Cardio for Weight Loss: What, When, How



Cardio is a key component of any good workout program. Cardiovascular exercise (or better referred to aerobic exercise) trains our bodies to better utilize our aerobic energy system. It also helps us detox and can promote fat loss IF done the right way at the right time! Cardio is a great tool for weight loss! Here is all that you need to know!

What Is “Cardio” Exactly?

Cardiovascular exercise refers to a workout that is primarily fueled by our aerobic system. Before we go more in depth with the types of cardiovascular let’s talk a bit of science.

Our bodies have three major ways of generating energy: phosphogenic, glycolysis and aerobic. Our phosphogenic system is used for very quick burst of movements. It produces the most power using creatine in our muscle cells. This system generates energy fast but also fatigues very fast. 


Our glycolysis system uses liver and blood sugar to produce energy. It support short bursts of movement of 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Our phosphogenic and glycolysis system are used mostly when we are lifting weights and in quick bursts of action like sprinting!

Our aerobic system kicks in for longer work loads where there is a higher need for oxygen. A good example is a 30 minute jog. Our aerobic system is much more efficient as it can produce 32 ATPs (aka lots of energy!)

Our phosphagen and glycolysis systems are best trained with intervals (as those metabolic systems are used only during high-intensity activities). On the other hand our aerobic system can be trained with both continuous exercise and intervals. So cardio that involves both interval or steady state can trigger these energy systems.



❤️*Cardio Fun*💪 Here’s a fun alternate to add some #bootybuilding to your cardio! How it’s done: take the treadmill up to an incline of about 10 with a low speed, I think I chose around 1.5. Hold the handle bars and begin lunge walking. (I only have clients attempt this if they have good working knowledge of a stationary and walking lunge on the ground). I like to alternate this with jogging and/or intense high incline & high speed uphill walking👌. Happy Training everyone😄❤️——————————————— Check out my full on-line training program including eating plan, workouts and more. (I’m a registered holistic nutritionist & Master Trainer) at (link in my bio) ❤️——————————————–

A video posted by Lyzabeth Lopez (@lyzabethlopez) on

Types Of Cardio:

We can divide cardio into two major types: steady state (aka long distance) and interval training.

Steady state cardio is 20 to 60 minutes of exercise at the same work load without any rest. Steady state cardio relies on our aerobic system while interval training uses a mixture of the above mentioned energy systems.

Interval training is any type of cardio exercise that requires an all out burst of action followed by a rest period. It can be further broken down based on the style of training including windgates, tabatas, and fartlek training. The idea is to raise your high rate at, above or very close to its maximum during the period of activity, followed by a complete rest period (to allow for recovery).

Which Type Of Cardio Is Better For Weight Loss?

There are LOTS of opinions about which type of cardio is more useful for weight loss. However scientific studies have shown that interval training (HIITS) are far more effective! WHY? Because interval training raises our EPOC (post exercise oxygen consumption) more dramatically than steady state. This in turn means a higher metabolism (for up to 72 hours!)… which (as you have guessed i!) means more calories burnt and fat loss!

This is not to say that there is NO use for steady state cardio. Steady state cardio is VERY effective in the morning before you eat your first meal  and for those who cannot do hight intensity intervals due to a health condition or an injury.

So Which Type Of Cardio Should You Do More Often?

If you are NOT crushed on time, incorporate both!  But if you are limited in time and can only commit to an hour workout every day or so, stick to interval training (or HIITs). HIITs are much more efficient and effective than steady state cardio for weight loss (I use these quite a bit in my online program and in person sessions at Hourglass Workout)

Interval training or HIITs can be incorporated in ALL of your workouts in some way (about 3 to 5 days a week!). For example you can  incorporate a tabata drill in your weight training session (these is a classic drill in my trainwithlyzabeth program) or do sprint drills as a workout!

Interval training sessions can last anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes (again this is on and off, think 20 to 40 seconds of ALL out movement followed by 10 to 1 minute rest, back and forth). Steady state cardio, on the other hand, can be between 20 to 60 minutes (as it takes a while longer to tap into fat stores).

Is There Such A Thing As “Too Much Cardio”?

Yes, sure is! I recommend sticking to short HIIT sessions… only add in more cardio (like additional steady state days) if you are not seeing results. Remember cardio is a TOOL for weight loss not the answer. Doing too much cardio (think spending hours on a treadmill or stationary bike pedaling) can lead to muscle loss and a lower metabolism. Start with a good workout program that stimulates muscle and helps rev up your metabolism!

Also ensure to have your meals down before adding in any type of cardio! As I like to say you can’t outsmart a bad diet.

Got It! So When Should I Do My Cardio And For How Long?

There are a few ways which you can incorporate cardio into your workouts! Check out my chart below:

Cardio For Weight Loss


Share Post


Related Posts

3 thoughts on “Cardio for Weight Loss: What, When, How”

  1. Great post! Reinforces some things I heard of but wasn’t for sure about. Just out of curiosity what does “HITTs” stand for? The abbreviation I know of is “HIIT” for High Intensity Interval Training. Curious to know the difference!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Take my curve building curvey and get started


Just subscribe to my newsletter
to receive all fresh posts