Cardio is what is responsible for making us feel better whenever we feel fatigued. Not only this, but when we are trying to lose weight or get into better shape, nothing gets us there more quickly than cardiovascular exercise. What do I mean by this?
From going for a long run to going for a brisk walk to biking, rowing, swimming or jumping rope; all of these activities are examples of various ways in which we can incorporate cardio exercise into our lives. A larger part of cardio exercise has to do with what you are doing when you are not exercising: your diet. Too often, you will see people (gym rats) who go to the gym religiously, every day, after work. You will see them on the treadmills and elliptical machines running, walking or spinning their way into a sweat-induced frenzy. Yet, after a period of time, you will notice that you do not see any results in their physical appearance having altered at all. Why is this? Why haven’t they made any headway in their physical progress?
The simplest answer to that question is that it has to do with their lifestyle outside of the gym. Anyone can go to the gym and hit the treadmill for an extended period of time, exerting themselves, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will lose the weight that they are aiming to lose if they aren’t eating properly or getting enough rest outside of this. People short change themselves without even being aware of it. There are those who go to the gym and exercise until they see that the machine has told them how many calories they have burned. Once they reach a desired caloric amount, they stop, leave the gym and enjoy that hamburger that they have been waiting for all day. They feel as if they deserve it for all of the hard work that they have just put in on the treadmill!
This is the wrong attitude to have, but sadly, it is one that many Americans have adopted. Your fitness goals (if your goal is to eat healthier and maintain an optimal physical physique), should not be to work out so that you can eat. Rather, there should be a balance where eating should be almost like a second full time job- but one that you enjoy. You should be excited about wanting to live in a healthy body and wanting to take care of yourself. It is alright to give into treats every now and then. If anything, it is health and encouraged so that you can avoid binge eating later on.
Work on changing your mindset about fitness and learn to discipline yourself if you ever want to lose that excess weight and keep it off. Learn how to hold yourself back from eating certain foods that are bad for you and really think through the consequences. The immediate gratification sure may taste great, but is it worth it in the long run?
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