Mintfit Blog

Why Cardio Alone is Not Enough for Weight Loss


Cardio exercise is an important piece of the weight loss puzzle, but it's still only a piece. In recent years, however, more and more people have become convinced that you can only lose weight through cardio exercise.

You'll often hear people throwing around ideas like "get on the treadmill," when offering up weight loss advice.

But here's the truth:

You could run all day and still undo all of your weight loss efforts by overeating. Furthermore, if you launch into cardio without proper strength training, you really risk injuring yourself.

That's certainly not going to help with your weight loss!

So, what are you supposed to do? Those at the beginning of their fitness journeys, or those who are frustrated with the results they are currently seeing, might be tempted to take up 5K training or buy an elliptical, but that's not going to be your best approach.

There is a better way, and that's what we’re explaining in this week's blog.

And, if you want more information on how to put together a complete workout program for fat loss, download our Ultimate Fat Loss Workout and learn the exact steps you need to take to start getting results.

Myth: You Can Lose Weight by Just Doing More Cardio

Again, cardio is a really important part of a healthy lifestyle. It's very good for your heart and has proven long-term benefits. However, it is not a magic weight loss pill.

Depending on intensity, an hour of cardio could burn anywhere from 200 to 600 calories. That's definitely not bad, but there's a way to get better results out of your hard work.

Truth: Cardio Combined with Strength Training Is a Better Solution

You should have a good mix of cardio and strength training days throughout your workout calendar. They are two sides of the same coin, and working on one will help improve your performance with the other.

Combining the two will help turn your body into a more efficient fat burning machine. After a good strength training session, your body will need to repair and build up muscle fiber. This requires your body to burn calories and fat long after your workout has finished.

Myth: You Are Less Likely to Get Injured Doing Cardio

One of the reasons cardio is so attractive to so many people is because it seems easy. If you have a pair of sneakers and a front door, you essentially have everything you need to start running.

The problem is, if you begin a vigorous cardio routine without first building up the required muscle strength, you risk injuring yourself.

Truth: Strength Training Helps Prevent Injury

By building up muscle strength, you are not only increasing your power and endurance, you are also protecting your joints, and preparing your body for longer stints of cardio exercise.

Remember: train to run, don't run to train. Starting a new running routine without first builting strength puts your knees, ankles, and hips at risk for injury.

Myth: Vigorous Cardio is What Burns the Most Fat

Again, getting your heart rate up is a very healthy thing to do. It helps create a stronger cardiovascular system, leaving you less vulnerable to issues like heart disease.

It can also help increase your lung capacity over time, as well as build up your endurance for longer and more effective exercise sessions. While it's true that cardio will burn calories and fat, it is not the most efficient fat burning approach.

Truth: Muscle Mass Aids Fat Loss

When talking about muscle versus fat, you have to think in terms of overall body composition. Building up lean muscle requires a lot of energy and burns a lot of calories.

For your body to maintain increased mass, it has to slowly begin changing the muscle to fat ratio in your body. In short, strength training burns more fat than cardio does.

This has been proven in many studies, which is why experts always recommend strength training to young and old, male and female, beginners and experts. It is good for you no matter what.

This is exactly why each of our personal trainers right here in Los Gatos is committed to developing an appropriate mix of cardio and strength training for every one of our clients.

When you work out with us, you will be getting a safe yet challenging routine which will help build strength and endurance, and slowly re-sculpt your body composition by decreasing fat and increasing muscle.

And if you want more information on how to put together a complete workout program that burns fat and builds lean muscle, I encourage you to download our Ultimate Fat Loss Workout. This will include:

  • Why strength training is CRITICAL for fat loss
  • Our "Complementary SuperSet" model of training
  • Specific workout recommendations for every level
  • Videos showing you correct form and tempo

Have a question? Please post your questions on our Facebook Page.

Mint Condition Fitness is the leading personal training studio in Los Gatos for successful men and women to become the best versions of themselves.