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How Much Cardio to Lose Weight?

girl in running shoesThere is so much confusion out there about how much cardio you should do to lose weight. Some say you need to be doing it every single day. Some say twice a day, and some even say you don’t have to do it at all. So then, who’s right? Let’s break it down and see if we can clarify the question.

How Much is REQUIRED to Lose Weight?

Short answer – absolutely none. Am I recommending that you do zero cardio to lose weight? Absolutely not. However, from a strictly physiological standpoint, cardiovascular training is not required at all to lose weight. Don’t think so? Try not eating anything for a week while you are completely sedentary. Obviously, in time, you will wilt to nothing.

As health and fitness individuals we aren’t just trying to lose weight. We are trying to spare muscle tissue (or build some) while we drop our body fat. Sometimes that means we lose weight, but sometimes that means our weight stays the same while our body composition changes. The only way to know what’s really going on is to measure with body fat calipers. Either way, the question shouldn’t be how much cardio to lose weight, but instead – how much cardio to lose fat?

How Much Cardio to Lose Weight (Fat)?

Strictly speaking, as with all things fitness related, it’s going to depend. However, there are a few guidelines I like to follow that I think are good catch-alls for most people.

  • If you have a sedentary job, it’s a good idea to do cardio.
  • If your strength training workouts aren’t high intensity, it’s a good idea to do cardio.
  • If reaching your desired goal means you have to eat below your BMR, it’s a good idea to do cardio.

In other words, if all you do is work out for 30 minutes and then sit behind a desk at your job, you’re going to want to get more active. Remember, part of living a health and fitness lifestyle means being active. Get up and move around. I personally use my BodyMedia FIT Armband and try to hit a step number every day (10,000). Before I wore the armband, I was only getting in around 5,000 steps at the most each day, and that included my workouts. Since I’m behind this computer most of the day, my wife and I added in short walks at night just to get in a little extra activity. Every little bit helps.

The same goes for if your strength training workouts aren’t that intense. Most people forget that strength training and cardio don’t have to be two separate, mutually exclusive activities. Cardio is short for cardiovascular training. If you are pushing yourself hard during your workouts, additional cardio like running or biking is not always necessary. My weight training days are very strength-based, so I don’t get as much cardiovascular training as I’d like. Because of this, I throw in some sprint work between sets or some form of agility training, like the agility ladder.

Finally, if hitting your weight loss goal of say 2 pounds/week means that you would need to eat below your BMR, you should instead eat more food and do additional cardio work (eat more, move more). Let’s take a look at my go-to equation (The Katch-McArdle Formula) for determining an accurate BMR:

BMR = 370 + (21.6 * LBM)

LBM is your lean body mass in kg. I like this equation because most others don’t take into account body composition. As muscle is more metabolically active than fat, I believe this formula is much more accurate. So, let’s break down an example for someone who is 150lbs at 20% body fat. Someone at those stats has 30lbs of fat (150lbs * 20%bf = 30lbs). Subtract those 30lbs from their weight, and you get 150lbs – 30lbs = 120lbs of lean body mass.

Next, take that number and convert it to kg. So 120lbs / 2.2 = 55kg of lean body mass. Now we just plug those numbers into the Katch-McArdle formula above:

BMR = 370 + (21.6 * 55) = 1558 calories

If reaching your weight loss goal means you have to eat less than 1558 calories to maintain your weight loss pace, it’s a much better idea to at least eat your BMR and create your deficit with additional cardio. Eating below your BMR is a sure way to lose muscle and stall your weight loss.

Determining Your Cardio Requirements

Now that you know if you should be doing cardio or not, let’s briefly cover how much cardio you should do to lose weight. I recommend that you do the least amount that is necessary to reach both your exercise goals AND your body composition goals. If you have goals to improve your cardiovascular fitness, or to have a faster 5k time, your training is going to need to reflect that. If you’re just trying to maintain your cardiovascular fitness while dropping body fat, you won’t need as much. Whatever your goals, be efficient with it. The reasons are several-fold:

  • In a hypo-caloric environment it is much easier to over-train.
  • The few calories and nutrients you’re ingesting are needed to support muscle tissue growth and repair. Devoting unneeded energy to cardio works against those goals.
  • It is much easier to cut 100 calories from your diet (if you have room to – remember, don’t eat below your BMR) than it is to add in 100 calories worth of exercise.

Whether you need an additional 100 calories, 300 calories, 500 calories or more worth of cardio calories depends on the factors outlined above. Whatever amount you choose to do, just make sure cardio is working for you and not against you.

  • j

    But….I eat below my BMR just to maintain my weight!
    I weighed 60 kilos and was eating 1600kcals and my weight shot up. I’ve since cut back to 1350 and my weight seems to have stabilised at 58, but I do get the odd week where I slide to 1400cals and my weight climbs to 60kg. I exercise 5 times a week doing cardio and one yoga session, I weigh and measure everything I eat and even count the calories for things like steamed vegetables, celery and chewing gum. I am 5’7″ so the weight puts my BMI at around the 21 mark which isn’t bad but I’d like it to be closer to 19 so I can fit into the clothes I used to (and my bloods/hormone levels are apparently normal, I’m not taking any medication for anything either).

    If 1350 maintains my weight and 1600 gains me weight (and fairly quickly!) what option do I have other then to cut back further then 1350 whilst keeping up the cardio. Yes its exhausting and I have real problems in the gym when exercising and had to cut back by almost 50% when cutting back to 1350 2 years ago but I still need to keep up the exercise for its own sake.

    Any advice would be great as I would love to be able to eat more!

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi J,

      A few things I’d like to point out. First, it’s not uncommon to eat below your BMR and not lose weight. When you eat below your BMR, your body makes hormonal changes with thyroid and leptin (among other hormones/chemicals) that slow down your metabolism in an effort to conserve enough energy to maintain vital body functions. It’s the reason why I say not to eat below your BMR for long periods of time.

      Second, the BMR equation uses LEAN body mass – not weight.

      Which leads me to point #3 – do you know your body fat percentage? Looking at 2kg swings in weight makes it really impossible to find out what’s going on. You don’t gain over 4lbs (of fat) in a week by eating just an extra 250 calories/day. I don’t doubt that you gained weight increasing from 1350 to 1600 calories, but how much of that was water/muscle/fat? Did you even gain any fat? I think if you measure your body fat percentage over a period of at least two weeks after increasing your calories, you’ll have a much better picture of what’s really happening.

  • Lilia

    Great article! Thank you.
    Nowadays people are so confused about cardio thinking that cardio is the answer to their weight loss.
    Your article is very clear and to the point.

    • Coach Calorie

      Thanks Lilia. Cardio is not the be-all-end-all for weight loss, but it definitely has its place in a fitness program.

  • Tiffany Brooks

    Really great info. Thank you!

  • P

    Hi CC

    Great article! I’m in similar predicament as to J but I do have thyroid condition and I’m trying to eat the correct amount based on BMR calculations (based on my statistics) and do various exercises thru the week with varying intensity. Ideally I should be a stone lighter but so far it has taken me nearly 3 years to lose half a stone to now (with another stone to go!)

    I don’t go on a diet but mostly it is mediteranean diet and I enjoy the occasional indulges including wine – one gotta enjoy life!..

    P

  • Dianne

    I struggle with my eating habits horribly. There are three generations of women in my house each of us have a different view of nutritional eating. My Mom wants foods that have some sort of sauce or are fried, with few veggies. My daughter wants to do Weight Watchers recipes but doesn’t want to structure the menu so we’re not over buying or blow the budget. I just want veggies and some form of protein. I do the cooking because my Mom can’t and my daughter’s schedule doesn’t permit. We don’t seem to do left overs well so trying to repurpose left overs is a challenge considering the other ‘requirements’ with food. My Mom tends to eat late and expects me to eat with her which I don’t want to do so then the guilt sets in. The stress of it all has tilted my weight goals. My trainer says I don’t eat enough, then in tracking my foods, it shows that also, but that I have too much fat and carb in my diet. I need to move to the Hymalayas.

    • Coach Calorie

      Sounds like you have a busy house Dianne. Maybe you should move to the Himalayas. :)

      Maybe you could do what we do in our house with our dinners (since the kids eat something different). We cook the main meat so that every will like it. It may be chicken or beef or pork, but we go ahead and cook that as the “base”. Then, we create a different side for both us and the kids.

      Most importantly though, you can’t let other people influence your lifestyle. It’s time to take a stand if you want to eat a certain way. It’s your body. That doesn’t mean everyone else has to follow suit though, but you certainly don’t have to be forced to share anyone’s lifestyle.

  • henry ward

    i almost hit the 400 pound mark, im down to 305 and hit a plateau. idk what all these things are that you post, but i am hitting the gym 6 hours a week 1 hours aerobic training, 1 hour strength training. i need to push pass this plateau, i am 6’3, what could be considered a healthy weight, i outlast most guys in the gym already, off track i know but where do i go from here

    • Coach Calorie

      Henry, do you know what your lean body mass is? Knowing your body fat percentage will help determine what your ideal weight should be based on how much muscle you have.

      If you’re working out intensely 6 days a week, I suspect your issue lies in your diet. Maybe you’d like to share what you typically eat in a given day (calories and portion sizes included) so I can see what’s going on…

  • Amanda

    Personnally I dont agree with this. I eat healthy and I exercise alot. I enjoy it and feel like it is not only helpful for weight loss but its helpful for stress and to help with energy. In June I was 184 after four kids in 5 years and now I am 149. So thats a huge difference. I started out slow with walking a hour a day and now I run 5 miles a day and do a short walk at night. I have noticed that my weight loss stalls if I dont exercise, so I believe this article to be BULL> I do not exercise on the weekends to give myself a break and the last week in the month I take a break to get my body energized again. So just saying…cardio helps alot. And I would like to point out that Im not flabby as much either. My arms have tightened up and so have to calfs, legs and thighs. My stomach has tightened up a little and became alot smaller but its not like all abs either. I went from a size 16 to a size 9/10.

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Amanda, no one is saying cardio is bad for you or that you shouldn’t do it. Nor am I saying not to exercise at all.

      I personally encourage strength training to be prioritized above cardio (for endless reasons), unless your exercise goals are strictly cardiovascular in nature (5k, marathon, etc).

      As I said, you can lose weight doing nothing but cardio, and you can lose weight doing no cardio at all. However, I think you’ll be much happier with your results if you add in strength training and use nutrition as your primary means to lose weight and cardio as your secondary tool.

      Good luck, and congrats on your weight loss thus far!

  • Donna

    So how can I figure my lean body mass? And measuring fat with body fat calipers? Can I do that myself or do I have to have some special trained person do it for me?

    • Coach Calorie

      You need to measure it. Body fat calipers are your most convenient and cheapest way. There’s also hydrostatic and DEXA (google them), although they will cost some money. You’re probably better off picking up a cheap $5 body fat caliper and doing a 3 point skin fold test. It won’t be as accurate as a 7 point, but it will give you a good relative reading from week to week. You can do a 3 point yourself. A 7 point will require a partner.

  • http://getitbodyfitness.com Aly Ruiz

    Great article! I’ve been having this conversation with a client who is determined that the functional fitness/interval program I have her on is not cardio and she needs cardio to lose weight. I try to motivate my clients to eat more and I give them a full body cardio/strength routine, totally in line with what you stated. Sometimes objective confirmation helps! I’m sharing this with my people!

    • Coach Calorie

      Yup, strength training and cardiovascular training can easily be combined into one! All depends on what the client’s goals are. Sometimes they need to be separated, but if they are just trying to build some lean body mass and lose fat, doing it together works great.

  • Hannah

    Great article! i just started training for a half marathon which im going to do next year, before i started the longest i ever ran was 15 or 30 minutes on a treadmil. i am really noticing the difference upping my cardio. My energy levels have increased.
    I feel way fitter now than i used to when i was just strength training and my dog is loving the extra exercise. i still have a long way to go in my weight loss and fitness but i am finding eating slightly more and moving more has really helped me stay motivated.

  • donna

    hi i was running 5days aweek butcant lose any weight i have gain an extra 12lbs need help

    • Coach Calorie

      Donna, pick up some body fat calipers, and measure your starting body fat. Set your calories to at least your BMR using the formula in the article. Include strength training in your routine. Give it a month and then measure your body fat again. Come back here and report your results. Adjustments can then be made if need be. Good luck!

  • http://www.jillripley.com Jill Ripley

    Really great advice, very easy to understand. Thanks so much for the input.

  • John

    Hi,

    Over the last three or four months I’ve lost about 15kgs and about 8% body fat. I’m currently 92kgs and bfp of just over 25%. However while I’ve continued to loose weight (about a kg a week on average) my body fat hasn’t changed for about 3 weeks. Currently I’m doing 5 reasonably high intensity strength sessions a week where according to my hrm I’m burning about anywhere between 500 and 700 calories a session. I am getting stronger and make a point of increasing my weights regularly. I also go for an hour walk 4 or 5 times a week burning about 300 calories. I’m eating about 1500 calories a day, which after reading this might not be enough, and a try to avoid carbs in the evenings. What can I do to get the fat moving?

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi John, if your weight is dropping and you’re not losing fat, you’re losing lean body mass. Being that you are strength training, that is almost always a result of your calories being too low.

      Based on your stats, your BMR is in the 1860 range. I would not be eating less than that. In fact, I would consider upping it to at least 2000 calories for the week and see what that does.

      There are a lot of other things you can try, but first you need to get your nutrition and calorie levels up to support your lean body mass and activity levels.

      • John

        So with a calorie intake of 2000 what sort of deficit should I be aiming for? I’ve still got another 10 or so kgs to lose and hope to get down to a low teens body fat %. Also should a aim for a deficit everyday or just the days I train?

        • Coach Calorie

          Somewhere between 500-1000 calories/day. I would not go over 1000.

          • John

            Thanks heaps for the replies, can I just check my understanding? I should be aiming to consume around 2000 calories and if I do a gym session and burn 700 calories I end up with a net figure of 1300 calories. Also should I increase I my current calories with protein or a mix of carbs fat and protein?

            • Coach Calorie

              Not exactly. Here is the energy balance equation:

              energy in = energy out

              which actually says:

              energy in (food) = energy out (BMR + exercise + general activity + change in body mass)

              I don’t want to confuse you, so let me see if I can make it simple. You are burning much more than 700 calories during the day. 700 calories is just your gym session. You also add in general activity like walking around, and also your BMR (calories required for vital body functions). Ideally, if you are eating 2000 calories, you wouldn’t want to be burning any more than 3000 calories each day. If you are, you’ll want to increase your calories so that you have no more than a 1000 calorie deficit/day.

              Hope that makes sense. I use the BodyMedia FIT Armband to track my calorie burn for the day, but there are formulas you can use, although they will obviously be less accurate.

  • http://soapbox.iblogger.org Neel Joshi

    On the subject of cardio, a lot of people worry about the “optimal fat loss heart rate.” I wish people would worry less about that and just run hard. It’s not like you’re suddenly not going to burn fat if you heart rate gets too high. Maybe you could address that in a later post? I tried to a little bit on my blog, but I respect what you’re doing here and I think you’d have some good things to say.

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Neel, I’ve actually written about that in the past. And yes – I agree. Push the intensity. After all, you burn the highest percentage of calories from fat while you’re asleep (not necessarily the most fat calories), and no one is recommending you keep your heart rate that low to burn fat, so why would they recommend you keep it down when you exercise?

  • courtney

    I’m still confused as to how much cardio I should be doing and how many calories I should eat… I haven’t had skinfolds done in a few months so based on past skinfolds I have estimated that my BMR is 1327 to 1340 calories a day. I would like to loose body fat and begin training for a half marathon and eventually a marathon. If right now I’m running 3 to 4 days a week for 20 minutes how many calories should I eat? Is this enough cardio for fat loss? It is obviously not enough to train for a run but I am building up my cardio and don’t want to injure myself

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Courtney, if that is all the exercise you’re doing (I’d recommend some form of strength training too), I’d eat around 1400 calories and expect to lose around .5% body fat/week.

  • James Maples

    Coach,

    Always enjoy your articles and also how you respond to almost everyone’s comments. Thanks!

    I work out twice a day, 4 days a week. I jog for 30 mins in the morning and hit the weights in the afternoon after work. I have a split routine, exercising each body part once a week (except calves and abs that I exercise every other day). The only day that I don’t run is the day after I work out my legs, but on that day I do go to the gym. So in total I hit the weights 5 days a week. And on weekends the family and I go for 2 hr hikes in the forest or beach.

    I’ve had great success with getting in shape, having lost 58 lbs in 4 months earlier this year. I’m currently 5-9′, 182 lbs, 45′ Chest,17 inch arms, 30 inch waist. Now I’m shooting for the ultimate body transformation…six pack abs. The thing is, I’ve been following a diet to resculpture my body, but I can’t seem to lose the last 15-20 lbs I believe I need for the total 6 pack. I do have the beginning of the six pack, but still a bit of a tummy and no V shape yet.

    I eat very healthy, but I’m thinking I’m consuming too much food. I’ve heard that real abs are born in the kitchen, not the gym. Your thoughts?

    Thanks again!

    • Coach Calorie

      Hey James, I’m not sure what your body fat % is, but if you’re already around 10%, you’re going to really have to do some tweaking. Have you considered calorie/carb cycling? Are you doing any refeeds? These can help.

      If you’re maintaining LBM and your weight isn’t budging, you have some room to drop calories. Try bringing them down closer to your BMR (but not below it). If that still isn’t enough, it will be time to add in some cardio.

  • Tara

    Your articles are also so helpful! I have been interested in fitness for about 6 years now (I’m 28), researched many articles, websites, spoken to lots of trainers and tried gym, bootcamp, jogging – love all forms of exercise although I find a combination (as you mentioned) of weight training and HIIT has helped me lose the most bodyfat (aside from clean eating that is:) oh and circuit training where I use just my body weight – it’s fab for jump starting the metabolism! I feel so much hungrier when incorporating these two regimes into my exercise routine. I also tried upping my calories from 1450 (my BMR) to 1750 when I hit a plateau (like you suggested in a previous article) and BAM! Dropped bodyfat in two weeks. So thanks and keep up the amazing work Coach!
    Tara

    • Coach Calorie

      Great to hear Tara! Thanks for letting me know :)

  • http://www.missfitnesslife.com Vix- Miss Fitness Life

    Yeah!

    Finally some great advice on how little cardio you need to do and how you cant starve yourself to get into awesome shape.

    Thanks Coach

  • Patricia

    Hi!
    This was the most interesting, informative, and accurate article I’ve read about this subject!!!! Thank you for sharing the information!
    Patricia

  • Cara

    Hi Coach,
    What is your weekly strength/cardio/flexibility training schedule that you follow?

  • Renee

    I’m having major problems with my diet- I KNOW not to eat junk, yet when I think more of the fact that I shouldn’t, I want it more and decide “oh well I don’t care” and get so mad afterwards. And its a vicious cycle. Then I do extra cardio to try to make up for it. I know- dumb idea cause it’s not going to undo it. Anyone else have this problem?
    And how’d you overcome it?

    • http://www.facebook.com/Gardenfaerie Desiree Layne Love

      Ya, I do the same thing. However. I am having more good days than bad days. Keep trying and working towards more on days than off days. Now that spring is here and there is less ice, I will be starting my evening walks again, on top of going to the gym 3-6 days a week. One step at a time, I know I will get to where I want to be. You will too!

    • Anita

      im the same – ive just started doing a tracking of food on the computer to make myself more accountable – day 3 – its working so far – ive had about half hte junk i would normally have

    • Mary

      I know what you mean. Same thing happens with me. I have been working out for over 6 months now and I lost some weight but not much because I eat too much. My biggest problem is that I cannot sit down and watch tv without having to munch on something :O I made a food plan and didn’t stick to it as usual. I’m so dissapointed in myself. I have transitioned though from all junk to a vegetable smoothie person now and I know its a big deal and things just don’t happen overnight,so as long as you keep trying to better yourself,is what matters.One day we are going to be winners,just don’t give up. All the best :)

  • sharma

    Hi

    I read your artical and from last week i have started high- intensity Interval training for 30 mins and after that i i do weight for 15-20 mins in evening time but i have gain the almost 5 pound weight after that, before that i was 145 and now i have gain 5 pounds and my height is 5’3 please let me know i m doing something wrong or how much calories should i take in day? and i want to start workout in morning is that good?

  • Lee

    Hi! It’s been three weeks since I started burning 250 calories everyday on my threadmill plus 20-30reps of atleast 5 movements of core workout. For three weeks I didn’t eat any sweets, chocolates, junk foods, softdrinks, fruit drinks in tetra packs and other oily foods that may add fats fast. I only eat a half palm size of bread and ginger lemon tea for breakfast, a cup of rice and viand for lunch and dinner and also garden salad without a dressing or a banana in between meals. I also drink lemon water everyday for three weeks now but the weighing scale didn’t move from the day I started up to present. It is a steady 68 kgs. after weighing from the time i wake up everyday…..however, my waist shrinked an inch in a matter of three weeks. I also make sure to consume 8 glasses of water a day but i guess the result is very slow. I hope you can advise me how to lose weight faster the natural way because i find three weeks long enough to achieve nothing but an inch reduced on my waistline. I really wanted to lose weight because 68 kgs. is inaccurate for my 5’1” height. Thanks and best regards!

  • Michelle Delios

    very interesting article. Makes total sense. thanks for posting, will pass to my friends who are killing themselves on the machines and not doing any weights or strength training.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Hi Lee, you will need to be patient. 3 weeks is nothing. You still have thousands of weeks left in your life. Try taking a bigger view on things and remember that progress is progress.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Did you take body fat measurements? You did not gain 5 pounds of fat in a week. I’d suggest you give this article a read – http://www.coachcalorie.com/working-out-but-gaining-weight/

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    It is constantly changing up, but generally speaking it’s weight training 2-3 times a week, speed/agility work 1-2 times, and then being active the rest of the time (walking, riding bike, etc).

  • Illie9

    Kinda lost here, my weight is 150. I m 5’5.. Looking to lose some of this chunk…I couldn’t really follow your formula….what should my intake be?…..then…how much should I walk/ run/ lift?

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Eat 10-12 times your body weight in calories, strength train, and then add in additional cardio as necessary to meet your weight loss progress goals.

  • Nikki Ladd

    I am a 212lb as of today woman who has lost 30lbs however I have stalled and I am starting to get very frustrated can you tell me my correct BMR??

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      Do you know your lean body mass?

  • Joni DB

    Im having grave difficulty in losing anymore weight I have dropped 40 pounds but have another 20 to go and they wont budge-not weight or size is changing-I spin 3 times a week, yogalates once a week, and strength train once a week, i weigh 175 and im 5′ 9″ i just ordered the bodymedia fit armband, what else do you suggest? 2/3 times a month i do a 7 mile power walk. i eat pretty clean, drink plenty of water!

  • Mike

    Hi, your lb to kg converison in the example is wrong…it should come to 54.5 kg….

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      Ooops! Thanks for the catch Mike. I’ve updated the article.

  • Claire

    Would you recommend to some one to eat mainly protein and low carbs, I am trying to shift the last 4 kgs and am also doing high intestity cardio 3 hrs a week and my weight is not losing I,m building alot muscle tho .

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      I do not recommend that. I like a more balanced approach while doing some nutrient timing or calorie cycling if needed. You can search Coach Calorie for details.

  • DM

    I understood the numbers until I got to this paragraph…..
    If reaching your weight loss goal means you have to eat less than 1644 calories to maintain your weight loss pace, it’s a much better idea to at least eat your BMR and create your deficit with additional cardio. Eating below your BMR is a sure way to lose muscle and stall your weight loss.
    Not sure my BMR worked out to be 2,039 calories, that seems like a lot….

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Not sure if you have a question? My BMR is about 2000 calories, and I have a LBM of around 160lbs. If this is close to you, then that number is correct. Don’t eat below that number.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Could be many things, and I don’t know what or how much you’re eating. Keep your calories above your BMR at minimum. There are many things you can try too. Check them out here – http://www.coachcalorie.com/how-to-break-a-weight-loss-plateau/

  • Eager to Be Fit

    How do I determine my body fat %?

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      You have to measure it. Body fat calipers will be the most convenient and cheapest way.

  • TT

    Is it possible to lose weight while training for a half marathon? The one thing I won’t give up is a minimum three mile run most days of the week. But I do circuit training about five times a week. IMO, they are intense (an example of today was a one mile run, 100 squats, 100 full push-ups, 100 cross over sit ups, then another one mile run). Second question-Is adding runs to my circuit training over-training? I’m not overweight or obese, but normal. I’m trying to get my bf in the teens, it is currently at 22%. I just really enjoy my runs, but so many people have told me excess cardio will break down muscle. And I’m going to start upping the mileage pretty soon-I used to do six daily, but scaled down for a while. So third question-How can I prevent breaking down muscle if I’m going to start training for a half-marathon and doing circuit training with one day of heavy weights? Thx

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    1 – Yes it is possible to lose weight.

    2 – It’s only overtraining if you can’t eat right to fuel that amount of activity and you aren’t recovering. Only you can assess that situation.

    3 – A single full body strength training session could spare muscle tissue, but that will depend on your starting point. If you don’t have much to start with, it shouldn’t be too difficult.

  • Sharon

    Hi, im a really poor eater have been for yrs only recently started eating porridge on a morning then my tea which I try to make healthy I do high intensity workout 3x a am I’m only tryin to loose 9lbs can you help me out please give me some advice

  • Nikki

    Hi! Loved your response to Lee that 3 weeks trying to reduce is nothing and you have thousands of weeks left in your life. The message is to look at the big picture. That’s a great reminder and something that is important for those of us working toward a goal to keep at the forefront. Thanks!

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Start reading through the articles here on Coach Calorie.

  • Taila

    Based on my LBM of 108 lbs, my BMR is a tad over 2700. If I ate that much, I’d keep gaining weight like crazy! As it is, I’m a 52-year-old menopausal woman eating between 1300-1500 calories per day. I try to keep my simple carbs (bread) very low (as in one serving per day). Fat is <40% and trying to eat my bodyweight in grams per protein.

    In addition, I do cardio 6 times per week, alternating between HIIT and long, slow using my elliptical. Weight training is every other day. Doing this, I've lost about 6 pounds of fat and gained the same in muscle (using calipers).

    I've hit a plateau the past month and it's making me crazy. I don't want to up my workout, for fear of overtraining. I've dialed in my nutrition, upped my water intake, and aim for 7-8 hours of sleep. I'm wondering how much menopause affects this whole regime-seems I would make a small gain then lose it. The zig-zagging is insane. Any advice?

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      Double check your math. LBM is supposed to be in kg, not pounds.

  • ami

    I have a major problem. Im on a new diet and excercise plan…problem is instead of losing fat on my legs im building muscle. I want lean legs not bulky muscles…what can I do?

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      If you feel like your legs are too muscular you can cut back on the frequency of your lower body workouts or drop the weight down some. Just remember that to lose the fat on your legs, it’s going to be a function of your diet.