When people try to lose weight, lean out, or drop a few pounds in a hurry, they almost undoubtedly run to the gym and jump on the treadmill or elliptical for hours on end. Walk into any gym on January 1st and you are guaranteed to see scores of people running on treadmills like hamsters on wheels. While cardio is an important part of any exercise routine, how much cardio is too much?
It is important to establish that when attempting to lose weight, you are actually trying to lose specifically body fat while sparing lean tissue. Cardiovascular exercise can certainly do that effectively, but only if you are observing a few rules while doing it. Performing too much cardio without observing these simple rules can leave you overtraining, overtired, and potentially sabotaging your own results.
First of all, try to keep cardio sessions to 40-45 minutes at a time. Avoid going over an hour whenever possible. Once you go above 60 minutes of cardio, your body will start to dip into lean tissue stores and spare body fat, which is exactly the opposite of what you want to happen. Keeping cardio sessions to around 45 minutes will effectively burn fat without potentially costing you any lean muscle.
When doing cardio first thing in the morning, try doing it on an empty stomach in order to burn more body fat during exercise. If you have to combine your resistance training and your cardio into one workout, perform your cardio after resistance training to burn more fat. Performing fasted or post-workout cardio will catch your body in a state where it is pre-disposed to burn body fat for fuel, which leads to a greater fat burn.
Finally, in order to help protect lean tissue during cardio, try adding one scoop of Bare Aminos BCAA Powder into your water bottle or shaker cup and nurse it during your cardio session. The amino acids will help to keep you from burning lean tissue during exercise and help to build and maintain your lean tissue!
Get your cardio training in check in order to achieve your goals!