Ask an expert

21 Jan 2009

not loosing weight with cardio
I stopped smoking about a year ago and have picked up lots of weight. I am now exercising and not seeing any results.

I do a hour cardio every day and eat healthy, but still no results.
I am not expecting results in a flash, but after 3 weeks of cardio i should have atleast lost 1kg or 2.

I eat 6 small meals a day, drink lots of water and i am on the run all day long.

Please let me know what i should do.
Answer 363 views

01 Jan 0001

Hi there

Not necessarily, you might be setting the wrong goal for yourself, because a lot of people find that they don't lose weight in the first 4 to 6 weeks. It's quite difficult actually, to do this, because you'll be gaining muscle at the same time and if you simply weigh yourself, you miss the changes.

Other than this, which i explain more below, it's impossible to say because I don't know what you're doing in training, or how it's going. So I can only speak in general terms.

In terms of diet, be aware that people often subconsciously increase the energy intake when training harder. Let's say you train harder and use a few hundred more calories a day - you have a little more to eat or drink, and it means that the balance is still there as if you didn't train harder. I am not saying you should count calories, I think that is risky and hazardous at best, but I would say be aware of what you are eating. The other thing that often happens, is that because you are now exercising every day, you might take it a little easier during the rest of the day. In otherwords, you may be a little less active outside of the gym, either because you are subconsciously trying to save energy, or because you are actually very tired from training and don't get around as much. Either way, you are likely to use less energy, and that may even cancel out the effect of training.

Finally, the most likely issue - any form of training will increase muscle mass. People seem to have a conception that weight training causes muscle mass to rise, and cardio training burns fat. While this is largely true, you must remember that there is considerable overlap. So, let's say you are cycling, this means that if you are cycling along at 90 revs per minute this basically means that you are doing 90 contractions of the muscle per minute. Do this for 10 minutes and you have 900 muscle contractions, and so even though the force per contraction is low, you will still build some muscle. What i am saying is that even though you are not doing only weight training, it's still feasible that you will gain some muscle by doing cardio.

Very importantly though, this is nothing to worry about. In fact, it's a good thing, and I guess the bottom line is that you must really focus on how fit you are, how you are feeling and perhaps how you are looking, rather than on the scale. Even aiming for centimeters can be misleading, especially early on, because it takes much longer and can be a little bit of a futile and very frustrating goal. So my advice is really to go for fitness - try to get faster and fitter on those cardio sessions and the results will take care of themselves.

Good luck
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.