Several years ago (on yet another quest to lose weight) I made a plan. I would burn 3,500 calories each week. This, as you may know, is the amount of calories it is supposed to take to lose a pound. Easy, right? Well, not really.
I dutifully suited up in my best work-out duds and hit the gym every day. I bounced from one cardio machine to the next – eliptical, treadmill, stationary bike and stairclimber – repeat. I loved seeing the glowing red calorie tracking device climb to what felt like what would finally deliver my results. 100 calories, 200 calories, 300 calories – oh my! I could feel the progress happening…until…I stepped on the scale. No change. What? How could this happen? This went on for a while.
I eventually called my sister and shared my fitness woes. She listened patiently, as she always does, and then said well, “it sounds like you might need to take a look at your diet”. What? Me? A self-proclaimed healthy eater? I eat healthy -this was never a question.
Oh, but it was. She was, once again, right. I took some time to examine my nutrition plan and immediately found some of my pitfalls: chips, brownies, sports snacks and beer…the list goes on.
I learned some important lessons during my time as a Cardio Queen. Cardio is important but it isn’t the whole picture when it comes to increasing your fitness level and losing weight. The tangible nature of calorie counters can be seductive and exciting. Don’t let those glowing numbers on your treadmill fool you, they are but a piece of the fitness puzzle. Strength training and a better nutrition plan have kicked my fitness and health into hyperdrive in ways that my lovely Eliptical never could. The New York Times had a recent article on this topic.
Ultimately, I handed over my Cardio Queen crown, but received much more in the way of better health and fitness in the end. I hope you can remember that cardio is only part of the picture of health and fitness, don’t let it overshadow other avenues to your fitness and weight loss goals.
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