Human bodies are programmed to naturally try to survive famine. So, it makes sense that if we do too much cardio our body’s metabolism will slow down, and try to retain and increase that body fat for survival reasons.
People seem to think that in order to lose body fat they have to eat less and increase their activity. That necessarily isn’t true! When you do a lot of cardio, it’s hard on your muscles, you reach weight loss plateaus in which you stop losing the pounds, there’s the dehydration issue, and if you quit, you’ll gain all the weight back plus more because of a slower metabolism.
The key to losing weight is not an 1hr+ cardio workout. The key to dropping those pounds is weight training with accessory cardio. Maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Your body needs food for fuel. Without that necessary fuel, your body’s metabolism will naturally slow down. It all comes down to the body’s natural survival methods. So, eat healthy snacks every couple hours to keep that metabolism pumping for effective weight loss. Here’s an example of one healthy menu: Breakfast – oatmeal topped with cinnamon and walnuts and a banana, Snack – baby carrots with fat-free ranch, Lunch – a whole-wheat veggie pita, Snack – an apple and a couple graham crackers, Dinner – a grilled turkey burger on a whole-grain bun and a side salad with low-fat dressing.
Make sure you do your weight training. Don’t work out the same muscle groups on consecutive days. Your muscles need time to rest and heal. Work out different muscle groups on different days of the week and add no more than 20 minutes of cardio 3 times per week into your routine. For that 20 minutes of cardio, workout in intervals of high and low intensity for maximum weight loss (2 min. high, 1 min. low, 2 min. high, 1 min. low).
If you’re a little confused on how your workout schedule should be, then you can follow this example as a guide: Day1 – upper body (chest/shoulders/triceps/biceps/back), Day 2 – cardio, Day 3 – lower bodyand Abs (Quads/Hamstrings, Calves/Abdominals), Day 4 – cardio, Day 5 – upper body (chest/shoulders/triceps/biceps/back), Day 6 – cardio, Day 7 – rest.
Use this as a guide. Everyone is at different fitness levels. If you are just starting out, then obviously you need to work your way up to a 6-day workout schedule. Same as cardio, start off at lower intensities. You need to find what works for you!
Mario Hostios, “Too Much Cardio Can Make You Fat,” Fitness Expert Network