Cardio workouts, such as hitting the treadmill, exercise bike or elliptical, are a definite calorie burner and popular among women. Yet after sweating it out continuously for long hours, you barely seem to shed a pound – all of that effort and so little reward is enough to discourage any woman and lead into abandoning her exercise routine. Cardio exercises are beneficial to your health in many ways, such as reducing stress, improving metabolism, and giving you more energy. But the fact remains that cardio is not the fastest way to lose weight, and it’s certainly not the only way. Here are some of the biggest cardio myths you need to know to achieve better results from your workouts.
More cardio is the ticket to weight loss
Hours spent on gym machines make for one way to lose weight – after all, you’re trying to burn more calories than you take in. You may lose weight by doing only cardio, but unfortunately it’s the wrong kind of weight – muscle – that you’re losing. When you do cardio workouts, you expend calories while you’re exercising but, once you stop, your body’s metabolic rate quickly goes back to normal. For long-term fat loss, consider adding strength training between your cardio routines. Strength training builds muscle, and more muscle means an elevated metabolism and greater calorie burn, even when you’re sitting on the couch doing nothing or while you’re asleep!
Cardio comes first, then strength training
This myth has been around for some time, and it still persists. Your priority is to lose weight, so you should do cardio first, right? But if you jump on the treadmill for an intense cardio workout and plan to hit the dumbbells afterwards, you’ll have little left in your energy tank to make your strength training count. Either go to the weights zone first to do a few rounds of lifting before engaging in a cardio workout, or perform each on separate days. This way you can give both cardio and strength training your all, and burn more calories in the process.
Doing cardio on an empty stomach burns more fat
The theory goes that doing cardio on an empty stomach forces the body to use fat stores, rather than the food you have just consumed. In reality, however, this is far from being true. Studies have shown that skipping a pre-workout snack leads to the negative effect of muscle catabolism. Simply put, when you perform cardio workouts on an empty stomach, your body will turn to the fat fragments in your bloodstream and muscle stores for energy supply, not the fat in your fat cells. Other side effects include dizziness and low hydration, which could force you to end your workout session earlier than planned. The solution? Eat something light and easy to digest, such as a piece of fruit and a pot of yogurt, to help you perform workouts at a more intense level.
You can eat whatever you want if you do enough cardio
We all wish this popular cardio myth were true. But most of us overestimate the number of calories we burn during workouts. Conversely, we also tend to underestimate how many calories we eat during a typical day. If you pursue this false notion, you will end up spending so much time doing cardio that it could lead to overtraining and possible injury. To realize maximum weight loss, it is therefore just as important to maintain a healthy diet as it is to undertake cardio exercise on a regular basis too.
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