July 25, 2014

Cardio Training, Enemy of Fat Loss?

Is cardio good for thigh slimming regime?When I was researching for some scientific facts to write an article about whether resistance training is better than cardio training for losing fat from your thighs, I could not believe how the exercise community is divided on this issue.

Many professionals still recommend that the most efficient way of losing fat from your thighs is by performing a moderately-paced cardio exercise on a treadmill, elliptic machine or stepper with aim to get in a certain target heart rate for 30-40 minutes, several times a week.

It is true that such workout will help you burn calories; however it might be counterproductive to burning fat. To transform your thighs into slim, yet toned and lean thighs, you need to lose any excessive body fat. And cardio training may not be the most effective way to achieve that.

Why can cardio be detrimental to your thigh firming program?

  1. Long duration and lower intensity aerobics call upon your stored body fat for energy during the workout. Where’s the problem, you might think. The research has shown that this can actually cause your body to create more body fat in reserve after the workout, to have it ready for your next workout.
  2. Even worst – this type of exercise, if it’s done frequently trains your cardiovascular system to be efficient. While this might sound like something good, it actually reduces ability of your heart and lungs to handle stress. Working more efficiently while performing long duration, low intensity aerobic workout translates in actual reducing of the capacity of your lungs and heart. Not being able to cope with stress can also lead to other problems, such as heart attack. Because you are working only within your current aerobic capacity your body is never challenged beyond its capabilities. And because your workout is easy it will not yield results even close to what’s challenging for your body to accomplish. You should be challenging your body to increase its capacity so that it will become stronger and able to deal with stress more easily. I explained how to make your body stronger in my previous article ‘What Beats Cardio in Fat Loss?

So, if all this is true, why are cardio trainings still recommended?

Cardio or cardiovascular training has many benefits. Already the name will tell you that it’s good for you, for your heart and lungs. The key is to think about cardio training as part of your overall workout program, not as a standalone type of exercise that you do few times a week for 30-40min. If you like running, think about running in intervals; exchanging between sprints and fast paced running. Make it intense and short, and then move on to your resistance training. Or choose a cardio workout that combines, strengthening and conditioning at the same time, such as kickboxing.

In conclusion, resistance training brings better and faster results in fat loss. However that doesn’t mean you should exclude your cardio training completely from your thigh firming program. Like anything else in life, the key is to find a balance, mix it up to get maximum results from both types of workout regimes.


  1. hm…point 2 really makes me wonder…i was attending step aerobics classes for over a year…and thought i’m on the right track to lose some fat

  2. Hey Damir,

    the problem is not every aerobic exercise; only the ones that are not intensive enough. If your step class is high in intensity and you give all you have while exercising, I’m sure you will see the benefits from your workout soon. But try to incorporate resistance training in your workout routines, at least 2 times a week. You will get better and faster results.

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