• Ciaran O’Connell

How much cardio should you do to lose weight?

Technically none.

There’s a common misconception that you MUST do cardio to lose weight. You have to be sweating buckets on a treadmill to burn fat. However, this is very wrong, and probably derived from looking at long distance runners and thinking ‘wow they’re thin, it must be all the running’.

The not so secret secret to lose weight is by eating less. You could do the same amount of activity you’re doing now, but eating less, and you’ll lose weight. This is called being in a calorie deficit.

In other words, eating less than your body is expending.

I’m not discouraging doing exercise however. Having exercise as part of your life will mean you’ll be able to consume more food, whilst still being in a calorie deficit.

But I want to get away from the fact everyone thinks it needs to be cardio. Weight training has been shown to burn even more calories than cardio. Additionally, weight training helps you build strength, tone your body, improve joint health, improve proprioception, and improve cardiac health.

I always make a point of asking my clients what exercises they do and don’t like. If they say they hate running, well then we’re not going to be doing any running. I want them to enjoy the exercise they do, so they adhere to it, and ultimately achieve their goal. Don’t do exercises you hate, there’s always others that’ll create the same effect.

So when I’m asked this question ‘how much cardio should I do to lose weight?’, my answer is ‘do you like doing cardio?’. If it’s a no, then the answer is ‘no cardio’.

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