What if I told you that you didn't have to do cardio to lose fat? Would you say I'm crazy?
Believe it or not, you don't have to sit on a bike or trudge along on a treadmill for hours to lose fat.
Related - Dump You Diet to Lose More Weight?
If you've ever spent longer than 30 minutes on a cardio machine, you know it sucks bad. In fact, it was horrible. Why would people like to do this?
Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do that burn more calories than cardio, including lifting weights. Let's go over 5 of the most effective things you can do to start losing fat right now.
Losing Weight Without Cardio
#1 - Clean Up Your Diet
When I say clean up your diet, I don't mean you have to eat salads and rabbit food. What I mean is that you need to take charge of things you eat and realize that if you keep eating the way you do, you'll never lose weight.
There is a saying that you can't out-exercise a poor diet, and it's true. I've tried it.
Luckily, we can actually lose weight by restricting calories. You won't look very aesthetic, but you can lose weight.
You can use a total daily energy expenditure calculator to calculate how many calories you actually need. This calculator works by factoring in your basal metabolic rate and your activity level.
Your total daily energy expenditure includes everything from the calories you burn sleeping, working, exercising, and even eating. It is much more accurate than a simple BMR calculator.
Once you figure out how many calories you actually need, you can adjust your food intake accordingly.
#2 - Utilize Heavy Compound Lifts
I've said it once and I'll say it again: heavy compound lifts are king for losing fat and building muscle. There's no denying the fact.
If you don't know what a compound lift is, it's a lift that involved more than one joint. Squats, bench press, deadlifts, front squats and many other lifts are compound lifts utilizing more than one joint.
These lifts use a lot of muscle and elicit a hormonal response that kills fat and builds muscle, depending on your diet.
Compound lifts promote fat loss, you burn calories for hours after you lift, and you will build an aesthetic body when accompanied by a proper diet.
#3 - Try Circuit Training
Circuit training is sort of like cardio while lifting weights. It keeps your heart rate up, you burn calories from lifting, and it's certainly more challenging.
A strength circuit can burn up to 30% more calories than a normal gym session. The secondary benefit here is better conditioning and work output.
Loaded carries and other compound lifts are optimal for decreasing body fat and promoting muscle growth.
Utilizing circuits will put you well on the way to achieving a rock-hard body.
#4 - Implement Superset and Drop Sets
It's well-known that these "finishing" sets can lead to significant fat loss. Supersets and drop sets are a great way to finish off a muscle group, gets the heart racing, and makes you use maximal muscle recruitment.
What are Supersets?
Never heard of a superset? Supersets are when you perform an exercise and then follow it up by another exercise without any rest between sets.
For example, if you were working on arms, you could do some hammer curls and superset it with one arm overhead triceps presses.
You can work the same muscle or antagonistic muscles; the 'trick' to supersets is no rest in between exercises.
What Are Drop Sets?
Drop sets are a little different than supersets. For drop sets, you don't need to change exercises; you drop the weight.
Similar to supersets, you don't want to rest in between sets.
- Start with 75lb incline dumbbell bench press.
- Finish your set and grab the 60lb and do another set.
- Grab the 50lb, 40lb, 30lb and 20lb dumbbells and finish each set.
The weight itself doesn't matter... What matters is that you are pushing your muscles to the max each set.
Next time you're in the gym, try a drop set on a machine and see how it feels.
#5 - Find an Active Hobby or Sport
Wait, I thought you said you didn't have to do cardio to lose weight? You don't.
Finding an active hobby or sport to play in your leisure allows you to enjoy being active and losing weight.
You aren't sitting in a hot room on a stationary bike staring at that dude who is grunting doing 40lb dumbbell shrugs. You're out enjoying the fresh air, interacting with others, and getting in shape.
Try out hiking, playing a sport, or just get out and enjoy nature. Go on adventures and share pictures with friends on social media.
Change up your mindset that you are only able to exercise in the gym and meet some new people on a similar fitness journey.
Wrapping it Up
Look, cardio is important for heart health. Improving your conditioning allows you to enjoy life and not be out of breath all of the time.
Cardio improves your work output and your body is more efficient at producing and burning energy. It's an integral part of getting in shape.
Many people give up or simply refuse to do cardio because it sucks. And it does... So here are a few other ways to reach your goals.
When you hit the gym, incorporate heavy compound lifts, try supersets and drop sets, and eat better. That's all you have to do to lose fat.
There's no magic formula to losing weight other than consistency and putting effort into it.