Last Updated on by Eat Better Move More

Is Cardio A Waste of Time?

A pervasive saying is running around in the fitness communities. And the saying goes like this: cardio workout is the key to losing weight. If you are planning a weight loss program for yourself, you most likely heard of it. 

However, is there any truth to this basis? If so, how efficient is a cardio workout in the long run?

Is Cardio A Waste of Time

What Happens When You Focus on Cardio

When the subject of losing weight comes to attention, the first thought would be engaging themselves in cardio exercises. One would likely imagine subjecting himself to hours running on the treadmill or the outdoors. Understandably, this routine can get quite tedious quickly. 

At first glance, the long sessions of a cardio workout work wonders, and you start noticing that you lost some weight. However, at some point, you might notice that you have reached a dead end. 

No matter how much cardio you did throughout the week, the weighing scale doesn’t seem to budge at all. So one would typically increase the cardio workout sessions, and yet still, there is no improvement. When this happens, many would find themselves frustrated and would quit.

There are too many occurrences of people quitting and finding themselves back to their old weight. Here is the crux of the matter, do you want a lean body? A cardio workout is not enough.

Is Cardio Workout Useless Then?

Is Cardio A Waste of Time

We are not saying that a cardio workout is entirely useless. If you love a cardio workout, then good for you! Studies have shown that cardio workout improves your cardiovascular health.

It also improves your lung capacity, improves your mental health, and lowers the risk of heart diseases. No matter the age, your overall well-being will improve once you start doing cardio exercises.

If your main goal, however, is to lose weight, a cardio workout is not the most efficient way to go about it. “Why?” you might have wondered. For us to explain to you why cardio workout is not efficient for losing weight, let’s first understand how cardio exercises work.

A cardio workout, also known as aerobic exercise, is an exercise that involves repeating the rhythmic process from low to high-intensity activities for extended periods. The term “aerobic” means living, active, or occurring only in the presence of oxygen. This exercise increases the heart rate and the body’s use of oxygen. Examples of aerobic exercises are jogging, running, and cycling.

Aerobic or cardio exercise primarily involves the use of oxygen to meet the body’s energy requirements.

When you do a cardio workout, your body is trained to adapt and be more efficient in using oxygen and energy. The more efficient your body becomes, the less oxygen and energy your body will require. 

What is the main goal of a lot of people doing a cardio workout? It is, of course, to lose weight and have a leaner body. Specifically, we are talking about burning some fat and calories. The way a cardio workout works just does not seem to fit this goal. 

Although a cardio workout burns some fat and calories, its primary source of energy is oxygen. This is why people hit a roadblock at some point in their journey of losing weight and becoming leaner. 

If you really think about it, how many calories are burned in an hour of a cardio workout? Let’s use jogging as an example. In an hour of jogging, it is estimated that you lose somewhere around  300-400 calories in that session.

It may seem much, but it really isn’t. Your 300-400 calories loss is equivalent to not eating a slice of cake, and that is minuscule.

Not only cardio is inefficient in losing weight, but there are also downsides to consider. Too much cardio can also result in muscle loss and is prone to muscle injuries in the long run. Muscle loss will even inadvertently lead to fat gains.

This is because the less muscle mass you have, the fewer calories your body burns when at rest.

So what is the ideal and the most efficient way in your journey to losing weight and having a leaner body?

The Solution

The most efficient way to lose weight and have a leaner body is a combination of three things, namely diet, strength training, and cardio. Let’s tackle them one by one.

  • Diet: Most people commonly refer to having a diet to having less food to eat to lose weight. This practice is rarely sustainable, and you will only feel deprived and hungry. In the short run, you will lose some weight, but this is largely attributed to losing muscle mass rather than losing fat.

Once they find themselves that they have lost a significant amount of weight, they typically will once again go back to their old eating habits. However, this time, the wrong way of diet is practiced.

They find themselves replacing the muscles that they have lost with even more fat. This makes their effort not only unproductive, but it will also make it counterintuitive. 

The best thing to do instead is to change your eating habits. Pick quality food instead of processed foods. Aim to have a proper balance of protein, fat, and vegetables. 

  • Strength Training: When one hears the term strength training, they only imagine focusing their efforts on building some muscle and not lose fat. Despite the misconceptions, it is actually the opposite. Strength training helps you build muscles and lose fat and calories!

The logic in this is pretty simple. Your body’s composition slowly starts to change once you incorporate strength training in your workout. 

Strength training builds more muscles, which in turn boosts your body’s metabolism and burn more calories. Even when you are at rest, the body burns more calories, which makes losing weight even easier. 

Unlike doing cardio, even after your strength training, you continue to burn some calories throughout the rest of the day. This is why some people experience a burning sensation after a workout.

  • Cardio: Cardio may not be the be-all and end-all of losing weight, but it is still relevant. Cardio can improve your overall heart health and help you pace in your workouts.

Is Cardio a Waste of Time?

Cardio is a waste of time… if it is all you do to lose weight. It doesn’t work. It’s not effective. And you would only be wasting your time.

Instead, put your attention to proper diet, strength training, and then add the bit of cardio that will give you the lighter and leaner body you want.


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