How Much Cardio Should You Do Per Week to Lose Weight? A Trainer Answers

Christina Stiehl


When it comes to losing weight, you already know that exercise is an important factor in the weight-loss process, along with eating well, managing stress, and getting enough sleep. And while cardio and weight training can both lead to weight loss, getting your heart rate up and sweating will certainly burn calories and help you achieve your goals.

But how much cardio should you be doing each week to see the number on the scale drop? Jim White, RD, ACSM, and owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios, told POPSUGAR you should be doing 300 minutes of cardio a week.

That comes out to one hour five days a week. And if that sounds like a lot, don't let that number intimidate you; an hour of cardio doesn't have to be an intense Spin class or a long HIIT workout. It just needs to be continuous cardio at a moderate level (think: lower-intensity steady-state exercise, or LISS). It should be at about 60 to 70 percent of your max heart rate.

He also said you can break it up throughout the week. Instead of an hour at a time each day, maybe you go for a walk for 30 minutes in the morning and ride your bike for 30 minutes in the evening. It's all about keeping your body moving and raising your heart rate from resting level.

And, of course, cardio shouldn't be your only form of exercise; mix it up with some weight training for a well-rounded workout that will torch fat and build lean muscle.