Is it possible to lose weight and keep it off without having to do endless cardio every single day?
In this post, I’m going to outline how you can quickly lose weight and be able to keep it off without killing yourself with cardio.
This does not mean that I am anti-cardio. That’s beside the point. I do my long cardio sessions every week without fail and I enjoy the experience a lot.
So cardio is a necessary component to successful weight loss and has a host of other good benefits such as better lung and heart health.
But when it comes to long term weight loss, cardio is not the best strategy to help you shed fat and stay lean.
It makes no sense to sit on that stationary bike or run for hours on end to trim excess fat and get lean.
Here’s what happens when you focus too much on cardio as your only way to lose weight or shed body fat.
- Initially, when you start doing cardio, you’ll quickly lose weight but after some time, your body adapts to the intensity of cardio that you’re doing and the weight loss stops.
- This means that to continue shedding fat, you’ll need to either work out longer or harder to achieve the same effect.
- Eventually, if you carry on doing the same thing for months, your body will stop responding despite your well-intentioned efforts.
- And this lack of progress will make you frustrated with yourself to the point where you might decide to give up on your quest to become lean.
- If you quit and abandon your cardio, you will regain all the weight you had lost plus some more in no time.
Continuing to punish yourself with gruelling cardio sessions without tangible results is very discouraging and is not the best use of your time.
But, there’s a far much better way to lose excess body fat and maintain a lean frame for long. This way involves three vital components that must be dialled in to achieve permanent results.
Step 1: Fix Your Diet.
How does your body respond to cardio?
Let’s say you love running, it won’t matter how many kilometres you run per week, if you’re eating more than what your body needs, and you haven’t cleaned up your diet, nothing is going to happen.
So fixing your diet is one of the most important things you can do to shed excess fat and weight. The easiest way to go about this is to figure out how much food you need to eat to maintain your current weight using an online Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).
After getting your TDEE which will be your starting point, subtract 500 calories from that number to get the number of calories you need for fat loss.
And since protein is crucial for fat loss, make sure you’re eating a high-protein diet to get to your goal faster. Eating more protein will keep you full longer while maintaining your calorie limit.
By following this simple tip, you will lose body fat and build the lean and strong body you’ve always wanted.
Step 2: Weight Training.
Weight training should form the foundation of all your fitness activities regardless of the goal you’re looking to achieve. If you’re not lifting weights at least 2 to 3 times a week, you will struggle to build muscle and get lean no matter the amount of cardio you do.
Lifting weights will help you gain more muscle, make you strong, and the muscle tissue will increase your metabolism helping you burn more calories even at rest.
You don’t need fancy equipment to get started with weight training.
You can start by using your own body doing some bodyweight squats, pull-ups and pushups at home. And if you do have access to the gym then that makes things easier because of the variety of equipment you can use for your workouts.
To get the maximum benefit from your gym sessions, strive to make sure that each session counts by giving it your best. Get to the gym, do a proper warmup to prime your body for the workout ahead, and then pick exercises that target all your big muscle groups.
Doing this two or three times a week will give you the most bang for your buck.
Step 3: Sleep and Recovery
Sleep and recovery are two important things that most people don’t even think about when they’re trying to shed fat and build lean muscles.
When you push your body every day by doing long cardio sessions, you create a lot of stress in the body because exercise is stressful. Your cortisol levels increase in line with the intensity or difficulty of your workouts.
And if you combine the stress from your everyday life with the stress from long cardio sessions, without getting enough sleep to rest and recover, you’ll keep your body in a state of fight or flight.
Your sympathetic nervous system will flood your body with adrenaline and noradrenaline and you’ll constantly feel like you’re on the edge with a very short fuse ready to explode.
Being in this state for long periods is bad for your health and body. You will struggle to shed fat, especially belly fat until you start taking your recovery seriously.
Remember, you can only make measurable progress in training by giving your body enough time to rest and recover. To get a lasting health and body transformation, you’ll need to balance these three things:
- Getting proper nutrition.
- Prioritizing weight training.
- Managing your stress levels by sleeping enough, getting enough rest and recovering fully from your workouts.
The easiest way to start taking your rest and recovery seriously is by alternating between your training recovery days. And on top of that, it’s important to have a strict sleep routine that you follow without wavering.
In all my years as a fitness coach, I’ve never met someone good at balancing these three components perfectly.
We are either good at one of these but not the rest, and this is okay because I believe we are all a work in progress.
So, what is it you struggle with the most? Is it your nutrition, your training or recovery?
Please share your comments and experiences below. I will do my best to respond to each one of them.
To watch a video version of this post CLICK HERE: Lose Weight Without Cardio