Is cardio the best way to lose weight? Why you should do LESS cardio and lift MORE weights

Working from home: Performance coach provides exercise tips

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The word ‘cardio’ often springs to mind sprinting on a treadmill or doing burpees until you feel sick, but these things aren’t the be-all and end-all of the fitness, weight loss and body transformations. chatted to triple Olympic short track speed skater and owner of Roar Fitness London, Sarah Lynsday (@roarfitnessgirl on Instagram) to find out everything you need to know about doing cardio.

Most beginners in a gym head straight over to the treadmills because running looks less intimidating than lifting weights.

However, Roar Fitness London has three gyms and none of them has a single treadmill.

Roar Fitness London is famous for its incredible before and after results, and according to the founder Sarah Lyndsay, none of them were achieved with cardio.

Cardiovascular fitness refers to the capacity of the cardiovascular system, which includes your heart, lungs and vessels.

These parts of your body are required to efficiently supply oxygenated blood to working muscles and the muscles use the oxygen as a source of energy, so they’re very important in fitness.

Cardiovascular fitness is essentially how well and efficiently your blood circulates through your body, it doesn’t refer to a specific exercise.

Some exercises are better than others at working your cardio system, but running is often thought of as ‘the best’ way to lose weight and work out when that is not the case.

Three times Olympic short track speed skater Sarah Lindsay isn’t anti-cardio but says it’s the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to transforming your body and keeping fit.

She explained: “Cardio makes you feel good, releases endorphins and creates a little bit of a calorie deficit if you do enough of it, but don’t let it compromise your lifting.”

Lifting weights is a better option if you’re trying to lose weight and it is still good for your cardiovascular system.

Getting your heart rate elevated is good for your cardio, and that’s exactly what you do when you lift weights.

Sarah explained: “When I’m weight training, I can’t breathe! The heavier you lift, the more the muscles are working, the more the muscles have to recruit more fibres, and muscles need oxygen so you have to breathe more.

“Really, it’s all covered. If you want to run a marathon, you’re going to have to tread some miles on the road.

“But to work your heart and lungs, you can dance if you like! There are all sorts you can do!

“You definitely don’t need to pound on a treadmill, at least get outside and get some fresh air and vitamin D.”

Lifting weights creates intensity which is the thing that is going to change your body more than cardio will.

Sarah explained: “Our results weren’t done with any cardio.

“You have to think if you do an hour of cardio and you manage to burn about 300 calories… How tired did you make yourself to burn those 300 calories?

“You’ve made yourself too tired to train. You then go to lift and then you can’t because you’re knackered from cardio. You’ve also created all that inflammation.

“If you want to get stronger then you have to lift the weight. If you’re tired and you can’t lift more weight because of cardio, then you’re defeating the object.

“If you want to get good at cardio, you should do cardio but that’s the only time cardio should be the most important part of your plan.”

Is cardio the best way to lose weight?

Cardio will help you lose weight, but it isn’t the quickest or easiest way.

Sarah said: “I prefer weight lifting to cardio for fat loss because it’s long term rather than short term.

“With weight training and potentially gaining a little muscle, you’re increasing your metabolism.

“This means your basal metabolic rate – the number of calories you burn at rest – increases. So, you need more food just to maintain your body.

“When you’re just doing cardio, you always have to live in a calorie deficit. You always have to try and eat less food and do more exercise to keep moving forwards or keep losing weight.”

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