7 Essential Tips to Lose Weight Without Cardio - Fantastic Nutrition

7 Essential Tips to Lose Weight Without Cardio

Feb 15, 2023Mike Walls

Do cardio machines like the treadmill, elliptical, or StairMaster send chills down your spine? Cardio workouts make you hate your life? 

It’s easy to want to skip cardio. You can just picture a long, drawn-out workout where you end up sweating profusely and extremely winded by the end of it. All just to lose a few pounds. 

If there was a way to lose weight without cardio, you’d be on it faster than an Olympic sprinter coming out of the starting blocks. 

We have some good news for you then when it comes to answering the question: Do you need cardio to lose weight?

The short answer is no, cardio isn’t necessary for weight loss. This post goes into more detail on just exactly how to make that happen for yourself. So keep reading for 7 surefire tips to help you lose weight without cardio.  

How to Lose Weight Without Cardio

1. Eat in a caloric deficit

Your nutrition will play a big role in helping you lose weight without cardio. At the end of the day, losing weight simply comes down to calories in vs. calories out. If you burn more calories than you consume, you’ll lose weight. Consume more than you burn, you’ll gain weight. It’s as simple as that. 

In order to slim down and burn fat, you must be in a caloric deficit, which means you’re burning more calories than you take in. A calorie deficit varies from person to person, so the first step is figuring out your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure), aka the number of calories your body burns based on how active you are. 

You can figure out your TDEE using a calculator like this one here. Once you get that number, subtract 250-500 calories and that’ll be the number of calories you should eat for weight/fat loss.

2. Keep your protein intake high

Think protein is just for building muscle? Think again.

A higher protein intake is a genuine lifesaver when you’re trying to lose weight without cardio. Eating protein decreases your hunger hormones (like ghrelin) and increases hormones that help you feel full (like leptin), which can do wonders for helping you stay on track with your diet and not overeat.

In fact, one 12-week study saw participants lose an average of 11 pounds by making protein 30% of their total calories. 

Eating protein also burns calories due to the thermic effect of food, which is the calories your body burns by digesting the food you eat. Research shows that eating a high-protein diet can help you burn as much as 260 calories more per day than a low-protein one.

Protein also preserves muscle mass, which is key to burning fat and losing weight. Because the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism and the more fat you can burn.

Just how much protein is optimal? Try to get at least 1 gram of protein per pound of your goal body weight. For example, if your goal is to weigh 175 pounds, then shoot for 175 grams of protein per day. 150 pounds? Aim for 150 grams of protein daily. 

Whole foods like chicken breast, white fish, and low-fat Greek yogurt are some great high-quality protein sources but if you find yourself struggling to get enough protein in, that’s where a protein powder like our Whey Fantastic comes into play. It’s 100% grass-fed, contains 25 grams of protein per serving, and its unique blend of whey isolate, concentrate, and hydrolysate powders make it the ideal protein source for meeting your weight loss goals.

3. Lift weights

Your exercise blueprint to lose weight without cardio should involve strength training. While lifting weights and cardio may burn similar amounts of calories during the workouts themselves, you stand to burn a ton more calories than cardio post-exercise by hitting the gym and pumping some iron. 



The main thing that strength training helps you do is build muscle and achieve that “athletic-looking” physique we all desire. Lifting weights is how you build an upper body that makes people take notice of your efforts, sculpt that six-pack you’ve always wanted, and firm up your glutes. And as we mentioned earlier, the more muscle you possess on your frame, the more calories you burn and the more weight you can lose.

As far as workouts go, make sure you’re taking advantage of progressive overload and gradually increasing the weight you lift over time. Also, be sure to focus on compound lifts (exercises that work multiple muscles at once), as opposed to isolation exercises, which are limited to working just 1-2 muscles at a time. 

For example:

  • Bench press
  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Overhead shoulder press
  • Leg press
  • Back rows

These are all examples of compound lifts that will help you get the most out of your workouts. 

4. Add fiber to your diet

Like protein, adding more fiber to your diet can help you reach your weight loss goals by keeping you full and preventing overeating. Not only that but fiber prevents constipation. 

Foods high in viscous fiber (having a thick consistency) are best at keeping you full. Here’s a list of some to include in your diet:

  • Beans
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Oats
  • Asparagus
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Apricots
  • Mangoes
  • Oranges

5. Cut back on sugar and refined carbs

Sugar and refined carbs are the ultimate “lose weight without cardio antagonists.” You can count on breaking the calorie bank with processed foods or foods high in sugar.

Foods like these are super high in calories and there’s not really much nutritional value behind them. Sugar-rich foods candies, cookies, and pastries are well known for sending skyrocketing one’s blood sugar to the moon and the eventual crash (which typically involves depleted energy levels and feeling abnormally sluggish) is not something that’s fun at all. 

Now, this isn’t to say you shouldn’t indulge in your favorite sugary treats every now and again. After all, the best diet that will help you see sustainable weight loss is a balanced one. However, cut back on these foods and we guarantee your weight loss and energy levels will thank you!

6. Ease the stress in your life

Is stress a constant in your life? Are there more days than not where your body’s just filled with tension? If so, it could have negative repercussions for weight loss.

To combat stress, your body produces a hormone known as cortisol. In the short-term, elevated cortisol levels can actually be beneficial. They heighten your senses, abilities, and can provide you with a fastball of energy.

Think about a mom whose kids are stuck underneath a car. She’ll no doubt experience an uptick in her cortisol levels, which allows her to go into Superwoman mode and lift the car up to save her kids. 

The thing with cortisol though, is that if your levels are constantly high, it increases your appetite and causes you to crave those sugary, highly-processed foods that are sure to derail a diet and lead to weight gain. In fact, one study linked higher cortisol levels to more snacking throughout the day. 

That’s why finding a way to de-stress and calm your mind is important. Try mindfulness meditation, yoga, journaling, or a creative outlet like art or writing to help your body decompress and wind down. 

Sleep is another great stress reliever. It gives your body a reset, reduces cortisol levels, and don’t we all just feel better and more refreshed after a good night’s sleep? Between 7-9 hours each night is optimal.

7. Set realistic goals for your weight loss 

Rome wasn’t built overnight. You might be tempted to go hard, attack weight loss at 180 miles per hour, and try to shed pounds as fast as you can. 

That may lead to weight loss in the short term. But in the end, you’ll probably find that sprinting right out of the gate just leaves you burnt. Eventually, you’ll become so worn from the drastic measures you took at the beginning of your weight loss journey, that you just end up gaining it all back.  

If what you’re doing isn’t sustainable for the long term, then can it really be considered weight loss? Instead, set yourself up to lose weight without cardio the right way. It might sound cliché but slow and steady really does win the race when it comes to weight loss and makes for more sustainable results. 

In Summary

Now you know that you can lose weight without cardio! It doesn’t have to be overly complicated either. To set yourself up for weight loss success, do the following:

  • Eat in a calorie deficit
  • Get plenty of protein and add more fiber to your diet
  • Start a strength training program and make sure you’re using progressive overload
  • Cut back on processed foods and foods high in sugar
  • Find good stress relievers and ways to relax
  • Set realistic expectations of your weight loss journey 

Want even more strategies for weight loss? Check out this post on 12 insanely fast ways to burn fat.


About the Author: Chad Richardson is a freelance copywriter from Cincinnati, OH who’s passionate about creating content to help people enjoy healthier lives. When he's not behind his computer, you can find Chad at the gym, in the kitchen trying out new recipes, or scrolling through Netflix for a new binge-worthy show. 

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