Cardio is a classic cornerstone to any workout regimen, but don’t get caught up in the lies. Not everything you hear about cardio is true; here are the most common 20 myths about cardio

  1. Cardio is the only way to lose weight. Sure, cardio is a fantastic supplement to any weight loss plan, but it shouldn’t be the only exercise built in. Weight training is essential to build strength and boost your metabolism.
  2. You burn the most fat on an empty stomach. Nope. You burn the same amount of fat whether you just ate a Thanksgiving dinner or haven’t eaten in days. Feel free to workout before or after your meal – it won’t make a difference.
  3. You can’t do cardio and weight lifting in the same day. Many people think if you hit the gym for leg day, you can’t also go for a jog. In fact, cardio doesn’t stress muscles nearly as much as strength training, so it’s perfectly okay to pair a light bike ride or jog with some squat work in the gym. 
  4. You can eat more if you do more cardio. Unfortunately, it takes a lot to burn off calories. You’re better off eating healthfully and pursuing a moderate amount of cardio.
  5. There’s no such thing as too much cardio! If you’ve ever had a stress or repetitive injury, you know this is false. Overtraining is very real, and it’s important to have a training plan to ensure you’re not overdoing it.
  6. If you don’t have an hour, cardio isn’t worth it. False! Any amount of time spent exercising is better than no time exercising. If all you have is 10 minutes, pump it up for those 10 minutes!
  7. Wearing weights is the only way to enhance cardio. There are many ways to burn more fat during your cardio workout, not just adding weight. Try intervals to add some high intensity effort to your workout.
  8. You’ll only make progress doing the same workout every day. To make progress you actually need to challenge your body. Whether this is mixing it up with different activities or increasing the difficulty, it’s important to not let your training stagnate.
  9. Cardio is best paired with music or TV. While a distraction can be fine on an easy day, it’s important to be careful and make sure you’re aware of your surroundings. In addition, you want to make sure you’re paying attention to your body position and form – don’t invite injuries!
  10. I can’t do cardio when I’m older. False! Many forms of cardio, like swimming or riding a bike, are easy on joints and perfect for athletes of all ages.
  11. Cardio will take away all my muscle tone. Paired with a strength training program, you can gain the aerobic benefits of cardio with the muscle tone that comes from weight training.
  12. The cardio machine tells me exactly how many calories I’m burning. Machines are only calibrated to a specific gender and weight, so you might be burning more or less than the specific number you see. 
  13. I can do different types of cardio to lose weight in specific areas. Unfortunately our bodies don’t always respond exactly how we want them to; you’re better off just sticking to an exercise regimen and focusing on every body part instead of just one.
  14. If it doesn’t hurt, I’m not making progress. Feeling tired during a workout is one thing, but your goal should not be to feel constant discomfort! This can be a precursor to an injury, so never ignore pain.
  15. It’s best to work out in the “fat burning zone”. A common misconception is that the most calories are burnt at a low intensity, “fat burning zone”. Sure, that low intensity cardio is great for building endurance. But if you only have 10 or 20 minutes to work out, high intensity training is the way to go.
  16. Cardio is boring. It doesn’t have to be! Work out with a friend, or integrate intervals into your routine to mix things up.
  17. I have to do cardio every day to see benefits. Rest is an essential component of every exercise regimen – it’s when your body recovers and rebuilds! Don’t forget those rest days.
  18. Once I’ve lost the weight, I can stop doing cardio. While you may not have to exercise at the same intensity, it’s important not to just quit cardio cold turkey. Regular exercise is necessary even for weight maintenance. 
  19. I can’t do ___ without ___ gear. What you wear doesn’t define how hard you work. So what if you don’t have the latest running shorts? You can train your body with or without name brand gear.
  20. Training for an event is the most effective way to make progress. Cardio can be effective with or without a big race to look forward to, but setting goals is important. Whether your cardio goals involve an Ironman or simply running around the block, motivate yourself with whatever works.

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