This is a topic that gets brought up when people start incorporating strength training for the first time. Yes, you should do cardio to a certain extent to burn calories. Running, swimming, elliptical, biking, whatever it may be to burn those extra calories. But the real question is, should you only do that? The answer is NO. Matter of fact, helllllllllllllll NO. And most fitness professional will unanimously agree with me. Just doing cardio wouldn’t allow you to get to your fitness goals. People come to us wanting to tone and get leaner. They tell us what they’re doing and majority of the time, all they do is cardio. “I’ve been doing the elliptical for one hour five times a week and still don’t lose weight.” Sound familiar? Well, I will say that maybe that’s allowed you not to gain weight, which is good. But changing your body isn’t that simple. You’re not lifting weights, just elevating your heart rate so you sweat. Don’t get me wrong, cardio does have its benefit, but JUST doing cardio wouldn’t allow people to achieve their ideal body. It’s missing something and that something is HUGE, it’s that thing called muscle.
One of the main reason people do cardio is because it’s easy. Let’s be honest, it’s a lot easier to hop on a elliptical and burn some calories, compared to designing your own workout and figuring out what muscle groups to target. If you’re new to working out, it’s going to be harder to go to a gym and workout mainly because your confidence in exercising is low. I already know your next move; hopping on a cardio machine and spending the next couple of minutes acting like you’re working out (I’m just being honest, most people don’t push themselves on cardio).
People don’t realize how many calories you need to burn in order to lose weight. It’s actually pretty daunting: 3500 calories. That’s one pound of fat. So if you want to lose 5-lbs, it’s 17,500 calories. Unless your name is Michael Phelps, it would take a looooooong time for regular folks like us to burn that. Also, we need to uhhmmm…….eat? It’s a lot of cardio work just to burn a pound of fat. If you tell me to do it just by cardio, I couldn’t. There’s only one time where I got on the elliptical and burned 700 calories and I said that’s it. And that was to prove a point to one of my clients that I was able to do it. However, I told her that I will never, NEVER do it again. Simply because I hate being on one machine for 30 minutes or longer. My ADD kicks in. I rather run 5 miles outside. That’s just my preference. Other people are different, they can go on those machines for hours.
The bad thing about JUST doing cardio is it’s easy for the body to plateau. This is mainly due to the fact of not adding variety. The machine you use is the same, intensity is the same, duration is the same, why would you expect the body to change, right? That’s the thing. For the body to change, you have to add variety and mix it up. Cannot be just one dimension, the body is too complex for that. So next time you hop on the elliptical, just don’t be a cardio bunny…………….Hope you enjoyed this week’s blog. Stay tuned for more next week -Kei