Cardio Isn’t The Only Answer

Image courtesy of lekkyjustdoit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of lekkyjustdoit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

No one actually likes being on the elliptical for an hour or driving to the gym just to walk on the treadmill all evening. But we do it because it makes us lose weight and get in shape, right? Eh,maybe not...

We live in a world where we think getting in shape equates solely to calories burned or minutes logged on a piece of cardio equipment, but the fact of the matter is, we’ve got it all wrong. And why do we have it all wrong? Because there are so many myths centered around the world of fitness, especially with regards to women, that we get confused.

Chances are, you probably believe some of these myths... and I’m here to set the record straight.

Myth: If I want to lose weight, I better get on that treadmill for long steady-state cardio.

Truth: Cardio is most definitely not the one and only way to weight loss – especially that boring steady-state cardio. Countless studies show that if you’re looking to shed the pounds, hitting the weights is your best bet. When you lift weights, your body is experiencing a hectic rush of breaking muscles down and subsequently rebuilding them. In doing so, your body is working on overdrive, burning tons of calories even after you’ve left the gym. Plus, lifting weights will build muscle while simultaneously burn fat – giving you a svelte, toned look – what you’ve been looking for.

So where does cardio come into play for weight loss? Ditch the boring, seemingly endless low-intensity cardio sessions for quick and effective high intensity bursts. All it takes is a mix of high and low intensity intervals – like sprinting for 30 seconds, walking for one minute, and repeat 10 times. You’ll burn more fat, challenge yourself, boost your metabolism both during and after, and get that heart rate up. Oh, and it’s much more fun!

Remember, that long, steady-state cardio will make you lose weight – but the wrong kind of weight. Just doing cardio day in and day out burns both fat and muscle.

Myth: If I want to get abs, I need to do cardio like crazy.

Truth: Let’s set the record straight. Your abdominals are muscles. Just like your biceps, quads, delts... muscles. And you know that to grow those muscles, you need to lift some weights, right? The same works for your abs – they need to be worked out. But that is not the only truth to this myth. The biggest truth is one you probably won’t want to read, but I’m sure you’ve heard it: Abs are made in the kitchen! The true way to make those abs pop out is to clean up your diet – no matter how much cardio you do.

Myth: If I lift weights, I’ll get bulky and look unfeminine.

Truth: Many women freak out at the idea of picking up the dumbbells, convinced they will instantly “bulk up”and strip them of their femininity. This, unfortunately, makes women steer clear of the weight room, despite how inaccurate these assumptions are. The truth is this: women have testosterone levels that are about 15 to 20 percent lower than those of men. And that means the female body just simply doesn’t have the testosterone levels to even allow them to get “bulky.”

Lifting weights result in stronger and denser muscles, burning of the fat that resides on top of your muscles, and that overall leaner look many women desire. There’s definitely nothing unfeminine about any of that.

Myth: I should do fasted cardio to get even better results.

Truth: This myth has been circulating in the fitness world for a while now. The idea is that without food in your system, your body will tap into stored fat and burn that instead during a cardio workout. Well, science doesn’t quite agree. Studies show that you’ll burn fat regardless of having food in your stomach or not, and other studies show that without food in your system, your body enters starvation mode and you may experience muscle LOSS. And if you’ve paid attention to anything written above, you know that building muscle is beneficial for your metabolism, weight loss/fat burning goals, and overall physique – so you definitely don’t want that. And then there’s the issue of having no energy for an optimal workout thanks to skipping a meal before hand. If you want to work out at the highest level, you need food to fuel those workouts! 

At the end of the day, perform the workouts that get you toward your goals, make you happy, and that you’re able to do. If you enjoy cardio, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it! But don’t discount the importance and benefits of strength training!