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Is Cardio For Weight Loss Overrated?

Is cardio necessary if you want to lose weight? I think so, but don't take this overly-simplistic description as my reason. Get to reading my reasons why cardio is overrated for weight loss!

By: Ed Scow, NSCA-CPT: Certified Fitness & Nutrition Expert to the True Superheroes - Busy Moms & Dads and author of Fat Loss To Go

Every morning on my way to my training studio, I drive by a couple commercial gyms. They’recardio is overrated for weight loss pretty typical of most gyms in that they’ve got all the cardio machines lining their front windows.

There are countless rows of treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bikes, etc. and most of them have little flat screen television attached to them so the people can do cardio for hours and not miss any of their favorite shows.

I just shake my head in awe every time I drive by those gyms.


Partly because I find it strange that people line up facing the front window of a gym to run. I find that a bit odd, but that's just me.

But it's also because cardio is the most overrated aspect of weight loss.

Don’t get me wrong; cardio has some merit, especially when talking about general fitness and heart health. But as a means of weight loss it is very, very overrated.

I lost track at the number of people I’ve trained or consulted with who have been so frustrated because they spend upwards of an hour doing cardio every day and they’re stuck. They don’t lose any weight, and some even gain weight.lose weight without cardio

Don’t feel bad if you’re one of them because you’re not alone. You’ve had the "cardio for weight loss" mantra shoved into your skull for years and it’s largely a lie.

Let’s go over some of the reasons cardio for weight loss is overrated.

You know that "fat burning zone" that a lot of cardio machines have stuck to them? It’s that magical zone where your body starts to burn nothing but fat. At least that’s what you’ve been told over the years.

There’s no such thing as a magical "fat burning zone". Your body doesn’t magically flip a switch in this heart rate zone and start burning nothing but fat.

Progressing from the "fat burning zone" is the old mantra of "Do it for 20 minutes before you start burning fat." That’s just ridiculous because you’re always burning fat no matter if you’re sitting on your butt in front of the TV or running a marathon.cardio workouts to lose weight

Another old lie about cardio for weight loss is that more has to be better.

No it doesn’t. I don’t know why people have it in their heads that they have to workout for hours on end and punish themselves in order to lose fat. It’s just not the case. I don’t know if people have some sort of torture mindset or punishment mindset that if they screw up with their diet, or have weight to lose that they have to punish themselves with an hour on the treadmill, but it’s just not true.

Where’d this idea come from? I don’t know for sure, but it probably came out of the aerobics craze of the 80’s and thankfully it’s starting to die out.

The truth of the matter is that cardio is very overrated. You can, and will, get amazing results by decreasing your cardio, increasing the intensity and spending more time with resistance training (the way I teach it in my 10-minute workouts).

You’ll lose more fat; have more energy and free time. You’ll be stronger and leaner and just feel a hell of a lot better than if you spend all your exercise time doing cardio.

Give your joints a rest and stop doing so much cardio.  You're not a hamster, so take yourself off the spinning wheel, break free of the restraints and live!

Until next time...

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The preceding article was written by Ed Scow, aka "The Fit Dad". To learn more about Ed's story, click here.

To watch a sample 10-minute workout video, click here.

To discover Ed's 'Top Fat Fighting Foods', click here to read an interesting article.

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