Long Slow Cardio is Not the Answer for Fat Loss
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One of the biggest misconceptions out there about fat loss is the idea that doing long slow cardio is the best way to lose weight and burn fat. Well let me tell you right up front, long slow cardio is not the answer for fat loss. If you’ve tried long slow cardio as your primary method for losing weight in the past, then you’ve probably already experienced this fact but haven’t known what you should be doing instead. Let me tell you my personal experience and see if you can relate.
A few years ago one of Kim’s best friends from college was getting married on a beach in Mexico. The wedding was in February and I was determined to get myself into beach body shape before our arrival. If I was going to have my shirt off in front of all of Kim’s college girlfriends (and some of her ex-boyfriends) I was going to make sure I looked impressive. Simply not being overweight was not enough for this situation.
I started whipping my butt into shape the best way I knew how.
I was careful not to overeat and I went long-distance running. I was determined to burn as many calories as possible so that the weight would fall right off. This is the best way to lose weight, right? I ran four or five times a week, getting up early to get my workout in before I went to the office. Each workout was at least 45 Minutes, and I was sweating hard. My heart rate was up. I was going to look fantastic!
Then my knee started to hurt. It wasn’t that bad at first, but I kept on running and it just got worse and worse. Soon enough I wasn’t able to run at all. Determined not to let that stop me from doing cardio to lose weight I got on the elliptical machine. This machine prevents all of your weight from ever landing on your leg since your legs are always planted on oversized pedals. This solved my knee problem, but I didn’t burn calories as quickly on this machine so I had to up my workout time to an hour each day. Surely, all of this pain and hard work was going to pay off come beach time! This is how it’s done, right?
Well, no, actually.
I lost some weight. I went from 182 pounds to 175. That’s right, only 7 pounds in 12 weeks. Yes, I lost some of the bulge and roundness to my body, but it was far from what I needed to have happened to achieve the killer body I wanted. Not knowing any better at the time, I just assumed I should have started working out sooner. Surely, 12 weeks was not enough time for me to lose the necessary weight to be ripped. In only I had known the truth.
I worked my butt off for 12 weeks and only lost 7 pounds. I spent a minimum of 4 hours in the gym each week and barely inched closer to my goal weight of 165 pounds. Long, slow cardio was not the answer.
Now I know the truth.
A few years later, though I continued to do cardio regularly, I found myself back up to 182 pounds and really unhappy with the direction of my health and fitness. I was a few weeks shy of my 30th birthday and I decided it was time I got into the best shape of my life, but I wasn’t comfortable jumping back into long slow cardio workouts. They just weren’t as effective as I wanted them to be, not to mention that they were not fun. So, I decided to do a little research about the best way to lose weight and get in shape, and guess what I found. As it turns out, there are quite a few people who know that long, slow cardio is not the answer, but somehow this knowledge has yet to make it into the mainstream. By following the true path to fat loss I lost 22 pounds in the same 12 week period. That was 16 more pounds of fat loss than I was able to achieve with long slow cardio workouts! I was lighter at 30 than when I graduated from high school and in just as good physical condition. You see, the truth is out there and we want to help that truth come out. That is one of our biggest reasons for writing this blog.
If we told you that you could lose weight fast without having to spend four plus hours at an expensive gym every week doing boring cardio, you would probably ask yourself what new gimmick we were trying to sell you. Well, the truth is, we’re not selling you anything! We’re giving you the fat loss truth for free. That is what the Self Health Atlas is all about.
The reasons why long, slow cardio does not work:
- It takes a really long time to burn a significant number of calories so you have to spend hours upon hours exercising.
- It increases the presence of the stress hormone cortisol which actually attacks your muscles causing them to break down. Have you ever seen a marathon runner with large muscles? Cortisol is the reason why.
- It causes inflation throughout your body which can wreak havoc on your immune system. Ever notice that you get sick more often when constantly beating yourself up with cardio workouts?
- It makes your body crave carbohydrates, a.k.a., sugars, that when consumed increase your insulin levels and immediately stop your body from burning fat.
- It increases your likelihood of getting injured. No matter how expensive your shoes are, your joints are taking a beating.
- It is not fun or exciting.
The right way to burn fat fast
- Understand your calorie compass and ensure you reduce your average daily caloric intake to 500 calories below your BMR. (see Reading Your Calorie Compass)
- Reduce your carbohydrate consumption to less than 100 grams per day and ensure your primary source of carbs is vegetables. (see Fat Loss Nutrition Basics)
- Use intermittent fasting once or twice per week to activate fat burning hormones and ensure that you achieve a weekly caloric deficit. (see Fasting for Fat Loss)
- Do High Intensity Interval Training at least twice per week. (see HIIT It!)
- Do resistance training once or twice per week. (see Body Weight Circuits)
- Rest. This means getting your 8 hours of sleep and making sure there are a couple of days each week where you are not doing any intense or lengthy exercise. (see Rest Days)
- Do not obsess. Keep your workouts under an hour, unless it is a fun low-level aerobic activity like hiking. (see Taking the Scenic Route)
By following the above guidelines you will be begin melting fat off faster than you can say “long, slow cardio: getting you nowhere fast.” Trust us. We are not selling you anything, we’re simply telling you what works.
Wishing you the best of luck in achieving your fat loss goals! Let us know how we can help.
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