One of the major limitations with cardio for fat loss is that as we lose weight and improve our fitness levels, our body compensates by trying to burn less calories throughout the day. That’s obviously bad news if you want to burn belly fat. And is also why your cardio plan needs to be designed and actually progressed overtime such that it accounts for this. But, at the same time, you don’t want to do too much too soon.
So, how exactly do we account for those factors? Well, we can do so with a 4-step plan that when combined with a calorie deficit from your diet, will help you lean down and eventually get rid of belly fat. The first thing we need to do here is establish a small amount of cardio to get you in the habit of moving and adhering to a cardio plan that we can then progress. What I’d recommend is just 10 minutes of incline walking every single day. You can swap this for light cycling or any low intensity, low impact cardio modality.
In step 2, we want to then very gradually start increasing the duration and/or difficulty of our cardio sessions. But again, the key here though is that you’re simply increasing your cardio very gradually overtime to enable you to break through any plateaus you encounter so you lose belly fat successfully. That said, the extent to which you do so though will vary individually and depend on your lifestyle.
As you apply the above 3 steps, you need to ensure that you’re not then compensating outside of these cardio sessions. So, to avoid this possible compensation from impeding your belly fat loss, you need to control and monitor 3 variables. First, your step count. Second, you need to be adhering to a regular weightlifting routine. And lastly, you need to monitor and control your calorie intake and ensure that you’re still adhering to a calorie deficit.
Now the last step here has to do with maintaining your new physique. Find a routine or hobby that you can now stick to that’ll enable you to maintain your new bodyweight and physique with ease.
Here’s a summary of what I’ve covered on how much cardio is needed to burn belly fat:
Step 1 (Baseline): Start at a low baseline level of cardio.
Step 2 (Increase): In gradual increments, increase the duration/difficulty of your weekly cardio sessions every time you reach a plateau.
Step 3 (Control): Control all other variables and keep them consistent (weights routine, daily steps, calorie intake) to avoid compensating for your cardio sessions.
Step 4 (Maintain): After you’ve successfully stripped off the belly fat, find a routine that’ll enable you to maintain your new bodyweight and physique.
Just keep in mind that you need to be pairing your cardio routine with a regular weightlifting routine and a solid nutrition plan, as these will both help speed up the process and ensure that you don’t just end up “skinny fat” by the end of your fat loss journey. And for a step by step plan that shows you exactly how to do this by optimizing your workouts, nutrition, and cardio plan for you such that you can lean down as efficiently as possible with science, just like countless of our members have done with their Built With Science programs, then simply take the analysis quiz below to discover which specific program is best for your body and where it’s currently at:
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*The scientific contents of this video have been proof-read and verified by published researcher Dr. K Rayani, PhD in Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology
Filmed by: Bruno Martin Del Campo
MODEL OF ENERGY EXPENDITURE