Going Cardio? Beware of These Cardio Myths!

Knowledge is power right? If you have misinformation, however, the things you think you know may actually be dragging you down. For instance, if you are trying to lose fat but you learn strategies that are counterproductive, then you might be accidentally making yourself fat after all!

If you want your cardio routine to help you lose weight successfully, then you need to start by making sure that you aren’t believing any of the common cardio myths.

Correct your thinking about these cardio myths:

1. That Cardio Shouldn’t Wear You Out

While it is true that cardio is much less intense than, say, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), both forms of exercise should wear you out. After you perform your cardio routine, your muscles should be feeling the burn. If not, you need to amp up your level of activity or how long you exercise for.

Working out is about getting your heart rate up, getting your organs working, and stretching your muscles. When that happens, you walk away a little tired and some of your muscles are also a little sore. Your whole body should feel like you’ve been challenging yourself to reap the benefits of cardio exercise. That’s a good thing –and a necessary part of losing weight healthily.

2. Cardio Replaces Strength Training

Unfortunately, a popular myth that spreads through many weight loss and fitness circles is that strength training is less effective than cardio and should be replaced by it. This is simply not true. Cardio and strength training both help the body to shed fat, just in different ways.

3. Cardio Should be Separate From Strength Training

Some people mistakenly believe that just like strength training isn’t as effective for burning fat as strength training, the two types of exercise are so different that they should be performed very separately.

This is unnecessary and offers no real benefits. Although very different forms of exercise, strength training and cardio workouts both offer many benefits. One of the benefits of both is also weight loss. Use cardio for general pound-shedding and strength training for specific toning purposes.

4. You Have to Burn at Least X Number of Calories to Make Cardio Useful

Several different “magic numbers” float around, suggesting that you must burn at least 500, or 200, or 1000 calories before your cardio workout is really helpful you to lose weight. Those are just rumors.

In reality, you need to consume a certain number of calories per day and your body needs to burn off a certain number in order for you to perform regular daily activities –like walking. When you eat more than that required number of calories, you also need to burn off more to balance out. Likewise, if you exercise a lot, you need to consume more calories to support those activities.  

So forget magic numbers. Learn what your appropriate caloric intake and expenditure should be based off of your body type and lifestyle. Then, go from there with your cardio workout.

5. Cardio is Best on an Empty Stomach

Working out without eating is never a good idea. The myth that your cardio is most effective if you have an empty stomach presumes that if your body has to burn calories and there are none available, they will burn off excess fat.

While the body does start burning fat after using calories for energy, this doesn’t work well without the calories from having eaten recently. Stored fat isn’t as good a source of energy or as readily available as food you have just eaten. Your workout simply won’t be as good (and could be harmful) if you regularly exercise without eating.

6. Fat-Burning Zones are Necessary

Another set of magic (and irrelevant!) numbers that are mistaken for being important for cardio workouts are those within a “fat-burning zone.” This myth suggests that you must workout at a certain pace and for a certain time for your body to get into the “zone” of burning fat. Contrary to this myth, any exercise will burn calories. If you want the calories burned to be fat, then you need to eat appropriately.

7. Your Cardio Should Take a Long Time

Go for an hour long walk, people suggest, if you actually want to lose weight. Others say you must put in 45 minutes of cardio exercise before you start to burn off some fat. Both are true (and false) in a way.

Your cardio doesn’t have to take forever. Cardio workouts just use low-impact exercises to get your heart rate up. Once it’s up, you need to keep it at that elevated rate as you continue exercising. Doing so for 10 minutes will help you lose weight. An hour will, too.

Source: Fitness Republic

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