The When and How Long of Cardio

Yay!! I’ve lost 25.6 pounds total so far with 54.4 pounds to go to reach my goal!  My BMI has dropped from 36.9 to 33.1 and my goal BMI is 24.9.

Natural Weight Loss


The When and How Long of Cardio

For the most part, this program makes straight cardio exercise obsolete, because the kind of resistance training I’ll outline is as effective, if not more so, at raising heart levels and burning fat as any cardio routine.

That said, cardio is a great way to get a workout on the days when you’re giving your muscles a rest, so it’s important you understand a few basics so you know the best times of day to do it, when to do it in relation to your resistance training, what your optimum duration and intensity are, and what types of exercise are best for you.


If you plan on doing cardio on the same day as your resistance training, it’s ideal to do it after your weight routine.

While it’s true that a 5-minute cardio warm-up is always necessary before any resistance training, if you do prolonged cardio beforehand you’ll have depleted most of your available blood sugar, which you very much need for those quick bursts of energy that resistance training requires.

Additionally, cardio will fatigue your muscles before you lift a single weight, and that will prevent you from maxing out your muscle’s potential when training.

On the days when you’re resting your muscles and doing straight cardio alone, the best time of day is absolutely any time.

The most important thing is that you do it.

There’s a prevailing misconception that cardio is most effective first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.

The theory is you won’t have eaten in 8 to 10 hours, so there will be less blood sugar available for fuel, which will force your body to draw on and burn more of its stored energy.

This is absolutely untrue.

Remember the whole theory of a target fat-burning zone and low-intensity exercise being a more effective method of burning fat than high-intensity exercise?

This is untrue for the same reason:  a calorie is a calorie no matter what.

It doesn’t matter if the calories are from fat or from carbs – as long as you’re burning more of them than you’re taking in, you’ll lose weight.

If anything, working out on an empty stomach could make you feel weak and could inhibit your performance.

My advice is to do your cardio whenever you have the energy for it, whether it’s morning or evening, on an empty stomach or following a snack.

All that matters is that you’re putting as much into every workout as you can – do that, and you’re guaranteed to get the most out of it.


When it comes to duration, you should do a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 2 hours of cardio in any single session.

On the one hand, the number of calories you burn in half an hour doesn’t make it worth the trip to the gym.

On the other hand, you don’t want to exercise intensely for more than 2 hours straight, because excessive activity like this releases stress hormones into your body, like cortisol, which inhibits weight loss, causing your body to react by storing fat and retaining water out of self-protection.

Come join me on my weight loss journey!  I’d love to have you along!

Have an awesome day!

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If you’d like to read Jillian’s book, you can get it here: Winning by Losing


Dick and Lenay

email: – 715-431-0657

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