Fat loss is big business, as millions of Americans are trying to shed pounds at any given time. Most of them are looking for a quick, easy way to reach their goals, and that has led to the development of all sorts of crazy diet and exercise routines, many of which include tons of aerobics, or cardio.
But there is a school of thought that says you don’t even NEED aerobic exercise to lose weight.
So, what’s the real scoop? Do you need aerobics exercise to lose weight?
Let’s find out.
Why You Might Not Need Aerobics
Despite all of the hand-wringing on the internet about why this approach or that approach is better for fat loss, and despite the claims of quick weight loss that most programs make, success usually comes down to controlling your caloric balance over time.
While there is not absolute agreement on caloric values of body tissues, a general rule of thumb is that it requires a 3500-calorie deficit to lose a pound of fat. If you burn 100 calories more than you take in per day, then, you should lose about a pound per month.
What’s the most straightforward way to do that?
Usually, it’s through your diet, particularly if you have been eating in great excess. Cutting 100 calories means dropping a small cookie, cutting condiments, or maybe skipping some ranch dressing on your salad.
To burn off those same calories would require you to run or walk a mile, so it’s usually much easier to create a moderate deficit through diet than with aerobics.
If fat loss, and not necessarily cardiovascular health, is your main objective, diet should be your first area of focus.
When You Might Need Aerobics
Once you drop your calories to around 2000 per day — maybe less for women or small men — it becomes more difficult to get all of the nutrients you need through your diet. In general, you should avoid cutting your calories much below this level so you don’t risk becoming malnourished in one or more vital vitamins and minerals.
At this point, if you still have fat to lose, then you likely will need to increase your activity levels. That’s when aerobics come into play, as a 20-40 minute session of moderate cardio can burn off 100-400 calories.
While diet should be your primary focus, aerobics can be an important supplement to your fat-loss activities.
First Things First
In the end, you will likely find that a combination of diet, weight training, and limited aerobics will be your surest ticket to fat loss, especially if you have a lot of adipose tissue to lose.
Before you embark on any diet or exercise program, though, make sure to talk with your doctor and get a complete physical exam. After all, your health is always more important than big biceps or ripped abs!