How much time do you spend on the treadmill, elliptical machine, or bicycle? Could you be spending too much time?
Before we start, let me preface this by saying that I absolutely love to run! I love the feeling of running down the open road, or even on a treadmill. It’s just wonderful to feel the wind in my hair, and the “runner’s high” is totally addictive!
But, that being said, perhaps you’re spending a bit too much time running, cycling, spinning, dancing, or working it on the elliptical machine. What do all of these things have in common? They’re all forms of cardio.
The Cardio Mistake
We all know that cardio is king when it comes to burning fat and losing weight, right? Every trainer worth their salt will have you spend at least 20 to 30 minutes doing cardio every day, or 15 minutes doing HIIT sprints. Cardio is a huge part of weight loss.
Unfortunately for you all out there, it’s not the ONLY part of weight loss!
Women particularly spend a lot of time doing cardio, as they want to avoid packing on the pounds of muscle and looking like this chick…
Let me tell you that you’re 100% right not wanting to look like her – you probably want to look like this:
Kudos to Melissa!
But – and this is a big BUT – cardio alone won’t make you look like the beauty above, but instead you’ll look a bit more like this:
Not fat, but none of that defined shape that you’re working towards.
Why is that?
If you only do cardio, your body won’t be able to use up the glucose (energy) is has stored in your muscles. That energy will remain in the muscles, and will add to the fat cells accumulated in the interstitial spaces around the muscles.
While cardio will burn a lot of fat from around your body, it will burn it from all around your body – including your breasts, butt, thighs, stomach, back, calves, arms, and waist. You’ll lose fat, but it will be general fat – not just the fat around your muscles. That’s the stuff you want to get rid of, to give you that sleek, slim look.
To add to the problem, if you’re on a low-calorie diet, you’ll force your body to cannibalize your muscle tissue to produce energy. Your body hangs onto fat if you’re not getting enough food to match your energy output, and it will treat those muscles as expendable because they’re not being used. The end result, you’ll look a bit something like this:
This is because your leg muscles were the only ones being engaged, and your upper body was neglected in your runs.
How to Have a Beautiful Body
Running alone is a waste of time, but running and adding your daily muscle-sculpting exercises into the mix will be your key to both weight and fat loss.
Training your muscles uses up all the glucose already stored in your muscles, liver, and bloodstream, forcing your body to tap into fat stores. This is why it’s always recommended to start your workout with some lifting and weight training, and then finishing it off with a good cardio session.
What should the perfect workout look like?
– 5 minutes of warm up (think light cardio just to get your body warm)
– 20 to 25 minutes of weight training (train just a few muscles each day, or do your HIIT workout for the day)
– 5 to 10 minutes of stretching (get those muscles loose to prevent soreness and injury)
– 20 to 25 minutes of cardio (running, cycling, elliptical machine, etc.)
– 5 minutes of cooldown (light cardio, walking, stretching).
You’ll walk away from this 60-minute workout drenched in sweat!
Why Mix Running with Weights
Here’s a nifty secret you may not have known: Adding weight training keeps your metabolism running for hours after you’re done!
That’s right, you’ll keep your metabolism firing for hours. Aerobic exercise only works for as long as you are doing it, but anaerobic (muscle-building) exercise keeps burning fat and calories for a whole lot longer.
You’re not wasting all of your time running, but you should definitely trim down your running to a healthy amount!
Find out in my next post how you SHOULD BE running to lose weight…