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When it comes to trimming down excess bodyweight cardio has some serious benefits. Regular cardio not only improves the cardiorespiratory system but also helps you reach your training goals by improving your work capacity.
I see too many people relying on regular cardio to get back in shape but cardio is still the least discussed topic at the gym.
While everyone is busy discussing proper deadlift or squat form, nobody seems to be interested in the right ways to implement cardio in their training.
In this article, we shed some light on common cardio mistakes that might be downgrading your progress at the gym.
Mistake 1# Doing Cardio At The Wrong Time
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Traditionally, people do cardio as the first thing they reach gym.
I understand that you have been using cardio to warm up and get the heart pumping but that's not the best strategy when you are training to lose size.
Primarily, human body has two fat-burning windows:
- First thing in the morning
- Just after weight training
Many pro athletes do their cardio in the fasted state to increase the utilization of stored fat to produce energy. You can also perform fasted cardio in the morning if you really want to crank up your fat burning.
If you can’t do cardio in the fasted state then you should be doing it just after the strength training.
Cardio after strength training has proven to show greater fat-burning benefits because of two reasons
- Stored glycogen has been utilized during strength training.
- Growth hormones are released after strength training. These hormones trigger accelerated fat burning.
Doing cardio before weight training negatively impacts your strength levels and growth hormones.
Too much cardio after strength training may have negative effects on your muscle mass. We recommend doing cardio for only 20 minutes after your strength training session.
Mistake 2# Training At The Same Intensity
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Training at the same intensity is a big mistake that many people are making. Daily same-intensity cardio is not just boring but also slows down the fat burning progress by adapting to the same intensity.
Switching between the training intensity not only improves the overall performance but also cranks up the fat burning.
There are two types of cardio intensity:
- Slow and steady state cardio
- High-intensity interval training
Slow and steady cardio is when you perform a particular exercise at low intensity so that you can sustain the workout for an extended period of time. Heart rate at a slow and steady pace is maintained at around 160 beats per minute.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) includes high-intensity workouts that are followed by quick rest periods. HIIT includes sprinting, box jumps, jump squats, boxing, kettlebell swings, burpees, plyometrics, etc.
HIIT workouts are proven the boost the metabolic rate and production of growth hormones that initiate fat burning.
If you have been doing slow jogging for 5 days a week then change your routine to 3 days of slow jogs and 2 days of HIIT.
Incorporating HIIT and Steady state cardio will help you gain lean muscle and improve overall body conditioning.
Mistake 3# Relying Too Much On Cardio
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Cardio is not just enough
When you are looking up to beach body physique then cardio alone is not enough, strength training plays a crucial role.
Strength training not only boosts the basal metabolic rate but also releases essential hormones that boost fat burning.
Weight training at least 3 days a week which can be divided into Push, Pull, and Legs workouts.
Why strength train? Strength training improves the fat-burning process and it also establishes a better-looking body structure which includes broad shoulders, stronger legs, and a leaner physique.
Additionally, strength training also improves joint strength.
Mistake 4 #Eating clean is not enough
Weight loss and weight gain work on a simple concept of total calories consumed and total calories burned.
Majority of the people totally unaware of the thermic effect of food.
The thermic effect of food is nothing but the number of calories your body burns in order to digest/metabolize the macronutrient.
According to a study:
- Fat provides 9 calories per gram, and its TEF is 0–3%.
- Carbohydrate provides 4 calories per gram, and their TEF is 5–10%.
- Protein provides 4 calories per gram, and its TEF is 20–30%.
That means protein not only helps you build muscle mass but also accelerates calorie burning.
Prioritize your protien intake to achieve a leaner physique.
Mistake 5 # Not working on the mindset
Inconsistency is the biggest hurdle between you and your weight loss goals.
You will find someone who has lost weight by walking alone or by fixing their diet, then what's stopping you from reaching your goals?
Simplify the process. Instead of relying on the gym that requires 30-minutes of commute, find something else to stay active.
Nobody said that you need to do the cardio at the gym only, go for an outdoor jog, hike, swim, ride a bicycle, play basketball or volleyball, surf, jump rope, etc.
I usually go for a very long hike at least once a week, it not only helps me burn tons of calories but also helps me spend time with my partner and stay close to nature.
Mistake 6# Demonizing supplements
Please stop demonizing supplements when you are finding it difficult to reach your goals with your daily diet.
According to a survey at least 75% of Americans take at least one dietary supplement on a daily basis. Supplements have many benefits and there is no bad in taking them if you cant have the nutrient through a whole food diet.
Let's discuss some of the benefits of supplements:
- They ensure that you get enough nutrients for fast recovery
- They make it easier to manage your body’s micronutrient requirements.
- They are easy to consume
- The efficiency of common supplements has been backed by tons of scientific research.
There is always a supplement that is designed for your body's goals. Whey protein, BCAA’s, Pre-workouts, MultiVitamins, ACV gummies, and Omega 3, are some of the names that will surely help you with reaching your fitness goals.