We’ve all probably been told at some point during our lives that the best way to lose weight, or to keep the weight off, is to run or jog. It seems that for a long time, people believed that cardio was the key to weight loss. Studies have been popping up over the past decade, however, that show that this isn’t necessarily true. While it’s true that cardio is an important part of any exercise or weight loss regime, it shouldn’t be the only thing you do during your workout, and shouldn’t be the focus of your workout.
First, it can be helpful to learn why cardio ISN’T the only thing you should be doing. Doing solely cardio can result in muscle loss. Your muscles boost metabolism, which aids in weight loss. So, simply put, doing only cardio lowers your ability to burn calories at a high rate.
The most effective way to incorporate cardio into your workout routine is to do interval training. This means that you spend a set amount of time doing cardio, and then you switch to weight training, and then back again. These transitions don’t necessarily need to be quick, but it keeps your body guessing and burning fat. Some people choose to do a quick cardio session to warm up their muscles(for example, ten minutes on the elliptical) and then do cardio again at the end of the session as a way to loosen their muscles before stretching(like doing 5 minutes on the treadmill or stair master).
Weight and Interval training
You want to keep your muscles in peak condition, which just isn’t something that will happen when you’re only doing cardio. You don’t have to do anything incredibly intense for your weight training; we’re not suggesting you go bench press 250 pounds if that’s not something you’re already doing. Try doing a lightly weighted squat, do simple dumbbell exercises, or experimenting with a weighted medicine ball.
If the idea of lifting weights scares you, one great way to get a mix of both cardio and strength training is to take a zumba or barre class. These types of classes incorporate cardio with strength training(usually with body weight or very low weights), which can help ease you into doing more strength training. Or you don’t even need to use them as a transition, they can be your main workout every day. You’ll get a complete workout with every class.