Yeah, you…sipping on your Gatorade right now while you’re doing your steady state low intensity cardio.
STOP IT!! STOP NOW!
Now let me tell you why you are doing yourself a huge disservice in your weight loss journey. A 32 oz. bottle of Gatorade has approximately 50 grams of sugar in it. The second name on the ingredient list is SUGAR, and I bet you thought you were just getting a nice big bottle full of electrolytes to help hydrate and replenish your body. If you’re looking to burn fat and you’re wanting to lose weight, drinking a 32 oz. Gatorade during your workout will likely just put all those calories back that you burned. If you’re a marathon runner or a crazy Ironman athlete, then by all means guzzle that Gatorade. You deserve it. But, if you’re at the gym (or home gym) trying to lose weight and get in shape then please just drink some water. Ironically enough, the vast majority of people consuming sports drinks such as this one are not athletes (which is what it was initially created and intended for). Yes, it is still less sugar than a soda, but it clearly isn’t your healthiest option.
So now, let’s get a little scientific. Gatorade contains electrolytes. Electrolytes are substances that produce an electrically conducting solution when dissolved in water. They carry a charge and are essential for life. Electrolytes regulate our nerve and muscle function, our body’s hydration, blood pH, blood pressure, and the rebuilding of damaged tissue. So basically this means that our bodies need them to function properly. Some of the electrolytes in our bodies include sodium, potassium, and magnesium. There are more, but these are the most common and ones that most everyone knows. And guess what?? Gatorade has these electrolytes in it. So of course we think it’s great for us. But I think we already covered that it’s not the best choice, drink-wise, for our bodies. You can actually get these essential electrolytes from real foods that you eat. Like bananas? You’re getting potassium in those. Was there spinach in your salad at lunch? You got a dose of magnesium there! Did you eat anything at all today? Then you probably got a nice dose of sodium. There aren’t many food choices that don’t include this mineral. Plus, if you’re eating frozen TV dinners, fast food, or canned food, then you’re probably getting an exorbitant amount of sodium in your diet. Too much sodium can also be a big problem health-wise, but that’s a topic for another day. Anyhow, the bottom line is that your body does need these electrolytes to function. Your body, however, will get them just fine in foods without needing to drink any sports drinks. To put this all in basic terms, just drink water. It will hydrate you during a workout. There are a zillion other benefits of beefing up your water intake, but I’ll just let you Google those yourself.
Now let’s get back to the Gatorade sipping and steady state low intensity cardio…
I think we already beat the dead horse that is Gatorade, so let’s move on to cardio shall we? And I will remind you, take of this post what you will. Here’s my pre-cardio talk disclaimer:
The below opinions on cardiovascular activity are derived from my own knowledge and experience. If you wish to continue running marathons or you simply just enjoy running your ass off for two hours a day, then please continue. You really will run your ass off. So, if that’s your goal- Congrats!!
At this point, you’re still on the treadmill, leisurely walking, but minus the sports drink. So we’ve won one battle. Let’s amp up that speed a little bit, maybe even put the treadmill on a bit of an incline. Now we’re in business. Now we can consider losing some weight. And if you’re really serious about this cardio business, and using it as a weight loss tool, then let’s add in some HIIT (high intensity interval training). Before we go into what exactly this entails, let’s just talk about the basics of using cardio for weight loss. The bottom line is that the more cardio you do, the more cardio you’ll have to do to make it effective in aiding in your weight loss plan. This is why- if you jog for 40 minutes everyday, then your body is eventually going to get used to doing it. It will become easier for you, and if you’re trying to use it to help with your un-diet diet, then you’ll have to jump up to jogging longer for effectiveness. That being said, really and truly the majority of your weight loss is going to be reached through diet. Yes, DIET- not “running your ass off”. So, get your food situation in order and then let’s talk about adding cardio to give yourself a boost. Make sense? I hope so.
Now, what the heck is a HIIT interval? It’s simple quick bursts of exercise where you give 100% effort, which are followed by short (sometimes active) recovery periods. This type of training will get your heart rate up and keep it up, which is great for fat burning. Also, most HIITs tend to be 30 minutes or less, so your time spent on cardio is pretty short. Another perk? No equipment needed except some sneakers. So what are some HIIT options?
- Alternate sprinting with brisk walking
- Jump squats (go all out for 20 or 30 seconds, then rest for 10 before repeating. Cycle a few times.)
- Watch a Tabata video on Youtube and follow along (this is great HIIT)
Honestly, your options for HIIT are endless. You can turn many exercises into interval training, you just need to get creative. So if you don’t have goals of completing a triathlon or anything long distance that will require endurance training, then give this type of cardio a shot and see how it helps with your journey. But remember, you won’t get anywhere unless you take a good look at what you’re putting into your mouth. You really can’t outrun a bad diet.
Now, drop the Gatorade and get your sweat on!