If you’ve been doing a ton of cardio but you’re not losing any weight or if your planning to start incorporating a lot more cardio to lose some extra body fat you’re definitely going to want to first watch this video.
Because even though cardio can be very beneficial if done correctly most of the people that you see at the gym spending countless hours on the treadmill, elliptical, and stairclimber are doing it completely wrong. And many of them look the same week after week and month after month because without even knowing if they’re setting themselves back further rather than making progress with their weight and especially their body composition. So today I want to go over the biggest cardio mistakes that cause you to waste your time and can even make you fatter rather than leaner. After I go over the 5 mistakes I’ll give you the 5 best ways to actually incorporate cardio into your routine the right way to stick with me through his video.
Let’s start with by far the biggest cardio mistake…believing that more cardio equals more fat loss. I know it might sound unbelievable that too much cardio can hurt your weight loss efforts more than it can help you, but I assure you this is true. So how does too much cardio lead to less and less fat loss? Well first of all due to the low-intensity high volume nature of steady state cardio our bodies will perceive long duration steady state cardio as a prolonged stressor. If you do too much cardio it causes your body to release hormones that are bad for fat loss like cortisol which can make your body store more fat instead of burning it. As you increase the time you spend doing cardio per week closer and closer to that of an endurance athlete studies show that cortisol levels rise significantly.
Now people that are big supporters of prolonged cardio sessions counter this by saying that overtraining with any kind of exercise can lead to higher levels of cortisol. And this is true, but we see these elevated levels in endurance athletes much more than in strength athletes. When cortisol is elevated your cells become resistant to insulin, you experience more inflammation throughout your body, and you’ll also feel hungrier because of the effect that cortisol has on your hunger-regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin. A change in your appetite will likely negatively affect your body fat percentage much more than your cardio sessions will positively affect it.
By doing too much cardio you will find yourself hungrier not only directly after your cardio sessions but also long after you’re done. And unfortunately unlike weight training cardio does not continue burning calories hours after you’re done. If you overdo it and that causes you to become really hungry not only can you eat so much that you negate the calories burnt from your workout, but you can even eat more calories than you ever lost from your workout, to begin with causing you to store body fat. Another hormone that could become an issue for people that run really long distances is testosterone. Extreme endurance workouts over a long period of time have been shown to lower the production of testosterone. Another thing to consider is that as you do more and more cardio your body will adapt more and more. Your muscles, lungs, and heart will all become more efficient at handling the cardio workout and you’ll burn less and fewer calories from the same workout. As you do more cardio, your cardio workouts start to abide by the law of diminishing returns. This is one of the reasons why people usually overestimate the number of calories they burn from their cardio workouts.
Now, most people that do cardio will notice that they’re seeing smaller and smaller changes to their body from their cardio sessions, so their solution is to incorporate more cardio.
Check out my client Pete C.’s transformation where he lost a whole bunch of fat.