Cardio No no's !
Cardio is so abused when it comes to "fat loss". It is necessary if you want to shed some extra pounds but you should also be doing it in a way that you maximize your fat burning potential. It's very typical for many to fall into the trap of doing hours of it per day or per week, right out of the gate when starting on a "diet". This is something that you don't want to do. One thing I tell my clients is that lifting weights is far superior than doing endless hours of cardio. If you had to choose one or the other to do, I would choose lifting over cardio any day of the week.
In my experience, when clients ask about if they should do cardio or weight training, my answer is that cardio is a tool for weight loss but weight training is going to get you the results that you are after. And that is if you want to look leaner, more toned and maybe lose some inches off your body. Cardio just aids in excess calories lost through training.
The right answer to weight loss is like a pyramid, diet is on the bottom as a foundation, with training in the middle and cardio on top as a finisher. Now here is the million dollar question, what kind of cardio are you doing? How effective is it? If you are doing cardio on an incline, hanging on for dear life and practically getting drug on the machine but did your "30 minutes" is that really doing you any favors? Nope. So what should you do for fat loss? HIIT!
Yes high intensity interval training (HIIT) is the main leader in cardio for fat loss. HIIT runs in intervals from high bursts to low steady state cardio for a certain number of minutes for a length of time. An example of this would be a 10-30 second sprint followed by a 3-5 minute steady pace walk to cool down and bring your heart rate back to normal and then repeating it.
So why is HIIT better for fat loss anyways? When you diet, your main objective is to keep as muscle muscle retention as possible while keeping metabolic rate elevated. The more muscle mass you have, the better the chance you have for keeping metabolic rate high. Thus you must be able to retain muscle mass when in a calorie deficit. HIIT cardio seems to be the best exercise strategy for muscle retention.
However, as awesome as HIIT training is, there are some key things to keep in mind. You can't do HIIT every single day. Your body can't handle that amount of stress and get proper recovery to have the full effects of your training maximized. Everyone has a different level of HIIT they can do. Just like lifting, you need to take your time and understand how your body responds to stimulus during training. Overdoing it will not get you faster results, it might just get you injured faster.
The key is to have a good mix of steady state cardio as well as mixing in HIIT training. Both are great to use as tools in your fitness journey but each should be performed in your training program for the best results.