If cardiovascular benefits were all you could gain from doing cardio exercises, you would suddenly see emptier gyms around the nation. While it is great to know you can strengthen your heart and clean out your blood vessels by running on a treadmill, you would likely argue the main reason to do cardio is for weight loss. Few, if any people like exercising on those machines. This is not to say you should feel ashamed if you use cardio to lose weight. In fact, it is great if you do because it means you are exercising, never mind you are aiming for weight loss. First and foremost you should be physically active because that is the main way you are going to improve your health in the long-term. Weight loss is secondary.
But assuming you do like to do cardio, it may lead you to ask the following: is cardio the best way to lose fat? If you have not wondered about this before, it is time, because cardio is not without its downside. Cardio – whether it is running, cycling, or walking at a brisk pace, is efficient at burning calories. This much is clear. If you have not guessed it, however, no amount of cardio can overcome a poor diet.
As far as weight loss goes, you must be in a caloric deficit to ensure you make progress. Which means you could fail to lose weight despite running a couple of dozen kilometers a week. More cardio is not the answer. The issue many people encounter with cardio is they see it as a primary solution to their health problems. As beneficial as it can be, a physically active lifestyle must be complemented by a healthy diet.
So, is cardio the best way to lose fat? The short answer is no. A balanced diet with caloric limitations comes first. At the end of the day, cardio is merely a tool you can use to facilitate your efforts and boost your results. Moreover, there are some downsides to cardio you should be aware of. Intense cardio sessions can trigger an insatiable appetite, and this is not without reason. The body simply wants to recover the precious energy it exhausts during exercise.
With that said, knowing this allows you to make the most of a disadvantageous situation. If your willpower is strong enough, you can continue to eat sensibly following your workout to maintain a steady deficit for the rest of the day. It will not be easy, but it may be worthwhile for you.
Ultimately, it is a balance that proves to be ideal for most people. Moderate cardio a few times a week along with a healthy diet is a sure recipe for weight loss success.