If you’re looking at exercise choices thinking you want cardio for fat loss, let’s break that down.
In this episode I’ll share:
The myth came from …
- More calories burned during cardio than weight training
- The calories in calories out myth
Why the myth still exists
- Doctors still give the advice
- Trainers still give this advice
- The advice isn’t ALL wrong… but without this…
What We Really Want
What happens when logical mind shuts off and your emotional one takes over
- We get very used to thinking about ourselves the way we’ve always thought of ourselves, and we get very comfortable with a certain body of knowledge
What you really want when you head for more cardio
- The days when you had an hour to spend, reading a magazine, enjoying yourself, letting your mind wander, problems were smaller, we weren’t so connected (literally we went to the gym without our phones)
Where seeking more cardio for fat loss actually backfires on you…
- Muscle breakdown occurs due to lack of estrogen (it supports muscle and when it declines you’ve got to have some other stimulus to replace it)
- Cardio without the adequate hormone levels further breaks down muscle – in part due to the greater increase in cortisol
How cardio for fat loss especially of the endurance type (that zone 2-ish area) backfires
- Already tired? Already not sleeping? Already have inflammation? You’ll make it worse, much worse as you try to do more cardio > Zone 2 often becomes zone 3
Body composition changes occur negatively with loss of muscle that is more fat due to the loss of muscle, then causes even more fat because of slowed metabolism
Cardio for fat loss overall is not a girl’s best friend. At certain times it may be your nemesis in fact.
When it is appropriate, low-to-moderate activity especially for women in post menopause is an important needle mover. That’s not so blatantly true for women in perimenopause. For both however strength should be moving into your 1stposition after 40.
- High intensity interval training in small doses is also important, when the time is right.
The Problem with Moderate Exercise
“Moderate exercise” was a recommendation born in the late 80s. It’s in fact a problem more than a solution.
Imagine an equilateral triangle or pyramid. Divided into 5 zones of equal height. The bottom is largest and it’s your daily activities of life, even your yoga, your walk Truman around the block (okay, let’s be real, it’s so much more like pull Truman around the block)
Zone 2 is the second layer, zone 5 the peak of the pyramid and of course zone 3 is smack in the middle. You’ve got the picture. Make them each a difference color of the rainbow if you’re imagining this with me.
Zone 1 and 2 have purpose. Zone 4 and 5 have purpose. Zone 3 is what I can no benefits zone. It’s usually a lazy effort at an interval or it’s a drift.. a cardiac drift (not to be mistaken as a heart attack). Cardiac drift means you’re doing zone 2 and you go longer and get more tired, dehydrated then you will find your heart rate rising and you’re now in zone 3. But not because you’re consciously working harder… just because you’re not staying in the zone you wanted that workout to be in.
Every workout plan has workouts specifically designated at certain intensities.
Who Does Zone 3?
Zone 3 is never a place I’d put clients except for those who are going to do a ½ marathon for instance. And we purposefully keep them observing heart rate and drinking, eating, and slowing down in fact to complete workouts in a specific zone to accomplish the fitness level we want.
If you haven’t worked with a coach one-on-one who was focused on fitness level instead of weight loss you haven’t experienced this. Here’s the news: if you focus on fitness, you have more optimal body composition.
What You Focus on Grows
If you focus on weight loss you often have more frustration and more weight. Is some of it psychogical ? I think a lot of it is psychological. We get what we attract, what we focus on. If you focus on weight loss however, your mind/brain doesn’t grasp the negative. It only hears weight.
I’ve always preferred clients with goals, things they want to do, races, vacations, adventures… to those who want weight loss. Why? Because they’re most successful. So we create those kind of goals. We get them moving and outdoors. Doing things and dreaming about more things they want to do next.
Strength, Not Cardio for Fat Loss
Let me shift to strength momentarily.
Strength on the other hand does not have the negative impact on cortisol. You’re likely not going to lift for more than an hour. In fact the workouts like those in my STRONGER program are 30-40 minutes average and some are much shorter.
Quality, accepting that quality movement not quantity is most important is crucial to body composition change.
Lift weights, increase lean muscle tissue.
Increase lean muscle tissue, increase metabolism.
Increase metabolism increase energy expenditure around the clock.
That’s the long-term plan to fat loss that puts any plan of cardio for fat loss to shame.
I’d love to hear from you. Many of you have shared how you’ve shifted from cardio to weights, gained energy, and lost a few pounds while gaining lean muscle.
What’s your story?