Are you wondering if your regular cardio workouts are contributing effectively to your weight loss goals? It’s important to know that while cardiovascular exercise can be a beneficial part of a weight loss regimen, it may not always be the most efficient method. It’s worth considering a balanced approach to exercise for effective weight management.

Why daily cardio isn’t resulting in weight loss

There are several reasons why you might not be losing weight even though you are sweating it out at every cardio session. These include:

  • Your body may have adapted to the form of exercise;
  • You’re not performing at a high enough intensity;
  • Your diet isn’t supporting your weight loss goals;
  • You’re overeating or snacking on ‘treats’ as a reward;
  • You’re not building muscle mass

If you’re not seeing the weight loss results you’ve hoped for, switching up your physical activity may be the answer. Here are some tips of what you can do instead of cardio 7 days per week to achieve a healthy weight.

Vary your workout 

While engaging in cardio exercises every day can become monotonous, it’s important to understand that the effectiveness of any exercise, including cardio, in burning body fat and building muscle varies depending on individual fitness goals and body responses. Research shows, people who do a combined workout program of resistance training and cardio reduce more body fat and build more lean body mass than those who just do cardio workouts. 

Combining resistance training and cardio in your weight loss program may help you reduce your bodyweight quickly and help you create definition at the same time.  

Start lifting weights

Time to stop fearing weights and start enjoying lifting them! Strength training is an important component of successful weight loss. It’s also a great way to prevent weight gain long term.

While it may result in fewer calories burned during your workout when compared to cardio, it does help build more muscle mass. As muscle can help boost the metabolism, with a greater muscle mass you’ll burn a higher number of calories during rest. 

Up the intensity

Rather than focusing on the amount of time you workout, start focusing on the intensity to help encourage greater weight loss. If you’ve done the same type of cardio for a long period of time, your body has likely adapted to that intensity and will, in turn, burn fewer calories. 

Workouts that increase your heart rate near to the maximum achieve the desired ‘afterburn’ feeling, encouraging your body to burn calories up to 48 hours after you’ve worked out. Studies show high-intensity interval training for just 30 minutes can burn more calories than long endurance style workouts.

Have a rest day

It might sound counterproductive to have a rest day if you’re trying to lose weight, but recovery is very important especially between high intensity or strenuous workouts. 

Physical activity causes metabolic stress as it depletes your muscle cells of energy. It can also cause physical stress on the body. Your body needs time to repair and refuel after vigorous workouts to avoid injury and to ensure there is energy in the tank to perform at a high enough intensity to encourage weight loss. 

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work out at all. It just means you should add light cardio or stretching around the days you are working out at the hardest. 

Lower your stress levels 

Stress, whether it’s physical or emotional, leads to the release of the stress hormone, cortisol. While cortisol is important and part of a normal response to stress, long term excess cortisol can be hindering your weight loss goals. 

It does this by encouraging your body to hold on to and store body fat as a survival mechanism. Excess cortisol can also lead to disrupted sleep, blood sugar dysregulation, high blood pressure, adrenal depletion and sweet cravings – all of which will work against you achieving a healthy weight. 

Implementing some stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing or time in nature could help you reduce your waistline. 

Find a diet that works for you

Exercise is just one component of weight loss. If you’re relying on cardio alone to lose weight you may be left disappointed when you jump on the scales. Diet is about 80% of the weight loss battle and unfortunately, there is no magic pill or one size that fits all. 

A fad diet may help in the short-term, but discovering a healthy eating plan that’s tailored to your individual needs will achieve greater results and health benefits long term. If you’re struggling with healthy weight loss, speaking to a healthcare professional such as a dietitian or nutritionist may help you achieve the results you desire.