Researchers1 in an Australian study, analyzed 58 overweight women and men over a 12-week cardiovascular program. Participants worked out five times per week with about 500 calories burned per session. Overall, the group lost an average of 7.3 pounds below the expected weight loss!
Worse, of the 58 participants 26 lost only 2 pounds in 12 weeks, despite sweating out for almost 60 hours.
Conclusion: the emphasis of cardiovascular exercise on weight loss should be reduced.
Don’t get me wrong. Everyone knows that cardiovascular exercises improve your health. It helps reduces stress, improves stamina, lowers blood cholesterol and blood pressure and more. Combined with a sensible, balanced diet, you’ll get even better results. However, researchers concluded, that (quote) “From a public health perspective, (cardiovascular) exercise should be encouraged and the emphasis on weight loss reduced.” (unquote). You can also use indoor spinning bikes for weight loss.
Personal trainers, magazines, and health clubs need to stop promoting “cardio” as the magic formula for weight loss – it isn’t. Do not give in to the cardiovascular trap. If you depend on the calorie burning counters on cardiovascular machines, you are falling for the biggest fraud in fat loss today.
Don’t think that you can just go “burn off a big meal” by running on a treadmill for an hour. You are better of not eating that second slice of pizza (average of 400 calories a slice) and focus on building your body’s metabolism with strength training. Rather than wearing your body down with repetitive cardiovascular exercises…just say NO to cardio!
Once you grasp and believe how hard it is to lose fat through cardiovascular exercise alone, then you’ll find the process to be quite simple. What you need is to plan your meals in advance, prepare for your strength training workouts (so you don’t just “hang around not knowing what to do next” at the gym), set up social support or a buddy system, and recognize solutions for all of the obstacles in your life.
The saying “diets don’t work” is a politically-correct subterfuge that allows people to escape diets in the first place. The truth is, diets DO work…its the people that don’t. Continue to look for the diet that will work for you. Don’t just give up. Remember that even when you find the right diet, it will take hard work and tenacity on your part.
Let’s look at another research2 study that shows the power of the diet. In this study, overweight women and men were placed on a 12-week low-calorie diet. They ended up losing over 36 pounds and 18 times more than the amount of weight lost by some of the participants in the cardiovascular study mentioned above. That just shows you that diet is superior to cardiovascular exercise for weight loss. However, there was a second part to the study.
The participants were split into two groups. For 12 months, one group of subjects went on a high-protein diet while the other group went on a high-carbohydrate diet. At the end of the 12-month study, both groups gained back 4 pounds!
That’s horrible news. But here’s my point: both groups accumulated the same amount of weight. Both “diets” helped people maintain a large portion of their original weight loss. But only 47% of the 180 subjects who began the study completed both phases. And that’s a lot of dropouts.
Conclusion: Don’t give up. Look for the diet that works for you-and stick to it Combine that with short well balanced workouts (combination strength training, cardiovascular and stretching) – not long, boring, repetitive cardiovascular exercises – and you’ll finally get the results you are entitled to.
1. Br J Sports Med. 2009 Sep 29. Beneficial effects of exercise: shifting the focus from body weight to other markers of health. King N, Hopkins M, Caudwell P, Stubbs J, Blundell J.
2. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Sep 30. One-year weight maintenance after significant weight loss in healthy overweight and obese subjects: does diet composition matter? Delbridge EA, Prendergast LA, Pritchard JE, Proietto J.