Cardio: 5 Myths You Still Believe

Biggest myths about cardio for fat loss debunked - toronto personal trainer

Cardio has become a topic of confusion in the fitness world lately. In this article, I debunk five of the most common inaccurate beliefs or myths about cardio.


cardio kills gains - myths about cardio - toronto personal trainer

Cardio kills gains 

This is false.

The only way you’ll end up losing lean tissue from doing cardio is when done in excess (marathon-type) and/or malnutrition.

A regular cardio session (20-40 mins) can actually positively compliment your workouts to yield more gains. Cardio can improve:

  • Blood Circulation (better pumps, endurance, recovery)
  • Improve cardiovascular system (be healthier)
  • Speed up metabolism (allows you to eat more – more muscle gains, less fat deposit)
  • Overall keep you leaner and healthier during a “bulk” or growth phase


myths about cardio - toronto personal trainer

Cardio is the key for fat loss 


Diet and training are the primary and most important factors for achieving and sustaining your fat loss goals.

You could do as much cardio as you like, if your nutrition is not dialed in, the results will be disappointing.

Cardio, just like nutrition and high-intensity training, is simply a tool to be used towards achieving a weight loss goal.

It’s best used in addition to a well-designed nutrition and workout program in order to yield the fat loss results you are truly looking for.

HIIT better than LISS - myths about cardio - toronto personal trainer

High intensity cardio (HIIT) is better than low-intensity (LISS)

These two approaches to cardio have their own separate roles in a fat loss phase. To say one is better than the other is comparing apples to oranges.

It comes down to your own personal goals and how the other fat loss variables are working out for you.

Technically, low-intensity steady state cardio (about 60% of your max) targets more body fat.

However the total calories burned are going to be lower than with high-intensity cardio. Also HIIT sessions are usually shorter which can save you time.

At the end of the day, total calorie expenditure vs. total caloric intake is the key difference maker in burning fat body.

I recommend incorporating short HIIT sessions earlier in your fat loss phase, adding LISS towards the end when calories are low.

Instead of dropping calories further down, add a few LISS cardio sessions to burn extra calories and help you reach your weight loss goal.


is fasted cardio better for fat loss? Myths about cardio - toronto personal trainer

Fasted Cardio is best

Just like cars need gas to drive, we need food to optimize performance.

Fat loss requires being in a caloric deficit, meaning your body is receiving less nutrients than what it actually needs.

At times, such as post-refeed day, doing cardio fasted can work well since you have stored energy from the night before.

However, generally if you’re already in a depleted state, being fasted may drastically decrease your performance resulting in an inefficient session have you been in a fed state.

Note* Refeed refers to eating higher calories, primarily from carbohydrates, to refill the muscle glycogen stores during a weight loss phase (caloric deficit).


myths about cardio - toronto personal trainer

You can eat whatever you like and still lose weight, as long as you do enough cardio

Wouldn’t that be something? Most of us wish that would be the case.

As mentioned above, you cannot outdo bad nutrition.

Nutrition is the primary driver towards your weight loss destination.

In addition, it is extremely difficult to burn enough calories from cardio in order to end up in a deficit from a bad diet.

Cardio does not burn as many calories as you’d think.

On average, one hour of cardio will burn about 500 calories, if that. Have a small muffin with a latte and you’ve thrown your cardio efforts away just like that.

However, if you combine exercise with good nutrition and some cardio, you’ve got yourself a recipe for success.


Final Words

In conclusion, cardio is merely a tool in your toolbox for weight loss.

Treat it as such and utilize it in combination with proper nutrition and intelligent high-intensity training to yield the most desirable fat loss results.


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