Let’s say you get to the point that you decide that you absolutely must lose weight! You’re fed up, your 20 year high school reunion is coming up, you’re getting married, you’re a 40 year old guy who wants to look good with his shirt off, you have high blood pressure and cholesterol issues, whatever.
The bottom line is that you have reached a point of action and you can’t wait a moment longer.
What do you do? What’s the FIRST thing you do?
In 23 years of working and conversing with people about their fitness goals and challenges, my experience is that when this type of thing comes up and people launch into action, they launch into the wrong thing.
People almost always, when they come to a point of deciding that they MUST lose weight, launch into cardio.
Nothing wrong with cardio, but if weight loss (more importantly, FAT LOSS) is your objective, cardio is the LAST thing you should do. The last of three very important things, that is.
Most people try to TRAIN their way to weight/fat loss, when in actuality you must EAT your way to weight/fat loss.
Here’s what people THINK THEY SHOULD DO:
They tend to immediately default to OUTPUT.
OUTPUT of energy, burning of calories, sweating and working hard. Cardio. And then, maybe, some strength training and calorie cutting (dieting) behind that.
So, their “plan” looks like this: CARDIO > Strength > nutrition
In actuality, this is backwards. Numerous studies show that NUTRITION will make up 75% of your weight/fat loss equation and that strength training is superior to cardio for reduction of body fat and maintenance/addition of lean muscle.
So, here’s what you SHOULD do:
You should be focusing on INPUT, not output: INPUT of food, following a structured and systematic nutrition plan, intake of the proper portion sizes, balanced meals and optimum meal spacing.
Then, once you have a nutrition system in place (a system, not vague concepts), you should focus on strength training. Cardio is the cherry on top, serving not so much as a calorie burner, but to increase your work capacity (endurance) so that you can perform better in your strength training!
So, remember, when you want to lose weight/fat, it’s not:
CARDIO > Strength > nutrition
NUTRITION > Strength > cardio
Just like below.