It’s the prevailing myth that so many fitness enthusiasts still cling to: Cardio will help me lose weight. For nearly 12 years, we at Discover Strength have worked at combatting this misnomer. I don’t think we’ve been very effective. Not a day goes by where I don’t hear clients mention that they need to increase their cardio to really start improving their body composition. In full disclosure, I love cardio. In fact, I have a bias toward cardio. I run marathons and I do cardio religiously five days per week. I’m almost rooting for cardio to be effective for weight loss. However, I’m also aware of what the research continually tells us:
Cardio doesn’t do what we all think it does.
That is, cardio isn’t effective for weight or fat loss. If we survey all the people on a treadmill, elliptical machine, in a spin class, or in a kickboxing class, and we ask them, “What’s your objective?” 99% of the answers will be along the lines of, “To lose weight” or, “burn calories.” Stated otherwise, we’re all using cardio to help us lose weight; but cardio simply doesn’t help people lose weight. What is cardio good for? As the name implies, cardio is great for improving cardiovascular fitness and function and potentially mitigating cardiovascular disease risk factors. Cardio IS valuable, but not for the reasons most of us perform it.
For more on this topic, I encourage you to read:
Why you shouldn’t exercise to lose weight, explained with 60+ studies