So many people think that the cardio training make you lose fat.
But is that true? Firstly, I would like to talk about the benefits of cardio. It's very important for the health of our heart, lung and body in general, it increases the oxygen in our muscles and the mitochondria quantity in the cells so the cells become bigger and more efficient. But does it make you lose fat?
I will go straight to the point, and the answer is no.
Firstly because we should stop to think about an activity in order to lose weight, and secondly because we do not lose fat or weight when working out but when we are resting under certain conditions such as having a healthy lifestyle, improving sleep quality, increasing muscle volume.. We lose fat while sleeping for example by increasing the GH (Growth Hormone) level which has a strong lipolytic power and it helps with losing fat.
We also need to introduce a new concept: MHR (Maximal Heart Rate), that you can calculate with 220-age. To make a cardio workout efficient you need to work at a minimum of 65-70% of you MHR, but you will consume 50% of sugars and 50% of fat to have the right energy for your workout. If you workout at the 90% of your MHR you will use 5% of fat and 95% of sugar. While sleeping you consume 60% of fat and 40% of sugars. It means that when we workout we mainly use sugar.
And yet so many people still think that going for a walk make you lose fat instead of weight. This is something we need to focus on: if you lose weight you lose muscle mass and fat at the same time.
How much do I need to walk to burn tot calories? You can calculate it with the Arcelli formula:
(km x kg x 0,5). Doing maths, you can see you need to walk 20+ kms for 3 or 4 times a week to make my walking really important to burn enough calories to see a weight loss on the scale. This is the point the cons begin to be higher than the pros. Doing too much cardio has negative effects such losing muscle mass, increasing the oxidative stress in the body which can lead to increasing the cortisol (stress hormone) in the body and then increasing the overall stress which may increase the free radicals etc, etc etc.
To have the "summer body" you dream of you need to improve the quality of you muscle mass and decrease the body fat percentage. And even if you think you don't want muscles because you don't want to be too bulky I can assure you that to be "bulky" you need a nutrition, workout plan and supplements that work synergistically and you won't be bulky just going 3 times a week to the gym. A toned body is a body with a good muscle mass and a low quantity of body fat on top of it.
Cardio to lose weight is important but it has to be combined with weight training to have good results. 3 or 4 times a week should be enough for 30-40 minutes every session, but make sure you work at least at your 65-70% of you MHR to make the workout more efficient. Focus more on the quality rather than the quantity. To have even further results would be amazing if you could train with cardio and weights in two separate days of the week or at least in two different moments of the day.