Does Cardio Burn Fat? Interesting Guide
You want to lose weight and are confused about whether cardio burns fat. You can lose weight without cardio, but it is the fastest way of losing weight and toning the body.
The following is a comprehensive guide on how cardio burns fat, the best cardio for weight loss, the week plan, and general recommendations.
Let us start!
How does cardio burn fat?
Cardio is a short form of cardiovascular disease, and it is also known as aerobic exercise. Cardio increases the heart rate, and due to this, there is a greater flow of nutrient-rich blood to different parts of the body, giving movement to large parts of the body like the torso and legs.
You burn many calories during cardio, and it is the leading reason that cardio burns fat. However, the number of calories you should burn to lose 1 pound depends on your body’s metabolism.
But it would help if you spent more calories than you consumed, as you can’t lose weight and fat until your body is fat deficient.
Generally, it has been seen that by burning 3500 calories, you lose 1 pound of fat in a week. However, it may seem to you that cardio is not an excellent option to lose fat.
Cardio burns calories only when you move. However, strength can help your body keep burning calories throughout the day and night.
The best way to shed weight is to do cardio with strength, take fewer calories, and eat healthily. Does cardio burn fat? Is it still a mystery to you?
Metabolism and calorie balance
Our body needs energy continuously for a heartbeat, respiration, and recycling of damaged cells. The body does all these processes automatically, and it is known as basal metabolic rate (BMR).
It is defined by different factors such as weight, age, height, muscle mass, and sex. Similarly, it depends on hidden factors such as gut bacteria, genetics, and hormones.
Above all is activity burn, and cardio and other drills also play a leading role? It is the energy you need to digest food and absorb it in the different parts of your body.
It also includes calories you need to do cardio and other life activities, and physical calorie burnout depends on the type of workout, intensity, and duration.
Do intensive, frequent, and regular workouts to burn fat.
Cardio for calorie burn
Cardio is the best option for burning calories if you do it at a high speed. According to a Harvard study, running can burn as many as 539 calories in 30 minutes when you run at 8.6 miles per hour.
Running also controls hunger hormones better than walking, and you burn more calories when you run than when you walk.
Factors that define how fast you will lose fat
The following are the factors that define the number of calories you will burn and how early you lose weight.
Aged people burn fewer calories than young people; thus, it is difficult for an older man to lose weight compared to a young man.
There are specific differences in the metabolism of men and women due to which men can lose weight more quickly as they burn calories faster than women.
If you have more weight, you will burn more calories.
- Overall Daily Activities
If you remain inactive most of the day, you burn fewer calories, which results in more fat deposition in your body. So, if you don’t want to get fat and be overweight, you should do healthy things and exercise.
- Intensity of Workout
When we do light workouts, our bodies do not struggle very much; thus, only a few calories are spent. However, many calories are burned in a small session during intensive exercises.
- Body Composition
If your muscle mass is high, you will lose more calories than a person who has more fat in their body.
Check out: Does cardio kills gain?
Beginners’ general cardio recommendation
Everybody has a different body and metabolic rate. According to the Center for Disease Control, calorie balance requirements for losing weight are individual. Some people have to do intensive cardio to burn an equal number of calories for a longer period of time.
However, it is generally recommended that, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio or 70–150 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio per week is enough to see some changes.
How does cardio burn fat?
We all know that cardio burns fat, but where does it go after a breakdown? Let us go through where fats are stored to understand all this process.
When we have extra carbs and proteins in our bodies, they are converted into triglycerides and stored as fat. When we are trying to lose weight, we want to break down the triglycerides stored in our fat cells.
It is not true that fats are lost by sweat and urine. Research shows that all by-products of metabolism are excreted through the lungs. Fat carbohydrates and most proteins we digest are converted into carbon dioxide and water.
Then the water leaves the body through urine, sweat, feces, and other body fluids. To lose weight, we have to increase the oxygen requirement of the muscles by giving them movement.
When we do light aerobic exercise, our body uses glycogen, and when there is no glycogen, it is the turn of muscle fat.
The best cardio for burning fat
It is the abbreviation of high-intensity interval training. It includes high-intensity workout intervals where you cannot do anything more.
You do it for 6 seconds to a few minutes, then there is a resting period of 6 seconds to a few minutes, and the cycle repeats.
Similarly, its duration can also be from 15 seconds to a few minutes. However, typically 8–5 exercises are performed for 30–60 seconds, and there is a resting period of 30 seconds in each interval.
Different types of cardio are included in HIIT, such as biking, jumping, and sprinting. Moreover, it has various types on the basis of time; for example, Tabata has a maximum workout capacity of 20 seconds and a resting period of 10 seconds.
How does HIIT burn fat?
HIIT burns fat in three ways, and here is the breakdown of all three methods.
- Calorie burn
According to research, you burn 20–30% more calories in HIIT than in other workouts. Suppose you do steady-state and intensive-state cardio simultaneously, but calorie usage in a high-intensity movement will increase.
Moreover, it has also been found that HIIT is more motivating than other workouts.
- Enhance metabolic rate
Besides using calories during cardio, there is an increase in the rate of burning calories even after cardio.
According to a study, few women were guided to do HIIT, cardio, and resistance. They were given carbs, protein, and fat after a workout to check their metabolic rate.
It turned out that there was an increased metabolic rate 30 minutes after a workout, 60 minutes after a workout, and 90 minutes after a workout. It means that there is an improved metabolism rate due to cardio. As a result, you will burn off all of the calories you have consumed in the shortest amount of time.
- Post-exercise burn
When we stop exercising and rest, our body keeps burning calories. According to the American Council on exercise excess, post-exercise consumption is the amount of oxygen our body needs to bring to its average resting level of metabolism.
If you want to activate EPOC, start HIIT. During the EPOC period, our body uses oxygen to restore muscle glycogen and rebuild the protein damaged during the workout.
Thus, our body keeps using aerobic pathways, and calories are burned. Moreover, HIIT also plays a significant role in lowering insulin resistance. Specific cells in our liver, muscle, and fat do not respond to insulin during this situation. As a result, more fat is produced, and the entire process is associated with fat gain.
2. Cardio machine
You can do cardio at home for weight loss using different machines, such as stationary bikes, treadmills, and rowing machines.
Home cardio is just as effective as going to the gym; however, some people may not be able to take time out of their busy schedules to go to the gym. Stationary bikes are best for such people, as you do not have to go anywhere. You can do cardio whenever you are free.
3. Fasted cardio
Moreover, it has been found that when we do cardio with an empty stomach, our body burns stored fat early; it also results in a boost in post-cardio workout metabolism.
However, fasted cardio is not suitable for everyone, so please start slowly and make sure you keep your body hydrated.
How to schedule a workout journey?
To lose one pound, you have to burn 3,500 more calories than your body’s requirements. In other words, if you want to shed 1 pound in a week, you will have to go for a 1000 calorie deficit per day.
Suppose you need 2200 calories per day, so reduce the number of calories you take per day by 500 and burn 500 calories per day through exercise.
Go after the steps given below if you want to lose weight by doing more cardio and less strength.
- Do cardiovascular exercises 3-5 times a week, and each session should be 30 minutes long.
- Do strength training for 2–5 days a week, including all body muscles.
- Do stretching and perform flexibility exercises daily.
- You must take rest for 1-2 days in a week. However, you can do yoga or light stretching on your rest days.
How much cardio should I do a week to lose weight?
Most people mistake doing cardio the whole week for losing weight early. However, it leads to a condition known as a plateau. It is a state where you are doing all your intensive workouts at your peak. As a result, they lose their effectiveness.
It is necessary to stagger your week to lose weight effectively. Make sure you add both low-intensity and high-intensity workouts to your weekly plan.
For example, you can do moderate-intensity cardio exercises such as swimming and walking for 30-50 minutes three days a week. Do an intensive workout 2 days a week and take rest on the remaining days.
Weight training vs. Cardio for fat loss:
Cardio burns more calories; however, weight training changes your body’s composition so you can burn calories all day.
In 2019, a study was done on 119 students. Obese participants were divided into three groups: cardio, strength training, and a combo of both.
They found out that the students who were doing cardio burned a large number of calories, and there was no difference between them and those who did both strength training and cardio.
In short, cardio is best for short-term fat loss; however, strength and cardio combined lose fat and boost metabolism over time.
Cardio vs. Anaerobic exercises for fat loss:
There are two major types of training: aerobic and anaerobic. There is a need for oxygen during aerobic activity, and it is mainly done in prominent places for an extended period, for example, running, jogging, and walking.
Aerobic exercises are also known as low steady-state cardio, and they do not burn a large amount of fat even if you do them for hours. However, anaerobic exercises are best for losing weight as there is no oxygen requirement.
For example, sprinting and lifting heavy weights. However, you cannot sustain such exercises for an extended period.
Here is the summary:
- Cardio helps with losing fat and maintaining body weight.
- Cardio burns calories while strength training rebuilds muscles lost during exercise, resulting in more calories burned.
- Combine cardio with strength training and a healthy diet to lose weight and get long-term health benefits.
- HIIT is the best and most effective cardio for losing weight.
- Plan your whole week’s exercises to avoid a plateau.
Thank you for reading!