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May 17, 2016 4 min read

When people think about exercise, cardio is usually one of the first things that comes to mind. Whether it is running, jumping rope, or a spin class, we know cardio is a good thing. It can help reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, depression, and a whole bunch of unpleasant conditions. Cardio has earned a bit of a bum rap lately. It is full of health benefits and yet there is so much misinformation floating around that makes it hard to know what to believe! Let us help clear things up! It is time to cut through the noise and get the facts!

1. Cardio comes first

People seem to believe that you HAVE to do the cardio part of your workout before you do your weight/resistance training. While this isn't necessarily "wrong," doing your strength training first can boost the overall effectiveness of your workout, according  to certified fitness trainer, Jennifer Burke. Remember, weight training uses more energy than cardio so if you do it first, your body will be at peak energy levels for the most difficult part of your workout.

2. Cardio will speed up weight loss

No matter how hard you work, or how committed you are to your cardio workout, if your diet isn't right, you'll have next to no chance of losing weight. You cannot fill your body with junky calories and expect your exercise routine to make up the difference. Working out (this means cardio AND strength training) is an essential part of any weight loss plan but it cannot be the only part. If cleaning up your diet is where you struggle, we can help. The BodyRock Meal Plan is a 30-day healthy, eating guide that removes all the guess work. We provide you with a weekly grocery list so all you have to do is buy the ingredients and follow along. The recipes are delicious, nutritious, and easy to prepare. Have a look at the Meal Plan here!

3. Intensity doesn't matter

The intensity of your cardio workouts are incredibly important. If you want to burn a large number of calories, you'll have to exert more energy. High intensity cardio is categorized by reaching a maximum heart rate (mhr) of 75-85%, moderate intensity has an mhr of 60-70% and low intensity is an mhr of 50-55%. It is very important that you work according to your fitness levels and don't over exert yourself. Build slowly to your maximum heart rate. To determine your target heart rate, head here.

4. Your target burn should be 500 calories

It has been suggested that for a workout to be effective, you need to burn 500 calories. But, the truth is, everyone burns calories at a different rate. This difference in metabolic rate is due to body composition/size, age, and gender. People who are overweight, or those with lots of muscle mass, tend to burn more calories than thinner people, for example. Men usually burn more calories than women because they often have less body fat and more muscle. As we get older, muscle tends to diminish while fat stores increase. All of these factors will impact the number of calories you "should" burn during a workout. Unless you are training toward some very specific body or athletic goal, don't worry so much about the numbers. Just get your body moving and go from there. For over 80 hours of on demand workouts, check out Sweatflix℠! Get all of your favorite BodyRock workouts in one place, any time you want! With new and exclusive content being added all the time, you'll never be left scratching your head, wondering what to do next! [bctt tweet="7 Myths About Cardio You Need To Stop Believing"]

5. Don't eat before cardio

You need energy to workout. You get your energy from food. Experts agree that eating 90 minutes before your workout is the key to maximizing your performance. Just make sure that whatever you eat is easy to digest. Eating an hour or two before your workout gives your body the energy it needs to power through the work ahead. But don't forget hydration. When you are having your snack, make sure you are also having two, eight ounce, glasses of water.

6. High intensity cardio is only for athletes

High intensity cardio works for everyone. Even if you are a recently converted couch potato, an intense cardio session will work for you the same way it works for a top-tier athlete. This is because intensity is based upon what your body considers to be intense. If you are working out to an mhr of 85%, you will be getting an intense workout, no matter your starting fitness level.

7. Cardio can't be abused

It is possible to become addicted to cardio. There are people who never take rest days and they may end up with joint pain or strain from overuse. As with most things, moderation is the key. Rest days are every bit as important as your workouts. If you don't give your muscles and joints time to repair and recover, you'll never get the results you seek, and worse yet, you'll be at risk for serious injury. Do yourself a favor and use your rest days for rest! Are you guilty of believing any of these myths? Source: Fitness Republic

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