No. You do not need cardio for weight loss.
Cardio nowadays seems to hold the number one spot on the way to lose weight and most people seem to only be doing it for that reason.
The thing is that cardio absolutely does help you to lose weight and fat, but at the same time you absolutely do not “need” it to lose weight and fat. There is only one way that makes us lose weight and there are many things that help just as much as cardio.
Why do I need cardio?
Cardio even though not necessary for weight loss, is going to be a great tool to help you with weight loss. The reason for that is that it burns calories, not because of its magical and mystical abilities.
Many activities are good for burning calories, including weight lifting that also causes post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). Meaning that you burn calories even after your workout is done.
But, if you do not want to work out to burn calories, just eat fewer calories. More on calories later.
The reason to do cardio:
- Heart Health
- Improved metabolism
- Better sleep
- More energy
- Improved mobility
- Great for mental Health
- Better cholesterol utilization
- Improved endurance
Cardio is going to be a significant ally to improve your cardiovascular and overall health. You need it for far more important reasons other than weight loss. It is also essential that you know how much cardio you need, too much of it can end up having adverse effects.
How do I lose weight?
You lose weight, by consuming fewer calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight.
That’s it, if that’s all you were looking for you may go now.
If you want to learn more about that and why is cardio actually important, then stick around.
Eating less = Calorie Deficit
Your body is a machine, whether you work out or not. As a machine, it requires fuel which in our case, is food.
The difference between our body and a machine is that our body is adapting constantly according to the information that it is receiving. That might be maintaining its current weight. Your body does not care about what you want, not at all. All that your body cares about is your survival.
So there are three things to note here:
- Maintenance Calories
- Calorie Deficit
- Calorie Surplus
Your maintenance calories, as I said above, is the number of calories your body requires to maintain its current weight. That is going to be the first and most important thing to know when you want to lose weight. How many calories you need.
Eating on a calorie deficit means eating fewer calories than your maintenance. That is why you need to know how many your maintenance calories are.
If your maintenance is at 2000 calories, a decrease between 250 and 500 calories max, is going to lead to weight loss. i.e. 1750 to 1500 kcal.
A consistent calorie deficit is the only weight your body loses weight, but do not overdo it. If you cut down too much and you do not supply your body with all the three macro-nutrients you need, you are going to drop the diet out of hunger and lack of energy. Do you know how to count calories and macro-nutrients?
Eating on a calorie surplus is the opposite. An increase of 500 calories from your maintenance calories will lead to moderate weight gain. You can be a bit more liberal here but remember that just because you eat more does not mean that you can get away with eating junk food all the time.
Cardio, Metabolism and Weight Loss
Think of a car and the way it consumes fuel. If your car has a tone of horsepower(muscle), it will require much more fuel(kcal) to travel the same distance a car with little power would. More horsepower, more fuel burned. That’s pretty much how your metabolism works.
Your muscle-mass is directly correlated to your metabolism because more muscle requires more energy, so more calories are being burned.
If you drive in a way that revs you car up, more fuel is being burned. Just like when you exercise you burn more calories.
So if your maintenance calories are 2000 and you eat 2000 but then you go on a run or for a workout and burn 500 calories, you end up on a calorie deficit and you lose weight.
Having said that, you can now begin to understand why weight lifting and increasing your muscle mass can be helpful for weight loss. When you lift weights, not only you burn as much or more calories as cardio, you also make your muscles and bones stronger.
And what did we say more muscle(horsepower) does?
Can you see why you don’t need cardio to lose weight? Can you also see how it can help you with that?
What is our goal here? And I don’t mean losing weight NOW and getting your abs to show. I mean THE goal.
The goal is to be healthy, strong and able to do all the things you want to do without even thinking if your body can handle it.
Age is just a number and it can be so if you take care of yourself. Do some strength training, go for a run and take care of your diet. Do you have absolutely no Idea how to do that? Awesome, lets learn together.