Skip to content
Weight Loss Made Practical » Exercise » Is Cardio Good For Weight Loss?

Is Cardio Good For Weight Loss?

Exercise can help speed up the weight loss process. The right kind of exercise even more. Is cardio good for weight loss or not?

Cardio is a more low intensity workout. Does this make it bad or extra good for weight loss?

Cardio explained

Cardio consists of exercises that do get your heart beating harder than at rest but still at a moderate intensity. In terms of tempo there is not much variation when you do cardio. You will more or less go at the same pace.

The way you categorize the intensity of exercise is by looking at your heartbeat. Looking at time per lap or minutes per mile is not the way to determine whether you are doing cardio or the more intense HIIT (high intensity interval training).

Let’s say you have a professional cardio athlete. His heart will probably only start beating at a cardio speed at a fairly high tempo for most people. If you would run at the same speed as him your heart may beat many times faster.

The point is you should focus more on your own heartbeat to see whether you are in the cardio zone.

To categorize the exercise you are doing as cardio your heart should be beating at about 55-80% of your maximum heart rate. A very general rule to get your maximum heart rate is doing 220 – {your age].

However, it depends a lot on other things like your activity levels, how much you weigh, genetic factors,…

cardio for weight loss explained

Are cardio workouts good for weight loss?

Some believe cardio is the best workout for weight loss, that there is a “optimal weight loss heart rate“. Due to the low intensity of cardio it may be true that you burn the most amount of fat compared to glucose during cardio. However, if you’re looking to lose weight you should focus more on total calories burned.

Cardio workouts are a good start for weight loss. If your body is not used to high intensity exercising you can use cardio to build up towards it.

However, if you’re looking for the most long-term weight loss for the least amount of time you would want to increase intensity and do HIIT.

The higher the intensity of your workout and the longer you do it the more calories you will burn.

Cardio vs weight training to lose weight

Even better than cardio and HIIT for weight loss is weight training.

Because of the increase in muscle mass you get from weight training you increase the amount of calories you burn throughout the day.

Sleeping, putting on your clothes heck even eating will all burn more calories the more muscle mass you have.

In total weight training will help you more with losing weight for the amount of time you put in.

But the thing about exercise is that you still have to do it. If you absolutely hate weight training, chances are you won’t keep doing it. So cardio might be the best choice for you, it’s just not the most time-efficient exercise.

You can also combine both weight lifting and cardio. Because of the extra muscle your cardio workouts will burn more calories than before. If you decide to mix them in the same workout you can do weight lifting first to make sure your gains are secure.

How long should you do cardio to burn fat

How often and how long you should do cardio depends on how much exercise your body is used to. If you’re not very physically active even two times a week might be too much.

The exact amount for you can probably vary from 1 to 7 or more times a week.

Best cardio workouts for weight loss

The kind of cardio workouts you do also matters for weight loss.

The best cardio workouts for weight loss at home are: swimming, jumping rope and cycling.

The best cardio workouts for weight loss at the gym are: the elliptical, the treadmill and the spin bike.

nv-author-image

Matt Claes

Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]