When it comes to adding to or diversifying your cardio routine, thankfully you’ve got plenty of different options. Whether you want to jump rope, swim, bike, run, walk, or do high-intensity interval training, you’re covered!
With that being said, some fitness enthusiasts have fallen into the trap of believing or doing one of these 5 cardio mistakes at some point in their fitness journey. Here are 5 cardio mistakes to avoid.
5 Worst Cardio Mistakes
Cardio Mistake #1: Believing Cardio Kills Muscle Bulk
Have you ever tried bulking up your muscle mass and began avoiding cardio altogether? You’ve been in the gym, working out, getting stronger, and feeling good… but also looking a little chubby too.
Let’s be honest: when you’re bulking, you’re in a calorie surplus, and it is a little hard to just build lean muscle without putting on a little bit of extra fat as well.
In this scenario, you’ll want to trim down a little bit and get that nice six-pack showing, but you’re afraid if you do cardio, you’ll lose all that muscle definition you’ve been working so hard for.
Is that true? Not necessarily. Cardio (or aerobic) exercise is called that because it increases your heart rate. Your heart is a muscle, too, and needs exercise if you want it to work well for a long time to come. A healthy heart will reflect in the way your body looks, works, and feels.
Remember when trying to lean down, you’ll need to go into a calorie deficit, meaning you should eat fewer calories every day than what your body demands.
If you’re throwing cardio on top of that calorie deficit, that is what can make you lose muscle mass. You’ll want to be careful that you’re not going into too much of a calorie deficit, so plan accordingly.
Integrate cardio with your routine a couple of days a week. Don’t go crazy with it, though, and it’ll definitely going to help you in your journey. Moderation is advised.
Cardio Mistake #2: Believing Cardio is the Only Way to Lose Fat
This is false because you’ll see a lot of guys and girls walk into the gym and step on a cardio machine for hours a day every day for months on end; but you’re not going to see their body composition change whatsoever.
Why? Well, what’s likely happening is they’re actually not taking care of themselves outside the gym. They’ll eat whatever they want at home and then they’ll come in and think that if they do cardio they’re going to lose a bunch of weight.
Now what you have to do is remember: calories in, calories out. So if you’re taking in more calories than you’re actually burning, you’re not going to see any change in your body (at least not in the direction you’re wanting to see it).
Make sure you’re balancing your cardio exercise while also taking care of your nutrition. There are many other ways to burn calories, as well, such as lifting weights and doing other kinds of strength training. You can even burn some extra calories while you sleep!
Cardio Mistake #3: Longer Cardio = More Fat Loss
Do longer cardio sessions make you lose more fat? No.
When it comes to cardio, less is more.
Try to keep your cardio workouts to about 30 to 45 minutes in that elevated heart rate zone. If you’re doing high-intensity interval training, 15- to 20-minute sessions a couple of days a week is best.
Long cardio sessions will only fatigue your muscles, making your recovery time longer, and making you less motivated to exercise the next time.
Remember to supplement your workouts with strength training. You don’t want to just focus on cardio because you’re going to lose a lot of those gains that you wanted to build in the first place. Instead, use it as a tool to help you trim back down a little bit and keep up your cardiovascular health.
Cardio Mistake #4: Snail Pace Cardio
We’ve all seen them: the people that get on the treadmill and do the least amount of effort, expecting to get something back.
Unfortunately, they’re never going to get to the fitness level they think they want because they’re not raising their heart rate high enough to actually burn off any kind of calories sufficient enough to have any progress.
If you’ve fallen into this trap, what you’ll want to do is bump up the miles per hour on that treadmill and maybe increase the incline so that you’ll hit your target heart rate. For most adults, this usually means you’ll be walking at about four miles per hour, but everyone’s a little different.
Once you get your heart rate to that level, keep that up for about 30 to 40 minutes, and you’re good to go.
Cardio Mistake #5: Only Trying Out One Style of Cardio
Limiting the types of cardio you do is a trap. Online, everybody’s got an opinion, and everybody wants to share it with you, thinking that their opinion is the right one. But what works for them may not work for you.
If you’re dealing with injuries, maybe some knee problems, high-intensity interval training is probably going to make your problems worse. Instead, you may want to try swimming.
Likewise, if what works for you is meditating during an extended low-intensity workout, you may not want to listen to a guru that harps on all the benefits of kickboxing.
We encourage you to try out a lot of different types of cardio! See what works for you, and by no means think there’s only one type of cardio that you’re stuck with. Cardio should not be feared; in fact, it should supplement your other workouts. You shouldn’t only focus on it, but at the same time, you shouldn’t avoid it altogether.
We hope you learned something from this article detailing the 4 worst cardio mistakes you should avoid.
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To your success,