So, it is no wonder that so many women out there think that cardio is the only way to lose fat! Especially when it is ingrained and preached in the fitness community. (Especially for those who have done bodybuilding competitions at some point in life- I hear ya girl. I have been there too!)
The thing is that after having kids, I realized the time restrictions that come with looking after my little people! So the thought of having to spend HOURS in the gym to have a physique I was happy with was not only crazy but impossible!
There had to be another way… and, this is exactly what I will be sharing with you today!
Cardio is short for cardiovascular exercises, which is a popular name for aerobic exercises. Aerobic exercises are exercises that use oxygen as fuel! These exercises are normally performed for a longer period. (Example: jogging, brisk walk, crosstrainer….)
Cardiovascular activities have great benefits for our health and wellbeing, it can help:
These are only a few benefits of cardiovascular activities!
Another benefit that I left out of this list above is THE ONE… FAT LOSS! We’re going to talk about it below!
As I said at the beginning of the blog, there is this popular belief that to lose body fat you just need to do more cardio….but, what if I told you that cardio is NOT your best tool when it comes to fat loss.
Before we move forward with this, we need to first understand how fat loss happens.
Fat loss happens when there is a calorie deficit, which means more calories are going out than calories going in, or also known as CICO: Calories in vs Calories Out.
As we all know, people are quick to jump on the results of a new study on weight loss and make bold claims about the results. I mean, we want all the tricks we can become & stay, thin, fit, whatever…right? But it’s important to study all the data available to get the real picture! If you don’t, you are setting yourself up to fail with all of these dieting “rules”! For instance, you “must” eat 3 big meals….and have 3 snacks…and you can’t even LOOK at carbs….no, wait, or is it fat you should stay away from? One of your snacks must be a kale smoothie….and so on. With all these bogus rules, it’s no wonder so many women just give up on trying to stay on track altogether!
So if frequent eating has not conclusively been proven to help weight loss, what should you do?
Focus on a gradual but steady reduction of calories, until you are eating less per day than you are burning. Including focusing on a set number of meals to help your weight loss journey.
According to the study meal consistency (meaning having the same number of meals consistently), is much more important for body composition than meal frequency. If we want to look at the itsy bitsy details past the calories-in vs calories-out, eating every few hours isn’t what we should be focusing on. So, ultimately pick a number of meals that suit your lifestyle & daily caloric needs and stick to it. Why?
Because a diet that works for YOU is one you are most likely to stick with! I promise it’s as simple as that!
One thing that is important to keep in mind is that if your goal is to gain muscle, it is recommended that you have at least 3 protein-rich meals a day. This is where AMPD Pro comes in handy to help you reach those numbers!
AMPD Pro is made from a unique combination of specialized proteins, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that work synergistically to support our body’s systems at the cellular level. While remaining completely plant based, AMPD Pro helps to fulfill the dietary needs that are missing from our whole foods.
We’re always on the search for that miracle cure or quick fix, but ladies I’m here to tell you that doesn’t happen. And yes some diets let you lose weight crazy fast, but since those diets are not sustainable plans, you will almost always gain that weight back(and more). I can’t tell you the best way to lose weight because that is an individual choice. As long as you are watching your calorie intake, you can eat 3 meals a day, 5 meals, or hey even 7 meals a day, you will see weight loss.
Whatever works for YOU and most importantly whatever is most sustainable for YOU!!
There are a couple of ways to create a calorie deficit:
One thing that is important to keep in mind is that your calorie deficit number is not a static nor one size fits all number. It can change over time or even from one day to the next.
Ultimately, if you are not losing weight, you are NOT in a calorie deficit.
First, you need to understand something called TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure)
To put it simply, total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is the amount of energy used by humans or animals through movement. It is needed to keep the body working healthfully. TDEE is not just a single measure, but is calculated as a sum of the following three forms of energy:
So, to lose body fat you need to make sure the amount of calories you are eating is less than your TDEE.
You are probably asking yourself:
”But, Nathalia… what do all these funny and technical names have to do with cardio?”
Well, we often see people relying on cardio ONLY for fat loss, before first having a hard look at their diets to see how much they are eating. This is a huge problem because according to studies most people tend to underestimate how much they eat by nearly 50%! The same is true for overestimating how many calories they burn when exercising.
This means that after eating 3 slices of pizza, to break even, you would have to run for nearly 3 hours to burn those calories.
I don’t like to use exercising as ”punishment” for what you have ”cheated” on your diet. So I am just using this as an example so you can see that the 1 hr you spend in the gym might not justify the 3 large pizzas and 5 chocolate bars you scoff on the weekend.
Of course cardio can be a great tool to increase energy expenditure (calories out)! However, the first priority should be to sort out your diet so you are not using cardio as ”punishment” for the food you have overindulged.
França-Pinto A, Mendes FAR, de Carvalho-Pinto RM, et alAerobic training decreases bronchial hyperresponsiveness and systemic inflammation in patients with moderate or severe asthma: a randomised controlled trialThorax Published Online First: 10 June 2015. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2014-206070
Yang, Z., Scott, C.A., Mao, C. et al. Resistance Exercise Versus Aerobic Exercise for Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Med 44, 487–499 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-013-0128-8
Loeffelholz, Christian, and Andreas Birkenfeld. “The Role Of Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis In Human Obesity”. Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov, 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279077/?report=printable. Accessed 18 Feb 2020.
Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov, 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5555889/pdf/PHY2-5-e13360.pdf.
Lichtman SW, et al. “Discrepancy Between Self-Reported And Actual Caloric Intake And Exercise In Obese Subjects. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov, 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1454084.