It’s undeniable that you need cardio to lose weight. That’s a given. What’s debatable is just how often you should do it, what activity you should choose, what intensity to train at and another thousand other factors that people in the fitness industry can’t seem to agree on.
In this article, you’ll be shown the basics, and at the end of the day, it’s the basics that matter. If you get your heart rate up for about 20 to 45 minutes depending on the workout you’re doing, you’re getting all the cardio you need.
Initially, when you’re starting off, you may do 5 to 6 steady state cardio sessions a week lasting about 45 to 60 minutes. As you lose weight and get fitter, you can reduce the duration of the workout and increase the intensity. Ultimately, you should be training at a high intensity twice or three times a week. That’s how you do it.
Now let’s look at 7 common mistakes so many people make with cardio
- Not varying your cardio
Your body is highly adaptable. If all you do is run every single time you’re doing cardio, your body will become much more efficient at handling the activity and you’ll not burn as many calories.
Try other activities like spinning, rowing, kickboxing, stair climbers, battle ropes, etc. Challenge your body constantly and it will be forced to cope and improve.
- Not including resistance training
Cardio is just one tool for weight loss. You can’t build a house with a screwdriver. In the same way you need other tools to fix your body. Resistance training is one of them.
Incorporate resistance training in your workouts. Initially, you can engage in about 15 minutes of resistance training followed by 45 minutes of steady state cardio. As you progress, you can do resistance training on days when you’re not doing cardio.
So, 2-3 days of resistance training and 2-3 days of cardio. Now you’ll start building the physique or a Greek god/goddess.
- Eating more than necessary
Cardio is not a license to eat more than necessary. Stick to your diet plan and be at a caloric deficit of 500 calories daily. NEVER EVER tell yourself that it’s ‘OK’ to indulge in a sudden food craving because of the cardio workout you just did.
That scoop of ice-cream that doesn’t seem like much could cancel out the entire 45-minutes you spent walking on the treadmill.
- Excessive cardio
Too much of anything is bad. If your cardio is just walking, you could do it twice a day. If it’s high impact and arduous, once a day will be enough and do remember to take a break between workouts.
Engaging in excessive cardio will tax your central nervous system and you’ll find it more difficult to lose weight. Give your body the rest it needs.
- Wrong activity
Choose activities that you like. Don’t choose a cardio activity that you detest just because you think it’ll help you lose more weight. Do what you enjoy and you’ll stick with the plan.
- Not having a plan
Speaking of plans, do ensure that you have one. You need to know where you’re going or you’ll not get there. Have a little journal to record down what you did and how you felt after the workout. This will show you what you’ve done so far, how you’re progressing and what else you need to do.
- Not aiming to progress
This is another mistake. Your goal should always be to beat your personal best. If it took you 20 minutes to walk a mile today, you should aim for 19 minutes the next. Always strive to improve. If you do not do that, your results will stagnate, and your weight loss will not come as fast as it should. You are your biggest competition.
Observe the 7 tips above and you’ll get the best out of your cardio. Persist until you succeed and push harder today if you want a different tomorrow.