If you can’t lose weight no matter how hard you train, this article will show you why you’re doing cardio but gaining weight.
You could be wondering why despite all the efforts you are putting in, you aren’t losing any weight.
Your jeans and blouses seem a bit tighter than they were, yet you exercise every day.
What could possibly be going on?
Below are possible reasons why you’re doing cardio but gaining weight.
Why You Are Doing Cardio But Gaining Weight
1. Are You Overdoing It?
Cardio may be fun and easy, especially when you plug in your earphones and tune in to the music.
However, doing it every day is counteractive.
You need rest days, where you can let your body recover.
Too much cardio leads to muscle loss. As you may know, your body needs muscle to burn fat faster.
Cardio workouts should be done three times a week, for 20-30 minutes depending on if it’s low intensity or high intensity.
Look out for these cardio overtraining symptoms.
2. What’s Your Post Workout Beverage?
Many post-workout drinks are loaded with sugar and sweeteners.
A few sips of your post-workout drink can make you gain back all the calories you burnt in your cardio workout.
What can you do to ensure you don’t consume extra calories after working so hard?
Take Kale or green smoothies. They are high in nutrients and low in calories.
Also, try these after-workout smoothies.
You could also prepare protein shakes from scratch with the ingredients in your home.
Low-fat plain yogurt, with nuts or seeds like peanuts, are healthy alternatives.
3. Your Workouts Are Not Intense Enough
Most of us associate cardio with treadmill, jogging, staircase or stationary bicycling but are they sufficient to keep off weight gain?
Well, you can make these workouts more rewarding by increasing your intensity. How can you do this?
By carrying dumbbells while doing cardio, moving or running faster, decreasing the rest period intervals, and using supersets.
Exercising at high intensity allows you to burn calories hours after your workout.
4. Are You Overeating?
How many calories are you consuming in a day?
As many of us know, you can’t lose weight without maintaining a calorie deficit.
You create a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories than your daily recommended caloric intake.
If your recommended calorie intake is 2,000 calories, eat 300 – 800 fewer calories.
Eat more vegetables, legumes, and fruits. They are low in calories, high in fiber and keep you fuller longer.
Find a nutritionist who can help you plan your diet to help you stick to your daily requirements or use our simple diet plans.
5. You are Overeating on Cheat Days
Cheat days are important because you get to reward yourself with a simple treat for staying motivated and focused.
Unfortunately, most people use cheat days to eat whatever they want and as much as they want.
This undoes all the progress you’ve with from your cardio workouts.
As I explain in this article, cheat days are one of the main reasons most people can’t lose weight.
Luckily, you can avoid cheat-days-sabotage by having healthier snacks or food options for cheat days.
In cases where you plan to indulge in desserts like cakes and ice cream, watch your portions.
6. Are You Drinking Enough Water?
Water is essential for maintaining the normal physiological processes in your body.
It is also a great weight loss tool. Many studies show that increasing water intake enhances weight loss.
Aim to drink at least 2 liters of water a day.
There are water consumption apps like Hydro Coach, Waterlogged etc. that can help figure how your water intake should be like.
Adjust your water intake depending on your level of activity.
If you do 1-hour cardio workouts, drink at least 3 liters a day to compensate for the sweat loss and mild dehydration you experience.
Water also works as an appetite suppressant and prevents bloating.
7. You Could Be Stressed
Stress is associated with weight gain because it leads to an increase in the hormone cortisol, which increases your appetite.
This could lead to cravings that will make you feel hungry and make you eat more.
Besides, cardio in itself makes you hungrier than you anticipate.
If this happens, there is no need to worry.
Just eat more lean protein, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. These are healthy options to keep you happy and sated without compromising your fitness plan.
8. Are You Getting Enough Quality Sleep?
Research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology states that women who are deprived of sleep are more likely to gain 33 more pounds of weight over a period of 16 years as opposed to those who slept for 7-8 hours of sleep.
Surprisingly, a study published for the Endocrine Society stated that losing 30 minutes of sleep can lead to weight gain.
You should sleep for 7-8 hours a night. Create a bedtime routine that ensures you get the recommended hours of sleep.
If you suffer from insomnia, use these strategies to sleep better.
9. The Numbers on the Scale Can Be Misleading
Sometimes we are so obsessed with the numbers on the scale we forget to see the small gains we make throughout the process.
You may weigh heavier than you did before you started cardio but made improvements in other areas.
Things like muscle definition, loose clothes, increased energy levels, and a smaller waistline is signs of progress.
Don’t focus on the scale alone. Track your body fat percentage and take before and after photos.
10. Not taking Supplements
Not all supplements are bad.
Some provide nutrients you may not be getting from the food you consume.
Supplements are not diet pills. They are just aides that provide an extra boost.
Supplements like BCAAs, whey protein, and fiber supplements can help you lose weight.
BCAAs and whey protein are great because they provide protein that helps build muscle and prevent catabolism (muscle loss).
Cardio combined with supplements ensures quick post-workout recovery, optimal performance, and high energy levels.
11. Could be having a Medical Condition
Some medical conditions like diabetes, thyroid disorders that make it harder to lose weight.
If you have a thyroid problem, it’s best to have it checked out by an endocrinologist.
Medications like birth control pills or steroid drugs can be making you gain weight unknowingly.
For birth control medications, you could try non-hormonal alternatives like copper implants, patch or talk to a gynecologist.
Some autoimmune diseases require steroids as treatment and are under prescription. It’s best to wait till you are done with your treatment to see if there will be any change.
12. Your Genes May Be the Problem
Genes play a role in metabolism.
People with ‘bad’ genes may have a harder time losing weight despite doing cardio for hours.
However, don’t use your genes as an excuse for not losing weight. Research is clear that habits and behavior are the key weight loss factors, not genes.
Instead of blaming your genes, use this weight loss plan to lose weight and keep it off.
It doesn’t matter if your parents or grandparents were overweight, you can lose fat if you follow the advice in this program.
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