I want to let you in on a little secret. I have learned this as a result of being overweight for years (decades actually) and finally winning the battle of the bulge. I lost over 50 lbs in 5 months and ended up with that awesome six pack all guys dream about. (And yes, girls also want that firm, flat, sexy stomach.)

The secret that I want to share with you is about how cardio can be used correctly or incorrectly as part of a fat loss program. Even some personal trainers get this wrong, so don't feel bad if you've been making this mistake. Since fat loss is overwhelmingly about calories in versus calories out, the name of the game when it comes to fat loss (notice it's FAT loss and not just weight loss) is calorie deficit. In order for your body to be forced to use stored fat for energy, it must not be getting enough energy from the food you eat. Simple enough, right?

Eat less than what you need, and your body will grab the remaining energy it needs from your stored body fat. Cool. So what does that have to do with cardio exercise for fat loss? The issue with cardio for fat loss is that most people fall into one of two "camps" on this subject. One camp believes in the high levels of cardio exercise for fat loss, like doing cardio 5 to 6 days a week for about 60 minutes each time. The other camp totally disowns cardio as part of any fat loss regimen.

See the problem? These two schools of thought are at opposite extremes of each other. Who are you going to believe? What are YOU going to do? How can will you decide what is right?

Here's the secret to help you out.

Yes, fat loss is all about keeping your eye on the energy equation. You simply must take in slightly less than you need in order to establish that caloric deficit. This is true. And yes, exercise (in all forms) help raise the energy output so that you are working on creating that deficit. The secret is that diet (calorie restriction) and exercise must be combined together to form a plan in achieving that caloric deficit that will trigger your fat loss.

Trying to create a caloric deficit through diet alone will make it so that you are taking in very low calories. Oftentimes, calorie intakes that are too low will work against you as your metabolism begins to downregulate. At some point, you will plateau. By using exercise as part of your energy equation, you will allow a much higher calorie intake while still maintaining the same calorie deficit. Make sense? And the most important reason for exercising is that along the way, you will be increasing your level of conditioning.

By the end of your fat loss program, you will be in shape and ready to continue on in maintenance mode very easily because you can exercise regularly, no problem. If you had not used exercise (cardio or otherwise) as part of your fat loss program, you might lose the weight but then struggle to keep it off since you are not being active. Being active will do wonders for not only your waistline, but your entire lifestyle as well. And you don't even have to join a gym if you don't want to. You can simply set up an inexpensive home gym and exercise to your hearts content right from home.

Author's Bio: 

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