If you’ve pedaled enough miles on your stationary bike to take you around the world twice, and devote several hours a day to running, chronic cardio might be making it harder to lose fat. Your body requires all types of exercise. If you’re focusing on just one form and doing it to excess, it can have a negative impact. Don’t sell your exercise bike just yet. There are ways you can use it effectively.
Doing only cardio won’t boost your metabolism.
When you’re only doing cardio, while you’re definitely burning extra calories, the body doesn’t discriminate where it gets them. Some calories burned are from fat tissue, while others are from lean muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the easier it is to lose weight. Muscle tissue requires more energy for maintenance than fat tissue does, so the more you have, the more calories you burn 24/7.
The longer you run, the less benefit you get.
It doesn’t matter what type of cardio you do, it all works the same. If you’re running, biking, or doing other cardio for longer than thirty minutes, your body starts burning muscle tissue. In the first thirty minutes, the body primarily burns glycogen stored in the muscles and liver. Keep your cardio workout moderate if you’re going to do cardio longer to keep it burning fat and muscle tissue. Even better, combine your cardio with strength training workouts. You’ll build muscle tissue as you burn calories.
Just doing one type of exercise creates problems.
Being efficient on the job is a great accomplishment. However, when your body becomes efficient, it’s harder to lose weight. The more the body does a specific type of movement, the more efficient it becomes at doing that movement. That means it burns fewer calories. That can cause plateauing. Doing the same type of chronic cardio can cause stress injuries from repetitive movements that put you on the sidelines, eliminating exercise completely.
- Even though chronic overexercising, no matter what type it is, can create havoc in your weight loss plans, it doesn’t mean you should stop exercising. Simply focus on varying your workout and avoid overexercising, especially if the workout is intense.
- Overdoing chronic intense cardio can cause stress on your body. Stress hormones include cortisol. Cortisol is linked to the accumulation of visceral fat—belly fat—which is the most difficult to lose.
- HIIT workouts, workouts that vary the intensity throughout, can include any type of exercise. Altering the intensity of a workout from high intensity to recovery and back to high intensity can burn even more calories. Use this technique with muscle-building workouts to combine cardio and strength training.
- Before you blame your cardio workout for sabotaging your weight loss efforts, check your diet. No matter how much you exercise, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. It’s the most important factor for weight loss.
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