Misconceptions Concerning Cardio-the Worst Mistakes You Want to Avoid

by Dennis K
trainer motivating group cycling on stationary bikes

When it comes to any type of exercise, we want to be getting as much benefit as we can for the effort given. This is especially true for cardiovascular exercise, as it consists of many different variations. This includes common activities many of us do on a daily basis such as cycling, swimming, walking, hiking, and running.

Many of us do these exercises regularly, yet see little if any results at all. We know for a fact that cardio is effective in helping to lose weight, so why isn’t it working for us? Here are some of the most common mistakes people make in their cardio routine:

1-Fat Loss Is Dependent on Exercise Duration

fit guy doing push ups with dumbbellThis is one of the most common and biggest mistakes people make. Many of us will go to the gym, throw on some headphones and just go in to autopilot, working at the same intensity for the same duration day after day.

This technique is great is you are just looking to maintain your health, but it certainly won’t get you anywhere if you’re trying to lose weight. You are just wasting your time by doing so.

A better way to go about weight loss is to focus more so on intensity and variation than the duration of the exercise. You can get all of the cardio you need for the day with only a 30-45min time investment if you properly modify your routine.

If you are really pressed for time, you can even do a workout that uses weights where you can get both the benefits of cardiovascular exercise and light weight training simultaneously. Exercise science tells us that losing fat doesn’t require a huge time investment.

2-Doing Cardio Will Cause You to Lose Muscle

guys running on treadmill for cardioPutting on muscle mass at the gym not only takes a ton of effort, it takes time to do so. Natural muscle gains come really slowly, so we are even more concerned about not losing what we have. Keeping this muscle mass is all about getting the right amount of calories and protein to fuel them, which is cause for many to avoid cardio.

If you are trying to put on muscle mass, you are going to have to eat at a caloric surplus to do so. Inevitably along with the muscle comes some fat, so doing some cardio to burn it off will actually be beneficial here.

The key is all about moderation, and keeping a close eye on your calories in versus calories out. If you want to get rid of that extra fat without losing muscle you have to keep yourself at a slight caloric deficit, which means you shouldn’t be avoiding your cardio.

Being able to put on muscle while still losing fat is very difficult, but not impossible. As mentioned earlier, keep your calorie count slightly at a deficit and eat nutritious food to keep yourself satiated.

Focus mainly on nutritionally dense foods that are high in protein, and high in fiber. Turkey, chicken, beans, lentils, tuna fish and other similar foods are your best options.

3-Cardio Is the Only Way to Lose Fat

If this was true, we would see many more thin people walking around than we currently do. For some reason some of us still believe that cardio is the only way to lose fat, which is just not the case. This is the most evident at the gym where you see the same people putting in the time each and every day doing cardio, but just aren’t seeing results.

More often than not this has to do with our diet, which can not only slow, but completely halt our weight loss. This mainly has to do with people eating more calories than they think they are, and burning less during exercise.

The thing to keep in mind here is that your diet is going to outweigh your exercise when it comes to fat loss, as exercise can only burn through so many calories. In most cases this only amounts to 300-400 calories which isn’t even a meal for most of us.

Always keep in mind that doing your cardio for the day doesn’t give you a license to gorge yourself afterwards. Try to limit your consumption after workouts by eating foods with plenty of fiber which will fill you up without consuming too many calories in the process.

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