Thursday, June 26, 2008

Extreme Cardio For Weight Loss

You don't have to do cardio for weight loss at all. None. Shocking, isn't it? We've been told so many times you have to cardio, aerobics, and cardio in the fat burn zone in order to burn fat. But the truth? You have to control your diet. How you burn calories for weight loss is less important.

The latest research from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, has shown that an 8-week cardio program (3 sessions per week of 40 minutes per session) did not result in any fat loss! On the other hand, the interval training group in the same study lost several pounds.

Traditional cardio is a waste of time. Inefficient, and possibly ineffective. You are much better focusing on your proper fat loss nutrition and strength and interval workouts.

And you certainly don't have to do extreme amounts of cardio. But some people end up taking their fat loss activities to extremes. Making unhealthy, ineffective, and excessive choices.

For example, one reader emailed me about the 7 hours of cardio she did per week. She wondered why she wasn't losing ANY fat. That is an extreme amount of slow and steady cardio. Something I would never advise for a fat loss program. And she still wanted to do more!

I told her absolutely not. If 7 hours per week does't work for you, why would more? With that mentality, you'll end up spending every single non-working waking minute doing cardio. What kind of life is that?

Another reader wrote in about the pitfalls of her excessively low calorie diet...

"I'm on the weight loss track again. I found I wasn't eating enough calories (1000 kcal/day). Filling up on veggies is good (and I love them), but they don't have the calories. Eating walnuts/almonds helped get me there. Eating 1500+ is where I need to stay to lose weight and keep my energy up. I've dropped about 3 pounds this week."

Inside most people, there is going to be the urge to do more, eat less, or obsess even further about food and exercise when you are trying to reach a fitness or fat loss goal.

But taking eating and working out to the extremes is more often counterproductive, and in the long-run, downright unhealthy.

And the unfortunate thing is that the reader that emailed me about her 7 hours of ineffective aerobic training, was skeptical of the strength and interval workouts, because she didn't think it contained enough cardio.

But really, how much could be enough for this woman? 7 hours wasn't getting her any results. What did she want? 10 hours?

We need to understand that cardio is not the be-all and end-all of fat loss programs. There are many ways to burn fat and calories, not just by spending 60 minutes on an elliptical machine.

All you need are 3 workouts per week of 45 minutes per session. Do 20 minutes of total body strength training followed by 20 minutes of interval training. Then spend the rest of your week staying active through fun activities and focusing on whole, natural foods for your fat loss nutrition. No more extreme cardio!

You have permission to publish this article in your web sites, ezines or electronic publication, as long as the piece is used in its entirety including the resource box, all hyperlinks (HTML clickable) and references and copyright info.

Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training for Fat Loss have helped thousands of men and women with weight loss and fat burning in less than 45 minutes three times per week. Turbulence Training for Fat Loss workouts help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment. Craig's bodyweight workouts for fat loss help you lose fat without any equipment at all.


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