Is it the treadmill? The rowing machine? What type of cardio burns the most calories? Don’t forget that if you’re trying to gain size and strength, the less cardio the better. But you do need some for fat loss. How much cardio is another question that we’re going to answer here. Let’s jump right in.
First, let’s answer the question of how much cardio to do. You may know that in order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories (or energy) than you consume. So, you can either reduce how much you consume, or increase activity. The best method is, of course, to find the least amount of cardio you need to do, combined with how much you eat, for an appropriate fat loss rate.
There is no such thing. All cardio is good for fat loss. If you enjoy running outdoors or if you enjoy fitness classes, stick to whatever you enjoy. One isn’t better than the other. What’s important is for you to be consistent with your cardio routine. If you choose your favorite workout, you’re more likely to stick to it.
You should avoid cardio for a body part that you’ll be lifting. For instance, if you’ll be lower body strength training in the evening, you should do cardio that targets the upper body. Such as battle ropes. You can also lift in the day and do cardio at night so that performance stays at its peak.
There is a misconception that low intensity cardio keeps the heart rate in the optimal ‘fat burning zone.’ Scientifically, a higher percentage of fat is burned during low intensity exercise. But you could burn the same fat within 24 hours with high intensity cardio. Plus, high intensity cardio doesn’t negatively affect muscle size and strength gains, like low intensity cardio does.
At the same time, you have to consider the fact that high intensity cardio needs longer recovery periods. There is also a risk of injury. Our best advice is, do high intensity exercises, but with caution.
Many people do cardio on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, believing it will burn more fats. Research suggests the calories burned during cardio on an empty stomach or after eating is the same.
But in a period of 24 hours, there is no difference in the percentage of fats burned in fasted and fed-state cardio. You burn more fat as you run on an empty stomach. But you burn a similar amount of fat after cardio on a snack.
Plus, when you run on an empty stomach, your body burns amino acids and protein. Your muscles degrade faster, which is not good for those who are trying to build muscle while they lose fat. If you must run on an empty stomach, make sure to grab a protein shake afterwards.
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