Cardio is a valuable tool we can use to speed up our weight loss efforts and achieve our goals faster. And a cardio weight loss plan is an important blueprint to help you achieve your goals…and get lean!
But with the amount of contradicting information, it can be challenging to cut through the noise and create an effective training plan for weight loss.
So, if you’re looking for a cardio weight loss plan, read on. Below, we’ll go over everything you need to know about cardio and how it relates to optimal progress.
What Matters Most For Weight Loss
Contrary to popular belief, weight loss is not a magical event that only a few get to enjoy. It doesn’t depend on an ancient Chinese secret, a fat-burning pill, or a specific combination of foods eaten at a particular time of day.
And fad diets simply do not work over the long term. Evidence of that is how prevalent they are in society, but yet the adult obesity rate continues to soar each decade. Yes, fad diets do work for some, but more important is to understand the basics of weight loss and how cardio can help! (1)
Weight loss, at its core, depends on one thing. And one thing only.
Consuming fewer calories than we burn.
In other words, we need to be in a calorie deficit on most days.
That way, the body has no choice but to use fat to get the remaining energy it requires to function as usual.
Cardio is also not magical, but it can help us achieve this caloric deficit because it expends calories. Let’s see how that happens.
Your Cardio Weight Loss Plan
STEP 1: SELECT YOUR CARDIO FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Select your preferred cardio for weight loss.
And the type of cardio you choose is not really important. Whether you choose a cardio routine that burns 400 calories or 320 calories, will not make a big difference long term.
What is much more important, is to actually do the cardio on a daily, or near daily, basis. This is the key factor that determines success or failure, not the type of cardio you choose. You’ll receive great benefit from many types of cardio.
And there are many cardio options to choose from:
- Jog-Walking (alternating between jogging and walking)
- HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
- Elliptical Machines
- Jumping Rope
- Long Slow Distance
- HIIT on a Treadmill
- HIIT at the Gym
- Stair Climber
STEP 2: KNOW YOUR DAILY CALORIE BURN
As you do cardio, you burn extra calories, which raises your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). This will help you to burn more calories than you consume, which is the key to losing weight with cardio.
TDEE = BMR + Daily Cardio Burn
Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is the calories you burn in a typical day based on your average, life schedule. Click to calculate your BMR.
Then determine your calories burned by cardio activity by clicking here.
Then you can calculate your TDEE so you know your daily calorie burn, including your cardio exercise.
STEP 3: KNOW YOUR DAILY CALORIE INTAKE
Keep track of your daily calorie intake. This is the best way to control your weight over the long term.
It is not necessary to become a technical analyst and track calories exactly. But it is helpful to have a general idea of you calorie surplus or deficit on most days.
Click the button below to download a tracking sheet that can help you track your daily calories.
Consistency is the Key to Cardio Weight Loss Over Time
You need to be consistent and track your progress. Track your daily calorie consumption and track your daily calorie burn (TDEE) with an activity tracker (like a FitBit, or Apple Watch). An activity tracker is one that you wear on your wrist, and tracks calories, steps, and more.
That way, you can see how many calories you consume and burn. So as long as you eat less than you expend, weight loss will happen given some time.
Do Cardio on a Daily Basis
Doing cardio daily is the best plan. For one, this results in a greater weekly calorie burn, which helps you lose more weight. What’s more, daily exercise helps you build momentum. That way, cardio is no longer optional, but a part of your day, and instead of coming up with excuses, you do it without question.
Once it becomes a habit, you no longer have to put conscious effort into getting it done. That is the key! Make it part of your lifestyle, not something you add to it on occasion.
And yes, 30 minutes on the treadmill might only burn about 400 calories, which equates to a few cookies. But if you do cardio daily, you will become more conscious of your caloric intake because you won’t want that effort to go to waste.
Plus, even if it seems insignificant within a day, consistent cardio adds up over a year. For example, burning 300 calories today isn’t much. But multiply that by 365 days, and that’s a whopping 109,500 calories or about 31 pounds of fat over the course of a year.
The best part is, not every cardio session needs to be intense – consistency is what matters most. On some days, you can alternate between light jogging and walking for 30 minutes and call it a day.
Other Fantastic Benefits Of Cardio
Aside from the obvious weight loss benefits of cardio, its effects go beyond just the caloric burn.
As a whole, cardio improves all aspects of your life, and research suggests that it can deliver many health benefits. (2)
Cardio also elevates our mood, boosts our energy levels, helps us think better, and improves our outlook on life. This makes it an incredibly beneficial activity and a great way to start each day.
How to Maintain Long-Term Weight Loss Once You’ve Achieved Your Goals
Weight loss is one battle that we need to fight if we are overweight or obese. But, maintaining our results afterward is where the real challenge lies.
To maintain long-term weight loss, you need to gain control over your caloric intake. You need to have a clear idea of your maintenance level, and you need to eat at or below that over time. This, of course, is simple, but not easy.
Fad diets are not sustainable and typically fail because they don’t account for the diet after the diet. In other words, they give us an idea of how we should lose weight, but come time to maintain our results, the plan falls short.
It’s no surprise, then, that as many as 75 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, and new fad diets sprout like wild weeds. (3)
You should adopt a simple and healthy lifestyle where you watch your calories and eat a healthy diet. Also, control your carbs and mostly use them strategically to boost your training performance. This is the best blueprint for long-term success.
Click for more info on cardio.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Overweight & Obesity Statistics. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
- Hullett, A. (2021, September 27). 8 benefits of cardio that are worth sweating for. Greatist.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, May 17). Adult obesity facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html