September and January. The two key months (in most cases) for people to join the gym or start exercising with the idea of ​​losing weight. And always, or almost always, people usually opt for the same strategy: cardio sessions on a treadmill, elliptical or bicycle.

Is cardio the ideal solution to lose weight ? Is it really as effective as people think? In recent times have been emerging currents and thoughts that say that traditional cardio may not be the solution when losing weight and there would be better alternatives.

Why do people usually choose the race when they start exercising?

In general, people who want to start exercising and lose weight choose to go for a run since they look for something simple and affordable to their pockets and that is why it is one of the most used options. However, what might seem like something simple and affordable for all budgets (people may think they just need a pair of running shoes), actually it is not.

Running and caloric expenditure

A factor to take into account when running is the caloric expenditure, although we usually sin in the estimates and tend to think that we spend more calories than we are really burning.

Despite being a training protocol not recommended for people who are overweight (due to the high impact that joints would suffer and cardiovascular risk), HIIT has proven to be more effective in burning fat and, therefore, in losing weight.

Main problems when starting to run

Undoubtedly, as we have said before, there are certain aspects to consider before starting to run and that in view of the latest results, few people take into account (and yet are vital to our health):

  • Stress test : this is undoubtedly the most important aspect to consider. Performing a stress test before starting physical activity helps us to know our thresholds of effort and avoid scares that can lead to serious health problems or, even as has unfortunately already happened, deaths during popular races. Its cost if you place from 80 euros depending on the place where we do it.
  • Study of the tread : to run, the most important part after our heart is our feet, and therefore we must take care of them properly. Through a study of the treadwe can see what is our way of treading (if we tread more with the inside, with the outside or we have neutral tread) and in this way to choose the best type of shoe. Its price ranges around 100-120 euros, without counting that we may need special templates.In addition, with the study of the tread we can prevent problems in the knees or hip , since we must not forget that our whole body works like a chain and a problem in the tread can lead to problems at neck level (for example An example).
  • And another expense that we should also take into account if we have never run is that of a personal trainer who teaches us a correct career technique to avoid running with bad postures, step on the wrong way, swing your arms well when running … And this Spending can be around 40-50 euros per month (at least, depending on the type of coach we look for). In addition, today with the proliferation of accessories and apps to run the expense that we initially thought were only going to be some shoes, we can shoot a lot .

Is it always optimal when losing weight?

Now, running as a means of weight loss presents a question that is repeated again and again: is it optimal for weight loss ? A priori we might think so, but we must clarify that it depends on each person: for example, to begin to perform cardio with a person who presents a severe picture of overweight or obesity , would not be the most indicated first, for his lack of cardiorespiratory resistance, and second because of the problems that the impact of the footprint would cause for its articulations.

Once clarified that we must study each case to know whether or not to run the best option to lose weight, we must point out that traditional cardio can be a good way to lose weight for a while , since the body will produce adaptations and, as the time and training, we will need more career time to burn calories, so it will be necessary to change the methodology.

Overweight people: benefits and harms of the race

When we discuss the issue of sports and overweight, we must bear in mind that overweight people may not be able to perform all kinds of exercises due to their pathology, and therefore we must adapt the exercise to their conditions and limitations. In the case of the race, the first thing that we should evaluate is the degree of overweight that the person has in order to see if we can start the race or we must perform another type of training aimed at losing weight until we can introduce the race in our routine

Therefore, to talk about the harms and benefits of the race we should first see what is the degree of overweight of the person. Therefore, and taking into account the classification of the Spanish Society for the Study of Obesity (SEEDO) , we have the following levels of overweight / obesity :

18’5-24’9 NORMOPESO

We must point out that although the classification based on the BMI has been critical in recent years because it does not take into account the particularities of each person (for example, a bodybuilder this classification would classify as obese and are athletes with percentages of fat below 10%), it can serve as an approximation and orientation.

Therefore, taking into account the different degrees of overweight, cardiovascular exercise for those who were overweight type II or higher would be initially discouraged by the risks involved, and for those who presented a type I overweight box I would recommend it in a moderate way and if it can be, supervised and controlled by a personal trainer specialized in overweight and obese people .

Of course, training models such as HIIT would be totally contraindicated for overweight people (and even more so with obesity) due to the force generated when stepping on if we are overweight or obese and that absorb our joints, which can lead to injuries .

Benefits of the race

  • Increase in caloric expenditure : Obviously, for an overweight person the race will mean an increase in caloric expenditure , which will translate into an increase in energy expenditure (do not forget that stored fat is, in its origin, a source of energy).
  • End of sedentary lifestyle : normally, people with obesity are usually sedentary people , so the race will mean the end of this “model of life” and will give way to a more active model.
  • Activation of metabolism : the introduction of physical exercise in the lifestyle of a sedentary person, will allow it to activate and accelerate your metabolism , which in the long run will favor weight loss.

Damages of the race

  • Impact on the joints : for an overweight person, introducing him directly to the active career can mean that we destroy his joints due to the biomechanical impact on them (being overweight the impact generated in the landing phase will be greater, which for joints would be dangerous).
  • Lack of physical condition : which can lead to more serious problems. An overweight person is totally lacking in physical form , so before introducing him to cardiovascular exercise we must carry out a previous conditioning with other types of exercises ( strength training, cardiovascular exercise in bicycle or elliptical gym ) so that we acquire a previous base and minimizing the risks.
  • Lumbar pain : if you have ever seen an overweight or obese person running, you will notice that they tend to run with the trunk slightly (in some cases exaggeratedly) leaning forward. This is due to the “extra weight” that abdominal fat supposes and that impels them to go “forward”, which in the long run can translate into an increase in pain at the lumbar level .

Other alternatives to lose weight and get fit

So if we are overweight or obese people and we want to get fit, what other alternatives do we have?

Changes of rhythm walking

For an overweight or obese person, one option that we can include in training is to make changes in rhythm while we walk . An example would be to start walking at a gentle pace for five minutes and for two minutes to accelerate the pace enough for us to notice that the body demands a little more. And repeat this sequence for 20 minutes for example.

As the days went by, we would reduce the time we spent walking at a slow pace and increasing the time we spent walking at a rapid pace, and little by little we could introduce periods of fast walking alternated with periods of light jogging.

HIPT trainings

No, I did not mean HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). The acronym HIPT corresponds to what is known as High Intensity Power Training, that is, High Intensity Strength Training .

This type of training is characterized by taking the structuring of HIIT workouts and performing with weights or muscle-building equipment. An exercise is done during X seconds or during X repetitions and either a rest period follows, or we link it with another exercise.

However, and given that in its original idea it is a high intensity exercise (and as we said at the beginning these protocols are contraindicated for overweight people), we should adapt this protocol for each person, in order to avoid the risks of high intensity exercise but at the same time combine it with the benefits of weight training.

We must point out that strength training has been shown to be highly effective in fat loss and body recomposition, so it can be a great alternative for overweight or obese people .