Last week I talked about what cardio is and the 2 main types of cardio most people incorporate into their fitness routine. Today I want to answer the question I get asked the most:
Should I do cardio?
Admittedly, I always chuckle just a bit at this question. I know, that’s not very nice. But when you ask the #anticardio queen, my answer is pretty obvious.
But before I get to the real answer to this question, let’s discuss the top reasons most people do cardio in the first place.
#1 Reason for Doing Cardio: WEIGHT LOSS
Think about it. When you make the decision to lose weight, what’s the first thing that comes to mind besides eating less?
You start hitting up the gym and spending hours on a treadmill, elliptical or worse, the stairmaster.
Or maybe you decide to start jogging because all the people jogging are stick figures for the most part, so obviously it works.
And don’t get me started on all the infomercial products.
Just once I would love to have someone say “I want to lose weight so I better start lifting.”
A girl can dream can’t she??
#2 Reason for Doing Cardio: EAT MORE
Girl, don’t deny it. I hear this all the time.
"I ate pizza Friday night, but no worries, I’ll just burn it off in the gym tomorrow."
Like nails on the chalkboard!
I cringe whenever I hear this. And apps like My Fitness Pal only encourage such behavior. If you enter your workout into this app, it will tell you that you have extra calories to consume.
Just stop it already.
Exercise should never be viewed as a punishment. The reason most look to cardio is because of calorie burn.
The average calorie burn is 400-600 calories per hour with steady state cardio. That’s really not that much. You could down 2-3x that amount in one meal out making cardio ineffective for “burning off” excess calories.
#3 Reason for Doing Cardio: COMPLETE A RACE (5K, ½ MARATHON, ETC)
I get it.
At some point, we have it on our bucket list to run a race. It’s usually because our runner friends convince us it’s the “thing” to do.
I’m convinced they’re not friends at all. Just saying. ;)
But I can’t fault you for wanting to complete a race. I had this same goal once too.
And I actually completed a half marathon once.
Walking counts as completing right? Still waiting on that runner’s high though.
Either way, when it comes to race prep, we think we need to do all the running prior to the race in order to be ready.
That’s actually flawed thinking and I’ll have more on that in the coming weeks.
And now we’re back to the question, should I do cardio?
My answer actually won’t help you much. HA!
Truly, adding cardio to your fitness plan depends on…
-whether you like doing it or not
-the stress factor (does it bring on stress or relieve stress)
Like I always say, you have to find what works for you.
My suggestion is to start with the least amount possible and go from there. Try different forms and types of cardio to see which one fits you the best.
Remember there is no perfect plan. There is only the plan you can stick with long term.
I am a wife, mom, grandma & former professional “diet and exercise hopper" who understands the challenges of being 40lb overweight after having children & the damage repeated sense of failure can cause to your confidence and self-esteem.