It is for this reason a calorie deficit from food as long as you can adhere to it, will always be more effective when the goal is lowering body fat.
Cardio will only “burn” 3-7 calories per minute dependent on your size and intensity.
Cardio does not “burn” calories in addition to life. It replaces other calorie “burn” as you have to utilise calories to survive. What we mean by this is during cardio you may be burning 6calories per minute however just sitting around and walking around the house you may be burning 2-3 calories a minute. Therefore doing the cardio is only an Additional 2-4 calories.
The more efficient you become with cardio the less you will “burn”. You actually will “burn” less calories for the same time frame of exercise as you get leaner simply due to your size. (A reason why one may not have to utilise cardio as a dieting aid at the start of a prep, considering time is on their side.)
For physique athletes cardio is just there to “burn” calories (there are mental positives). You can see cardio as a dieting aid. It is however not very friendly in the time you give to it for the return you get.
This highlights the importance of being consistent to your nutrition plan and using that as your main method to reduce body fat not relying on cardio. Cardio is just an aid however as stated for the effort it gives little return. Cardio comes at a cost as it is training so should be used sparingly.
There are times when cardio is beneficial to help optimise the diet. For example when someone is in a calorie deficit that now makes getting in fruit and vegetables and an adequate amount of fat to try maintain health difficult. Cardio can be used to achieve the required deficit because reducing calories from food wouldn’t be optimal to health.
Physique Formation Coach