The moment you decide to lose weight, you first rush to the gym for endless cardio workouts. The question is, do you need cardio to lose weight, or are you just wasting time?

Here’s another question for you, but you have to answer it honestly without thinking, so just say the first thing that comes to mind. The question is: How much cardio do you need to lose weight?

Many of you probably thought a lot! Some of you were maybe a bit more accurate and said 25-30 minutes in 3 to 5 workouts a week.

Which of these two answers is correct? Neither. You do not need cardio to lose weight. In this article, you will find out why.

woman jogging at an incline on Schwinn 810 treadmill

What Is Cardio Workout?

According to those who want to lose weight, cardio is a light to moderate workout done continuously for a certain period. The goal of cardio is simple, move as long as you can to burn more calories.

Cardio is usually done to improve cardiovascular health. However, since the subject of this article is a specific question (Do you need cardio to lose weight?), we will stick to the topic and disregard if cardio is good or bad for your health.

There are two types of cardio workouts, and those are:

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)

Interval training of high intensity implies changes of pace in each interval of the workout, for example, 15 seconds of sprint followed by 30 or more seconds of walking.

LIT (Low-Intensity Training)

Workout of low intensity, which implies long boring walks on a treadmill or a stepper.

HIIT is considered to be a more effective form of cardio workout which means it helps you burn more calories in a shorter time period. It is also more active, more interesting, and by far harder.

Because of its explosiveness, it is very straining for the joints and difficult for overweight and older people. With this in mind, we will look further into LIT and the number of calories it burns.

How Many Calories Does A Person Weighing 100kg Burn During 30 Minutes Of Cardio Workout?

-Hiking- 325 calories

-Stepper- 325 calories

-Swimming- 325 calories

-Walking- 151 calories

Let’s say you decided to do four 30-minute sets a week on a treadmill. That means that you will burn 600 calories a week. Looking at it yearly, it means you will burn 30.000 calories (if we count in some missed workouts). How much fat did you burn? What is a reward for your effort? You lost 3.5kg of body fat as a result of 100 hours spent on a treadmill!

The purpose of the numbers above is to show you that cardio, even though it is good for your general health, is in no way efficient for burning fat.

If your goal is to lose 18-35 kg, you can literally live on a treadmill, and you won’t move these numbers much. This gets us to the point of this article; you do not need cardio to burn fat; you need to change your diet.

image representing healthy diet and fitness a young woman sitting next to the jar with fruit

Diet And Weight Loss

An adequate diet will melt the fat from your belly. All you need to do is count calories and change your diet when needed.

Remember the question that we asked you at the beginning of this article? Once they find the motivation to lose weight, most people go to the gym and spend hours and hours on the treadmill instead of first considering a diet change.

If you don’t pay attention to your diet, cardio will only increase your appetite and the probability that you will not lose weight at all. If you have no idea what’s your daily calorie intake 200-300 calories can easily slip through.

With the proper diet, you can achieve your goal within a year if you keep to it, of course. Cardio won’t give you any guarantee unless you are on the treadmill full time.

Diet should be made to suit your needs and goals to lose 2-10kg of fat per month. Even if you spend hours on a treadmill, 85% of weight loss still goes to diet.

You do not need too much cardio to lose weight. Cardio is good for your general health and fitness, but a healthy diet is much more important for weight loss.

The Concept Of A Diet

Once we have defined its concept, we need to figure out how to compose an appropriate diet. First, we need to know how many calories we need to keep the current weight once we determine that we can easily adapt it to fit the desired weight loss goal.

It would be best if you tried losing 0.5 to 1kg per week, which is optimal and will let you keep the muscle mass while losing weight.

First Two Weeks

Deduct 300 calories from the number of calories you need to take to keep the same weight and eat like that for two weeks. That will help you set the base and see what the scales are doing as a response to that amount of food.

You should weigh yourself every morning during these two weeks and write it down, so you have concrete evidence of the changes that are happening. Weight loss is very fast during the first two weeks, but you should ignore that since most of it is based on water.

Once you start your diet, you usually take fewer carbs and sodium, and as a result, the body releases that extra water stored in the cells and bloodstream.

The second week is more important. If you lose more than 1kg per week during this time period add back 200-300 calories and observe the change in the next two weeks.

If you gain weight, reduce the number of calories by 500 calories a day and observe the changes for two weeks.

chubby woman laying exhausted after doing fat burning workouts

Aggressive Weight Loss

If you are in the mood for more aggressive weight loss because of extreme obesity or other health issues, then you have to adjust your calorie intake so you will lose 1.3 to 2.2kg per week.

Avoid diets that will make you starve yourself. Even though faster weight loss is tolerable compared to normal weight loss, you should keep an eye on the scale and calorie intake to avoid guessing.

How To Combine Diet And Cardio To Lose Weight

Only after establishing a healthy diet regime can we look into cardio to assist in weight loss. If we configure an excellent diet plan that helps us lose fat and preserve muscle mass, we should lose from 35 to 45 kg per year.

A bit more aggressive regime will result in losing up to 68kg per year. Even though cardio, if you use it without diet changes, can give minimal results in weight loss, it is still great when you get to the point of stagnation with calorie reduction.

Do Cardio For Health

Once you start losing weight, do not be obsessed with cardio. Think about it as a tool to improve your health and not as a weight loss tool.

The First 4-6 weeks of your weight loss plan are dedicated to correcting your diet. During this time period, you can slowly start adding cardio to better your health. Please don’t overdo it.

Let the body adjust to the conditions of this physical activity. We are giving you a six-week workout plan on a treadmill that will help you stay in the healthy range of cardio workouts.

1. Week – 2-3 sets a week, 10-15 minutes per set

2. Week – 2-3 sets a week, 15-20 minutes per set

3. Week – 3 sets a week, 15-20 minutes per set

4. Week – 3 sets a week, 20-25 minutes per set

5. Week – 3 sets a week, 20-25 minutes per set

6. Week 3-4 sets a week, 20-30 minutes per set

This will be all the cardio you need during the weight-loss diet.

Last Thoughts About Cardio

Cardio is great for health, but it is not necessary for weight loss. Maybe this will sound funny, but most bodybuilders never use cardio when trying to burn fat.

The main reason is the increased appetite you definitely want to avoid while trying to lose weight. Plan your diet nicely, add just a tiny bit of cardio, and the results will come.