Why Cardio Sucks For Fat Loss

Want to lose Fat? Stop doing a bunch of cardio!

Are you someone who wants to "tone" and lose fat but spend your time running or doing a bunch of cardio and wondering why the fat is not coming off? Diet of course is important but also understand what you are telling your body when you do cardio all the time. 


Cardio is great for cardiovascular health.  It is great for improving your endurance.  But it is not going to build you muscle, aka the "toning" you desire.  When women want to "tone", what they really mean is they want to build muscle.  

Our body is a great machine that is good at any adaptation that we throw its way.  When you do a lot of cardio, you are sending an adaption signal to be good at endurance and you don't need a lot of muscle for endurance.  In fact, what happens is over time with excessive cardio, your body starts to store fat.  

Believe me, I was a marathon swimmer- I swam for 3-6 hours in the ocean or pool (5-6 days a week) and not lost a single pound - and my body composition looked the same.  My body had no reason to lose fat because as it adapted, it became more efficient to swim long distances which means it got easier and my body was not using much energy to do it.  

So what's the answer? RESISTANCE TRAINING.  When you do resistance training, you are now sending a whole different signal to your body to BUILD muscle.  

Why build muscle? It increase your resting metabolic rate! Even though side by side, an hour of cardio burns more calories than an hour of weight training, but every pound of muscle you gain you increase your resting metabolic rate by about 50 calories a day.  That's your body burning calories by doing nothing.  

For your cardiovascular health, keep your cardio to twice a week for 30 minute sessions.  Your daily movement can count towards your cardio.   Or a walk around the block with your dog.   But no need to spend 60 minutes on a treadmill each day.  Do resistance training 2-3 times a week is way more beneficial than a daily run (if your goal is to lose fat).  

As you build muscle and have a proper nutrition that goes with it, your body composition will change.  But the scale can go up or down depending on a variety of factors- sleep, diet, carbs (holds water), stress, and/or your workout.   You CAN LOSE WEIGHT AND NOT LOSE ANY BODY FAT!  You can also see an increase in scale when you start to build muscle as well.  That's why it's beneficial to work with a trainer who can help you monitor all these different aspects since the scale is very deceiving when you start doing resistance training.