Is more cardio the answer to your fat loss problems?
“I think I just need to up my cardio.”
I’ve been hearing this a lot lately, usually in the context of someone who’s frustrated with their progress. Honestly, I cringe a little every time I hear someone say this.
As a personal trainer, who loves to be active and to sweat, I get it. Fitness feels more doable, more enjoyable than changing my nutrition habits. Plus, I know how to do it and I know how to teach it. This was my thought process for many years, but eventually, I could deny it no longer. Exercise alone wasn’t helping my people reach their fat loss goals.
In fact, increasing cardio often times increases hunger and cravings! So you eat more, then you feel like you need to exercise more and it becomes a rather unhealthy cycle.
That’s why I cringe every time I hear a client mention it. That’s why I’m writing this blog. Because I spent years on a literal (and metaphorical) hamster wheel and I know how frustrating it is to be putting in the work and not seeing the results.
So here it is friends: if you really want sustainable results, then you need to accept that it’s going to take a different kind of work. Work that starts with getting to know yourself a little better, recognizing your inner dialogue, and figuring out why you think and do the things you do. Work that starts with changing the way you think about yourself, about health, and about food and fitness.
Trust me, I spent years trying to just up my cardio or get myself on a strict eating plan. My body became addicted to adrenalin and cortisol from high intensity workouts six days a week, which sent my hormones into a tailspin, and I was either binging or depriving myself around food. It wasn’t until I stopped making fat loss and my looks my one and only priority that I was able to make real progress and find balance and joy in a healthy lifestyle.
So no, cardio alone will not help you lose fat. However, adding more movement into your daily life absolutely can have all kinds of positive effects that get the ball rolling into more positive changes.
So if cardio does this for you, then by all means, add some more cardio into your life! Do it for the way it makes you feel. Do it because your body is worth treating with kindness and respect.
CHANGE TAKES TIME. Pursue health and wellness in your body and mind and fat loss will eventually ensue.