H.I.I.T. & Tone Workout #10: How Much Cardio is Needed to Lose Weight

You know that girl that is on that stair climber from the moment you walk into the gym and is still sweating away even after you’ve finished your workout, showered, talked and are heading out the door right? Or how about that guy that gets on the treadmill for 10 minutes and won’t do another minute of cardio because he doesn’t want to lose weight, I know him. I suppose it would be depend on their goals, whether or not what they are doing is effective. I’d venture to say that the first girl’s goal is not to be a version of “skinny fat.” It’s likely that she is looking to burn massive amounts of calories to lose weight. My guess is that the guy I mentioned above is not trying to keep his heart and lungs deconditioned, but is trying to keep his lean muscular structure. If that is the case for both of them, I’d recommend they change their cardio habits.

Losing weight should not be the only goal or the ultimate goal, but rather finding a healthy weight in a healthy lifestyle. ACSM (American College of Sports and Medicine)recommends that adults participate in at least 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity physical activity to prevent significant weight gain and reduce associated chronic disease risk factors. That being said, both of these two case scenerios would get health benefits by taking a 30 minute walk 5 times a week. The question would be if the guy would lose too much weight. Losing weight does not necessarily mean losing fat, but both are considerably affected by your nutrition (the specifics of that should be in a whole other blog post). Weight loss is correlated to a calorie deficit (the difference between how many calories you take in versus the amount of calories you use up or expend.) If the guy is weight lifting and doing moderate cardio, he would just need to make sure he is getting the right amount of nutrient dense calories to fuel his muscles for rebuild and repair and fuel his cardio efforts so that the energy he uses is not coming from protein in his muscles. He can build muscle, shed fat to become lean AND reap the benefits of cardiovascular exercise for overall health and wellness. In fact, a strong heart and lung capacity will allow him to lift harder and get stronger. He doesn’t have to shy away from cardio.

While the girl may want to lose weight on the scale, it’s likely she is more concerned with slimming down, toning up and decreasing size. If she does the same cardio exercise hour after hour, she is likely to make too much of a calorie deficit leading to use of protein from her muscles to fuel her. It’s also likely she will overtrain and produce the unwanted symptoms of this like extreme fatigue, flu-like symptoms or overuse injuries. While she would benefit from doing moderate cardio everyday, she does not need to stay on the Stairmaster for hours on end. In fact, throwing in a H.I.I.T. workout like the one posted below here and there and adding in a well-rounded strength training program would take her to her desired results much more effectively. She could do a strength training program 2x/week, moderate cardio for 30-45 minutes 3x/week, and a HIIT cardio workout 1-2x/week and would shed fat, drop pounds (if needed) and tone up. For best weight loss results, all exercise should be partnered with a healthy diet of whole foods in good portion.

Here is our last H.I.I.T. workout for April and a proposed calendar to implement 10 H.I.I.T. or Tabata workouts into a month’s training program. It’s didn’t have to be April, do it in May or June! Change what you are doing now and you’ll see change in your body later.

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