3 Cardio Mistakes Mamas Often Make!

The holidays are coming to an end and I don't know about you, but I'm holding a little extra festive fluff. A lot of moms resort to hours of cardio to shed that "festive 15" or to “get their pre-baby body back”, but sometimes you can be doing more harm than good. Yes, it's an important component of your fitness journey, but cardio isn’t the end all be all of weight loss. You do have to be mindful of both the quality and quantity of cardio you do and this can make the biggest impact on your mommy mood and appearance.

It’s important to debunk the most common cardio myths to help you avoid making the same mistakes!

  1. “I don’t need variety – I just go for runs outside.” Naturally, we all gravitate to our favourite cardio workout and for mothers it often ends up as running. Hitting that pavement can be a peaceful activity for some solo mommy time, but changing it up can do your body wonders! Shocking your body with different cardio workouts will prevent your body from plateauing. Try skipping rope in the basement or doing stairs in your condo. The possibilities are endless. Change. It. Up.

  2. “Whenever I eat way too much I just do more cardio to make up for it.” Firstly, thinking that every minute you do cardio is a minute you don’t have to spend watching what you eat is not a healthy way to live. You shouldn’t try and “make up” in cardio extra calories you consumed in a meal. Never feel guilt for eating anything – your best bet is to let it go, move on with your day and make sure your next meal is a healthier and wholesome one. If you find you are continuing to try and overcompensate with cardio, remember that even a whole day on the treadmill will never outrun your bad nutrition choices!

  3. “I just do long cardio sessions - sometimes for 1-1.5 hours a day.” There’s this misconception that you need to do cardio for hours on end to get results. This is not entirely true. Unless you are training for an event like a marathon, then you do not have to kill yourself with long-winded cardio workouts. In fact, this could have negative consequences especially if you aren’t properly hydrated or if you have poor eating habits to begin with. If you are burning tons of calories with inadequate nutrition, your body will go into a catabolic, stressed state. What does this mean? This means two things: your body will want to store fat in response to the stress hormones that are present, and your body will start to break down muscle tissue for energy instead of burning fat stores. Not good! Be smart when it comes to cardio and if you’re doing it right, you shouldn’t have to do more than 20-30 minutes at a time. Plus, as a mother I’m sure you have a million and one other things you could be doing!

Now mamas, don’t get too caught up in the details because the key is you just get in any type of workout whenever you can. That in itself is not easy! So my advice is to get the most bang for your buck and commit to 15 minutes of high-intensity interval training. For example, as a beginner start with 30 seconds at a moderate pace (approximately 50% of your maximum effort) and after 30 seconds go as hard as you can for the next 30 seconds. Then repeat this sequence for a total time of 15 minutes. You can do this indoors on a machine (i.e. an elliptical, exercise bike or treadmill), with a skipping rope or outdoors on a track or on the plain old sidewalk. Just be mindful of the time and really push yourself during those 30 seconds! Get maximum results in minimal time and then carry on with your mommy duties. But always remember, a good workout whether it is cardio-focused, resistance or bodyweight training, should always be supported with good nutrition to optimize your progress.

If you're looking to reignite your fitness goals with a balanced program that includes both bodyweight training and cardio, check out the latest NTM 4-Week Total Kick-Start Program here. With the new year around the corner, it's a perfect opportunity to kick start your fitness goals!