There’s a lot of misconceptions around fat loss and one of the biggest of them all is that by only doing cardio you can knock off weight faster. Simrun Chopra, Deep Health Coach and Founder, Nourish with Sim, says, “Yes, it definitely helps, but it's not the only activity that will result in weight loss. If your ultimate goal is fat or weight loss, while cardio plays a key role keeping you active by getting your heart rate up, a proper all-body exercise routine is what is most important.”
She further explains that Including cardio in your workout lets you eat a decent amount of calories. You don’t have to starve to create a calorie deficit. It simply means you can burn those extra calories with a proper exercise routine, be it LISS (low-intensity steady-state cardio), or HIIT (high-intensity interval training).
So if cardio is not the solution, what do you do to burn belly fat or get rid of the lockdown weight? Simrun lays down an effective plan for you.
1. Create a structured calorie deficit
Fat loss comes from a structured calorie deficit that could be created via healthier food choices along with systematic physical activity. Cut down on junk food, stick to simple home cooked food. Ensure you eat a balanced meal which isn’t too high on calories but includes all essentials like fibre, protein, carbs and good fats.
2. Combine cardio with weight training
“Cardio without strength training isn't just tedious, it may also lead you to burn fewer calories overall. This applies irrespective of your age or gender,” cautions Simrun. She also suggests that when it comes to doing a full, high-intensity cardio session and resistance training, try to perform each on separate days so you can focus on putting in more effort into one and burn more calories in the process.
3. Focus on the intensity of the workout
Slogging away on the treadmill won’t really work to your advantage. Ignore the numbers flashing on the display screen and focus on intensity. “The higher the intensity of the workout, the more calories you burn, says Simrun. However, before you upgrade your cardio to high-intensity exercises, remember that this type of workout isn't without its risks. You stand a greater risk of injury and overtraining exhaustion. Having a structured plan mapped out to meet your goals is ideal.
4. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, begin slow and steady
If you’re just starting out and currently live a sedentary lifestyle, practicing active cardio with beginner strength training makes much more sense than jumping into a full-blown, advanced strength training routine. “Get in just 30 minute home workouts daily to kickstart your journey,” she advises. Whatever your choice of exercise, the one thing that is absolutely critical is your diet. “You have to eat healthy. Without this, no amount of exercise, cardio or strength training will help,” concludes Simrun.