running can be harmful when you are heavy (it puts stress on your joints), and too high a heart rate can put excessive stress on the heart, which can be dangerous.

Regardless, regular cardio is far more beneficial than harmful. The key is to choose the activity level that suits you and monitor your heart rate. The recommended limit is 115-130 beats for the age of 30, while at 50 – no more than 100-115 beats per minute.

Slimming with cardio

The mechanism by which cardio leads to weight loss is by burning calories from internal stores. Cardio training speeds up the metabolism, as well as develops the body’s ability to form reserves of quickly available energy in the muscles for exercise.

Basically, with cardio, the body learns to use carbohydrates better. Excess calories begin to be stored as muscle glycogen rather than fat. At the same time, weight loss is part of the post-workout recovery period, achieved only in the case of a reduced calories in the diet.

It is also important that the effectiveness of cardio is determined by the heart rate and the duration of the workout. To lose weight, you need to be in the fat-burning heart rate zone, exercising at least 2-3 times a week for 30-40 minutes. This will determine how much fat will be burned.

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Cardio vs strength training

During cardio, the body works in an aerobic mode, which speeds up breathing and increases the level of oxygen utilization – whereas strength training (lifting, exercises with heavy weights) is usually anaerobic and affects the heart rate to a lesser extent.

By acting on the cardiovascular system, cardio increases overall endurance, reducing the risk of heart disease by 45%. In turn, strength training develops muscles, motor coordination, and stimulates the central nervous system.

Each type of physical activity has its own benefits – moreover, the maximum effect is achieved by combining and alternating different exercises. Research also shows that faster way to fat loss is through interval training.

Why is cardio best done on an empty stomach?

Some athletes believe that fasted cardio is the best way to lose belly fat quickly. The logic is based on the fact that the lack of food in the stomach is associated with low levels of insulin in the blood. As a result, the body expends energy from reserves, and not from freshly eaten foods.

However, studies have not found a clear link between exercising on an empty stomach and faster fat burning. In fact, for weight loss, it is important to monitor calorie intake and exercise regularity for the best weight loss results. Regulating eating time and achieving cobsistency comes secondary in this strategy of weight loss.

Cardio - Before or After Power Lifting?

When gaining muscle mass, it is usually recommended to limit cardio to 5-7 minutes and do it before strength training as a warm-up. This will help you use the energy for weight training. At the same time, at the end of the training, it is better to take a cold shower, and not return to the treadmill.

Recall that excessively long and hard workouts increase cortisol, which is a catabolic hormone. It breaks down muscle mass, slows down recovery and can lead to overtraining. An alternative solution would be to alternate between cardio days and strength training days.

With regard to workouts for weight loss or to improve muscle definition, the overall duration of the training plays a significant role. The emphasis is on ensuring that the excessive amount of cardio does not go to the detriment of basic training. In order to avoid muscle loss, it is important to give them a sufficient level of exercise and rest.

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Cardio - how many calories are burned?

Types of cardio – walking

  1. Slow walking (speed 2.5-3 mph)

Although regular walking can technically be considered cardio training, the calorie expenditure is not so high. Ultimately, the faster the step, the more energy is required.

Calories in 30 minutes:

 with a weight of 120 lb – 90 cal

 with a weight of 185 lb – 170 cal

Types of Cardio – Recumbent Bike

  1. Exercise bike

An exercise bike is one of the most affordable types of cardio for the home. You can easily increase your workout duration by watching TV at the same time.

Calories in 30 minutes:

 with a weight of 120 lb – 210 cal

 with a weight of 185 lb – 310 cal

Types of cardio – rowing machine

  1. Rowing machine

A rowing machine is one of the few types of cardio that involves the upper body rather than the legs. This allows you to develop your back during training.

Calories in 30 minutes:

 with a weight of 120 lb – 210 cal

with a weight of 185 lb – 311 cal

Types of Cardio – Climber

  1. Ladder simulator

When training on the climber, the gluteus medius muscle is included in the work, which is inactive with other types of cardio including running.

Calories in 30 minutes:

with a weight of 120 lb – 235 cal

with a weight of 185 lb – 350 cal

Types of cardio – ellipsoid

  1. Ellipsoid

The advantage of doing cardio on an ellipsoid is to reduce the stress on the knee joints – unlike running, the knees do not experience shock loads.

Calories in 30 minutes:

with a weight of 120 lb – 270 cal

with a weight of 185 lb – 400 cal

Types of cardio – brisk walking

  1. Brisk walking (3-4 mph)

True cardio workout is walking, in which you feel an increase in heart rate, but the rhythm of your breathing still allows you to speak.

Calories in 30 minutes:

 with a weight of 120 lb – 240 cal

with a weight of 185 lb – 430 cal

Types of cardio – jumping rope

  1. Jumping rope

Doing vigorous exercise is another way to do cardio. You can both jump rope and practice running on the spot or shadow boxing.

Calories in 30 minutes:

with a weight of 120 lb – 300 cal

with a weight of 185 lb – 450 cal

Types of Cardio – Exercise Bike

  1. High-speed exercise bike

Cycling (speed bike) is one of the most active types of cardio. It requires a good level of physical fitness, and results in burning of a lot of calories.

Calories in 30 minutes:

with a weight of 120 lb – 315 cal

with a weight of 185 lb – 470 cal

Types of cardio – running

  1. Running (speed 5-6 mph)

Calorie expenditure while running depends primarily on the weight of the athlete and the direct running technique. In addition, the speed of movement also affects the effectiveness of this cardio exercise.

Calories in 30 minutes:

with a weight of 120 lb – 375 cal

with a weight of 185 lb – 555 cal

Is running the best cardio for weight loss?

Traditionally, running is considered the best form of cardio for weight loss. Unfortunately, beginners often do not run properly. But as a person learns to swim, he also has to learn to run. Running with the wrong technique and in the wrong shoes (especially with flat feet) can cause serious knee injury.

At the same time, running is categorically not recommended for people with obesity, since shock loads have an extremely negative effect on their knee and hip joints. For weight loss with a lot of excess weight, cardio such as an exercise bike, walking on an ellipsoid, or swimming are preferred.

The benefits of running

When done properly, running is a great fat burner. When running, it is easy to adjust the effectiveness of your workout by speeding up or slowing down. Also, this type of cardio normalizes the brain activity and increases the production of endorphins, helping in the treatment of depression.

Jogging outdoors is especially helpful. There are scientific studies suggesting that inhaling forest aromas gives the human body an analgesic effect. The reason lies in the fact that the leaves and trunks of fallen trees produce and release into the air molecules that have a relaxing effect on people.

Cardio training program

The main thing in a cardio training program is not at all its preparation but recording the results. You should record in your workout diary how many times per week you did cardio, how long each workout lasted, what your average heart rate was, and how you ended up feeling.

The best cardio workout program for weight loss and fat burning consists of 2-4 workouts per week. The duration of each is from 30 to 50 minutes, the average heart rate is not higher than 120-130 beats. If you have a daily calorie deficit of 300-400 cal, this cardio mode will make it easy to lose weight by 4-6 lb per month.

An example of a cardio training program:

  •     Monday: 20 minutes speed swim
  •     Tuesday: 20 minutes of leisurely running
  •     Wednesday: rest
  •     Thursday: 30 minutes technique swim
  •     Friday: 15 minutes interval run
  •     Saturday: rest
  •     Sunday: 40 minutes on an ellipsoid with a heart rate of 150-170 beats per minute

Cardio is a generic name for any type of physical activity that raises your heart rate. The benefits of cardio for weight loss lie not only in the burning calories, but also in the normalizing metabolic function. In addition, regular cardio is good for your health, especially for your cardiovascular system.

Cardio workouts that stimulate the work of the cardiovascular system are necessary both as a warm-up before power loads, and to stabilize the mechanisms of using sugar as a source of nutrition for the body. This is crucial for activating fat-burning processes.

cardio for weight loss

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