How Cardio can Be Counterproductive to Fat Loss in Women

You might be wondering right now how cardiovascular training could possibly be counterproductive to fat loss in women when the general impression amongst fitness enthusiasts might suggest otherwise.

Well, to add a bit more context to this statement, if you are a woman looking to lose body fat and you rely only on aerobic or cardiovascular workout with very little or no weight, resistance or strength training to add muscle mass, you may actually be doing yourself more harm than good in your efforts to lose fat.

While you give this claim some thought or maybe even doubt it, we will reveal to you five reasons why cardio alone is not suitable for women looking to burn body fat.

But first, it is important for you to understand that this post is not designed to discredit cardio training in any way, far from it.

Cardio is actually very important to keeping fit, staying healthy, and in building your endurance levels. However, cardio is not as effective as many may assume if used as a means to achieving fat loss goals.

As a matter of fact, there are studies on the effectiveness of cardio only training in women looking to shed body fat and the general consensus is that a cardio workout on its own would not provide significant fat loss results in women.

This article will highlight those five reasons why you might not get the fat loss results you desire from engaging in just cardio training.

Why Cardio Training may Adversely affect Fat Loss in Women

Now you may be wondering how your cardio training could possibly be detrimental to your fat loss ambitions. Well, you might want to consider these five issues with regards to cardio for weight loss.

Cardio Training doesn’t necessarily help you Burn as much Calories as Expected

The expectation from most women when they engage in cardio training is that they will burn enough calories to stimulate fat loss.

However, this is not necessarily true, as your body adapts and conditions itself to the stress levels exerted on it through your cardio training.

So the harder you engage in cardio workout, the less strain you are likely to feel over time, and the more efficient your body will be in converting body fat to energy.

The economical conversion of body fat to meet your energy needs is a function of your body adjusting to the demands of your cardio training by ensuring that you are never in any danger of running out of fat reserves that could be used in meeting your daily energy requirements.

However, the consequence of the economic conversion of body fat to energy is the slow rate of fat burning. In addition to this, your level of satiety is increased to the level where you could overeat to replace the calories lost in your cardio training, and this in itself could be detrimental to your fat loss desires.

Your Cardio Training is a recipe for Increased Satiety

There is a misconception that your appetite is suppressed whenever you engage in cardio exercise. While this may be true for male individuals, the same cannot be said for female folk.

Cardio training in women has the effect of increasing appetite. With your appetite going through the roof, you are also more than likely to overeat after an intense cardio workout session which can increase your calorie count and promote fat gain in the process.

Essentially, you may perform intense cardio training which leads to greater fatigue and you eat more than ever with the consequence of experiencing insignificant fat loss results.

Cardio Training can be Addictive which Could be a Bad Thing

Do you know that when you work out, your body releases some natural opioids?
People call it having a “runner’s high” which causes you to want to keep training regardless of your body raising red flags and signaling that you need to take time off for rest and recovery.

The problem with the “runner’s high” is that you tend to ignore your body in favor of pushing yourself to train harder and for longer periods.

Avoidable injuries can curtail your cardio for weight loss efforts by keeping you grounded for an extended length of time.

The frustration of your injury may also exacerbate the situation by making you less than committed to your dietary choices which could greatly hinder your fat loss goals.

Metabolic Adaptation can limit your Fat Loss Goal

Many women believe that the best way to lose body fat quickly is to maintain a calorie deficit diet and engage in high-intensity cardio training at the same time. But the reality of doing this is that your body switches to metabolic adaptation mode.

This is where your body recognizes that you are giving it fewer calories for energy while you still demand more from it through cardio training. To compensate for this situation, your body brings down your core temperature making you feel cooler than usual during your sustained calorie deficit diet.

This is your body’s way of conserving energy not just for your cardio training, but also to keep you alive. With your core temperature dropping rather than rising, your metabolism is slowed to a point where you will not experience intense thermogenesis that could prompt your body to achieve quick homeostasis which could ultimately hasten the lipolysis (fat-burning) process.

The EPOC effects of Cardio Training are often Overrated

As your body recovers from an intense cardio training session or goes through a process known as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC for short.

During this process, your body attempts to achieve a state of rest by restoring your oxygen reserves, eliminating lactic acid buildup in your skeletal muscles, and repairing damaged muscle tissues at the same time.

It is assumed that during the EPOC process which may last for 48 hours, you will burn excess calories. However, studies have shown that this is not necessarily the case and indeed the amount of calories you burn at this stage is often overrated.

If you are looking to burn body fat, you should not ignore your nutrition by just sticking to a calorie deficit while on a high-intensity cardio training regimen, as there is no guarantee that you will lose as much fat as expected, but as a consequence of a poor diet and nutrition, you would have compromised on your overall health which is not cool.


As you can see, the cardio training you think would help you in achieving your fat loss goals may not necessarily be that effective. However, that is not to say that cardio isn’t great for your overall health and well-being.

Cardio for weight loss in women is just not as effective as you may have thought and may be hindering your efforts to achieve fat loss.

If you have achieved your fat loss goals, then performing a daily cardio routine could prove useful in helping you to sustain your new weight.

Also, remember that by not maintaining a calorie deficit, you will not stimulate metabolic adaptation. What this means is that you could experience a greater metabolism which triggers the thermogenesis process where your core body temperature is increased leading to greater perspiration to restore homeostasis and the constant increase and cooling effect of your body would go a long way in promoting the lipolysis or fat burning process.

If you need more information on the effects of cardio training on fat loss and any other related inquiries, you can contact an IFBB PRO for free at Anabolic Coach today.

Leave a Reply

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