The other day one of my clients asked me, “Andrea, I’ve read strength training, and the recovery time after strength training, is what really makes you lose the weight. So why do you have me doing cardio too?”
I told her that was a great question! “We’re not doing cardio for fat. We’re doing cardio for health and strength.”
You’ve been brainwashed!
Look, body shape is a superficial thing. We all want to look great and feel great, but if you’re skinny and unhealthy you really haven’t gained anything. You’ll still suffer from low energy. You’ll still deal with numerous health problems.
Achieving a body that helps you live the life you want to live goes way beneath the surface of the skin. It is about more than a number on a scale. It’s about the strength of your heart and the efficiency of your lungs. The work your liver and kidneys are doing.
Cardio is the key to reducing your risk for numerous medical problems.
If you want to stay well and avoid exorbitant health costs, cardio is where it’s at.
Did you know failing to indulge in a regular program of cardiovascular exercise is the equivalent to smoking a pack and a half of cigarettes a day? And 30% of Americans spend all their time sitting.
Meanwhile, strength training for fat loss, cardio for health, and “chemical free” nutrition can change your life for the better. Which is why I encourage all my students to just grab their sneakers and get moving in some way every day.
Remember, you don’t have to go fast. You just have to go!
Cardio still burns calories!
And burning calories still helps you move fat. It’s not that you don’t get any fat burning benefits from cardio, it’s that you get more of them from strength.
Cardio also improves your metabolism, which means you make the most of every exercise you do. It produces energy, uses it and gives off heat to breakdown carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Other Health Benefits
Cardio strengthens your heart muscle, improving circulation, lowering your resting heart rate, and reducing your blood pressure. A strong, conditioned heart beats more slowly because it pumps more blood with every stroke. This reduces strain on the heart and the blood vessels.
Lower cholesterol. Lower blood pressure. Improved blood sugar. Improved sleep. The benefits are endless.
Meanwhile, it’s also busy improving your lung function. Exercising the muscles surrounding the lungs increases their strength and efficiency. That gives them the power to extract more oxygen from each breath. Conditioned lungs have the ability to inhale more air, sustain the process longer, and exhale more carbon dioxide. And if you want to burn fat, this matters! When you burn fat it mostly converts to CO2. That’s right, fat mostly leaves the body through your breath, making your lungs the primary excretory organ for fat.
Remember, our ancestors didn’t discriminate.
They ran, they walked, they lifted. Their daily lives demanded that kind of work from them every day. That’s the life our body was designed for.
Don’t get so caught up in trying to over-optimize your weight loss that you forget to give the body everything it needs and wants. It’s all important!