Maybe I’ve given cardio a bad rap. Doing the long steady-state cardio work has been the “popular” choice of exercise since forever.
I remember waking up on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons only to see some funky 80s jazzercise program on TV while I was switching channels.
I also remember when I would go on long runs before my resistance training or before a basketball game because I thought it would help me get fitter faster.
And if you’re doing cardio instead of sitting on the couch eating potato chips then more power to you.
But if you’re trying to lose fat as fast as possible then doing cardio isn’t going to get you there anytime soon. The scientific research just doesn’t support it. And the dozens and dozens of my real world clients would tell you the same.
This doesn’t mean that I’m going to completely throw cardio out the window and tell it to not say hello or drop by coffee.
If you’re an endurance runner or a planning to run a marathon then you better be doing the long cardio runs. You’d be an idiot not to.
If you’re trying to burn fat and look hot again then you’ll want to do interval training and metabolic resistance training instead.
Doing cardio on an empty stomach can wreak havoc on your body, so make sure you’re well fueled.
So where does cardio fall if you want to lose fat?
Once you have finished your metabolic resistance training session or your high intensity interval training session then you’re going to want to drop down to the next level.
The optimal time to burn fat while doing cardio is going to be 5 minutes after you finish your metabolic resistance training or your HIIT training.
This is the time when your body is going to dump your triglycerides into your bloodstream and it’s going to set you up for the perfect time to do some cardio to actually burn fat for a change.
Although this is only right after you finish doing your other, higher priority types of training.
Another time that will help you get the fat burning results from cardio is immediately in the morning on a near empty stomach. A lot of people go right into cardio on an empty stomach but researchers have found that having a little something in your body for energy will help you train harder than on an empty stomach.
Yep the rumors are true, you’ll burn more fat by doing cardio first thing in the morning and I’m talking FIRST thing in the morning.
So if you have more time on your hands then cardio does have it’s place in your fat loss training program, but if you’re pressed for time then I would totally focus on your metabolic resistance training and HIIT training…and then if you have some more time + energy then fill it with cardio.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college level. He has over 10 years experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He hopes to be able to bring inspiration & results to people all over the world to live a healthier life through diet & exercise.