Cardio plays a vital role in losing weight. I see it as an addition to weight training. For building lean muscle, weight training should be your main course and cardio should be your side dish. However, a lot of people go straight to cardio when they want to lose weight and neglect weight training.
Cardio can also be classed as something called NEAT, which means Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. This is your activity outside of your actual training. Your NEAT could be steps, gardening, cleaning the house and even fidgeting.
People obsess about going to the gym and ensure they train 3-4 times a week but if you’re only getting in 2000 steps through being in a sedentary job or sitting down when you get home, you’re going to struggle to see results in fat loss. NEAT can be more important than your training as it has a bigger impact on your daily energy output.
10,000 steps is the number you should be getting for fat loss. If you do this consistently, I promise the weight will start coming down immediately.
Walking is the best form of cardio because it isn’t taxing on the body, whereas running/HIIT is. Also a lot of you are going out running or doing HIIT classes because you don’t know what else to do and you actually don’t enjoy it, which of course will lead you to giving up on exercise. But now you know walking is just as efficient and you can do it all day with no problem.
How to get more Cardio/NEAT?
- Walk to work, go for morning walks, go for lunchtime walks, walk to the local shop rather than drive.
- Take the stairs, not the escalator/lift.
- Park further away from work/shops/gym.
- Get off the bus a stop earlier.
- Get a standing desk.
- Do more chores around the house.
- Walk on the treadmill either after your weights session or just do that on a separate day.
When starting out you should do your weight training session 3 times a week and then do an additional two sessions of cardio. In this cardio session, you will walk for an hour on a treadmill with a bit of an incline.
You should get a Fitbit/pedometer to track your steps and hold you accountable. Don’t use your phone to track your steps as they aren’t very accurate and you won’t have it with you all the time.
Improving your Cardio/NEAT is a fast track way to losing fat fast.