Is Daily Cardio Okay to Lose Weight?

Here in the US, nearly 40% of adults and more than 18% of children are considered obese. Despite these numbers being the highest in history, obesity rates continue escalating to new record proportions. This coincides with an increase in obesity-related preventable diseases such as type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, all of which may be controlled with a few healthy lifestyle choices including enough daily exercise. 

Daily exercise also helps other aspects of our lives such as improving outlook, boosting energy levels and reducing stress. Plus, exercise can take on many forms so that even if you don't enjoy let's say, running, you always have cycling, swimming, weight training, bull fighting or any number of activities to get your heart pumping each day.

Okay, so maybe not bullfighting, but you get the idea... 

This includes agility exercises which are not only a great way to improve your balance, coordination and nimbleness, but are an effective cardio workout as well. And, if you're looking to avoid becoming part of the obesity epidemic, cardio workouts are a great choice since they can light up the fat stores like no other--especially when you pump up the intensity.

However, is there such a thing as too much cardio? Can overexercising be detrimental rather than beneficial to your health and BMI?

Perhaps--here's what we've found. 

The Daily Burn

When you work out daily, your body and muscles get used to the exertion. This includes becoming accustomed to burning fat as fuel--so long as you do things right. This means avoiding high-glycemic, sugary fuels such as sports drinks or energy gels in favor of a high-protein diet which includes enough good fats to slow digestion and provide fuel. 

And, by good fats we mean a balance of omega 3-6-9 essential fatty acids (EFAs) such as from grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon or avocados. This is highly important since not only does consuming fat help you burn fat, a balanced supply of EFAs helps control cholesterol, reduces inflammation, protects cardiovascular health and is essential to your brain's health. 

Add in daily exertion for increased metabolic rate, and you have the recipe for becoming a fat-burning machine!

Plus, there is no substitute for that elated post-workout feeling, or the improved focus, energy levels and reduced stress which exercise produces. 

However, as with most good things moderation is key since too much exercise can be as bad--or possibly worse--than not enough. 

How Much is Enough?

According to the American Heart Association, adults need around 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity each week. However, these numbers are based on the speculation of what the average person needs and since few of us are "average," you will likely have to base  yours on other factors such as physical makeup, age, weight and fitness level. 

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However, so long as you don't spend every exercise session at full intensity, there is no reason you can't get up to an hour's exercise each day, although for some even an hour may be too long while others may be able to go even longer. Again, it depends on your personal makeup and ability to recover--not to mention how many hours there are in a day! 

A good general barometer is how you feel going into, during and after your workout: 

  • Before: Are you chomping at the bit to hit the field, or are you unmotivated or are even running through excuses to skip out? 
  • During: Are you "getting lost" in the workout with no mind towards beginning or end, or are you merely going through the motions and counting the moments until you're done? 
  • After: Are you wrapping it up feeling refreshed and invigorated, or are you fatigued, achy and ready for a nap when you're done?

These are all questions which can indicate whether you are training enough to see benefits, or overdoing it to the point of negative results. 

How Much is Too Much?

Not only can overtraining have detrimental effects on your weight loss and other exercise goals, it can flat-out remove the joy from exercise. 

And, just in case you didn't know, enjoying your exercise sessions counts! In fact, very few of us are interested in turning exercise into a second job, since for one thing, talk about a motivation killer--not to mention the fact that a lack of interest in exercise is a sign you are working out too much.

Other signs include:

  • Irritability and moodiness
  • Feelings of depression
  • Insomnia 
  • Feeling like you can't sleep enough
  • Frequent illness
  • Chronic injuries
  • Unexplained sudden weight loss
  • Weight gain

You may notice that some of these signs seem to contradict others, such as insomnia/hypersomnia and weight gain/weight loss. This is because of the various effects over-training has on your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is where fight-or-flight stress hormones are produced. 

And, just as overbearing bosses, tight work deadlines and too little sleep can cause adrenal burnout, so can excessive physical exercise. This is because your HPA axis simply can't meet the long-term demands of constantly producing stress hormones, causing them to become out of balance. This leads to  negative effects including increased cortisol levels, uncontrolled weight gain, weight loss, food cravings and feelings of constant fatigue.

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Over Training Syndrome: It's Real

Obsessive behavior can also be a detrimental factor when it comes to overtraining. By this, we mean overdoing it long past the point of diminishing returns despite clear signs of burnout. This leads to a very real condition known of as "over training syndrome" (OTS), which is different from mere over training which is something nearly everyone who exercises does at times. 

In fact, occasional over training can be beneficial and help you achieve your long-term strength, conditioning and fat burn goals--the key word being occasional. However, some of us may be so focused on our workout goals that we ignore the signs of too much exercise and continue soldiering on. This is in sharp contrast to what our bodies are telling us, which is to back off and enjoy a little more rest and recovery.

In extreme cases, this can even lead to permanent damage to the heart leading to arrhythmia, arterial fibrillation, and an elevated risk of sudden death. While the risk of this condition may be more prevalent in some individuals than others--possibly due to genetics or other predisposed conditions--it is nonetheless something to be aware of for those prone to over-exercising. 

Granted, this typically takes years of high-intensity aerobic exercise such as ultra marathon running or endurance cycling, though this doesn't mean the condition should be ignored by anyone who regularly overtrains. 

Studies also show that chronic intense exercise may cause patchy myocardial fibrosis in the atria, right ventricle and interventricular septum, and it has also been associated with coronary calcification, large-artery wall stiffening and diastolic dysfunction. 

Granted, it is unlikely for even the most hardcore among us to be performing high-intensity agility training 5 hours per day, 7 days per week, so permanent heart damage may not be as likely as with veteran endurance athletes. Even so, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't be aware of OTS and its dangers, many of which can occur even at much lower levels of daily exercise. 

Keeping it Healthy: How to Recover from Over Training

No, Captain Obvious has NOT left the building, since recovery from overtraining begins with...rest (no kidding!).

However, knowing when to add more rest despite your weight loss goals may be another matter, since you are likely fixated on "the more, the better," which is understandable, you being the hard-working go-getter that you are. 

For this, try reverting back to our previous questions for you to ask yourself before, during and after your workouts:

  • Before: Are you chomping at the bit to hit the field, or are you slow to get ready or are even running through excuses to skip out? 

If the answer is, "Chomping at the bit like a thoroughbred!", no problem, enjoy the workout and don't forget to add in some agility work!

However, if you find yourself staring at your workout gear with no desire to put it on--don't. Instead, take a day of active recovery such as going for a walk, a leisurely swim or other low-intensity activity. 

  • During: Are you "getting lost" in the workout with no mind towards its beginning or end, or are you merely going through the motions and counting the moments until you're done?

If the answer is "Getting so lost in it that a search party may be necessary at some point," then fantastic--you have the energy levels to hit that fat-burn zone and keep it there--enjoy!

However, if your answer is that you're so going through the motions that you're worried about becoming sea-sick, you need to skip things for another day when you have the energy, focus and motivation to get full benefit from your workout. 

  • After: Are you wrapping it up feeling refreshed and invigorated, or are you fatigued, achy and ready for a nap when you're done?

Feeling refreshed and invigorated is what it's all about, so we'll invite Captain Obvious to the podium once more to tell you, "That's how you need to feel after a great workout--enjoy the endorphins and recovery meal, although be sure to skip sugary processed foods in favor of natural whole foods which are high in protein and good fats!"

However, feeling painful, beaten, and in need of a long nap after a workout is not only a sure sign you need an extra day off, you are also at higher risk for injury when you work out in this state. In fact, if you keep it up, you may just find yourself taking time off to recover from injury whether you like it or not!

Cross Training with ZOID Fitness

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Another great way to avoid over training is by mixing up your workouts with cross training. Not only can this disperse work to various muscle groups so that one group isn't being chronically overworked, it can also help keep things fresh and fun rather than allowing workouts to go stagnant. 

Plus, different types of exercise have different benefits beyond mere fat burn.

For instance, agility training is a great way to not only improve your balance, coordination, finesse and even mental abilities, it also helps keep supportive muscles and tendons in joints strong to guard against injury. 

And, agility work can be part of the ultimate high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, which is a flat-out great way to burn fat.    

But what is the best way for you to add agility drills into your workouts?  

ZOID has the answer. 

ZOID's unique agility tool is a highly versatile, all-in-one agility training system which can be set up in nearly limitless patterns, is easily transportable and can be used almost anywhere. It is made from 100% recycled materials, and while it is meant for use as a sports training device, you don't have to play a sport to reap its benefits. 

With ZOID's agility training along with listening to your body to know when it is time to add more rest, you can safely hit your weight and fitness goals for a fabulously healthy you!











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