Should You Increase Cardio Or Decrease Calories While Dieting?
When you hit a plateau with your weight loss, the first port of call might be to either increase cardio, or decrease your calories.
But is one option better than the other? Stick with me over the next few minutes as I’ll help you to discover the answer to that exact question!
So when you first started dieting you may have found that fat just melted away with ease. But as time ticked on progress began to slow and now it feels like your fat loss has ground to a halt. Maybe you can relate?
What worked before, doesn’t seem to be doing the trick anymore.
Now thankfully the solution to this problem might not be as complex as you think. And this slow down is a natural part of the process. Deciding to increase cardio or decrease calories could be the only tweak to your training and nutrition that you need to make in order to kickstart fat loss again.
So keep watching to find out which is the best option for you
Now as you may know…fat loss is driven by energy balance. A calorie deficit.
Consume fewer calories than your body burns and stored fat will be used for fuel resulting in an overall reduction in the amount of fat you have.
But although the principle is simple, practical application can be more challenging. And knowing what to do in certain circumstances can also be difficult.
Whether you choose to increase cardio or decrease calories to kickstart fat loss comes down to your individual situation. And there’s a few simple questions you can ask yourself to determine which option is best for you.
Less food. Sounds like a nightmare, right?
Now, you’re already eating fewer calories than you’d like, so the thought of reducing further may not exactly fill you with joy.
If that’s your first thought, then maybe it’s simply not the right option for you. Because enjoyment and adherence is a HUGE part of sustainable fat loss. If you choose to decrease further are you risking falling off the wagon and over eating due to an over restrictive diet?
Another aspect to consider is calorie capacity. If you’re already dieting on low calories, even lower calories may be impractical and increase the risk of nutrient deficiencies and health issues. So it’s important to think hard before making a decision that could effect your long term health and well being.
Having said this, if however you’re currently dieting on a relatively high calorie amount and have the room to reduce further, without cravings, getting hungry or risking your health then a 100-200 calorie reduction could be what you need to restart your fat loss journey.
Cardio. The dreaded C word!
Maybe you love it. Maybe you hate it. But there is no getting away from the fact that it’s a great tool in the right circumstances. And if cutting your calories isn’t for you, increasing cardio might be a better option.
Adding extra cardio into your training, or making a conscious effort to increase your daily steps will increase the number of calorie burnt. Therefore helping you to reach your calorie deficit.
My final thoughts on whether or not you should increase cardio or decrease calories whilst dieting is this…
Whether you increase cardio or decrease calories is a very individual decision. There’s no right, or wrong answer. Doing what feels best for you is often the best approach.
If you find yourself plateauing in your diet before cutting your calories or adding in more cardio ask yourself the following questions…
- Do you have a preference of either less calories or more cardio?
- Have you got enough calorie capacity to decrease those calories without depriving the body of the nutrients that it needs and risking long term health problems?
- Are you struggling with hunger and cravings on your current calories? If the answer to this is yes, chances are it will only get worse if you reduce your calories further.
- Is adding in more cardio an easier approach for you?
- Could you fit in more steps or increased activity somewhere into your daily routine?
Logically work your way through these questions and the answer as to whether you should increase your cardio or decrease your calories whilst dieting will become clear.
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