I wasn’t the first person to come up with this phrase but I’ll share my thoughts on it.
As a fitness professional, I’m always emphasizing the benefits of exercise, particularly cardiovascular exercise. Having said that, I’m afraid the majority of people use “cardio” primarily as a means to lose fat; but unless eating is controlled, you will end up spinning your wheels.
Consider the following example: a fit individual would have to work at a high intensity to “burn” 1000 calories in 60 minutes of working out. That’s one-hour of total body movement, sweat, heavy breathing, and feeling exhausted when the workout is over. What if an emotional trigger, social outing, or just plain bad moment triggers a trip to the drive-thru? One fast food meal (double burger, large fries, and a milkshake), aside from being a difficult-to-digest conglomeration, can easily pack 1500 calories. How long would it take to eat this meal? Maybe 15 minutes.
Get your priorities straight. In my experience, it’s best to keep a plan that you can stick to–no matter what, because the body will tend towards a “comfortable” body fat percentage if only guided by instinct. If you’re a sucker for what’s in your immediate environment, then you’re really at a disadvantage. So control your calories and plan ahead. See my formula for how to lose weight.
Once calorie intake is determined and managed, all extra movement would be an added bonus and should mostly be fun. There are so many options for physical activity that it makes no sense to torture yourself doing something you don’t like–especially if the added stress may justify a cheesecake! Furthermore, no matter what you do, make sure to include some weight training because let’s face it–85-90% of people train to improve their physical appearance, even if they’re doing it for health. It’s the muscles that give you fantastic shape once you’re already lean. It’s not about skin and bone; but a healthy appearance with well-developed muscle and just enough fat to round them out.
Enjoy the journey. It’s a lifestyle that pays off every day.