Doing the "Right" Kind of Cardio
All people are created equal, but unfortunately not all exercises can say the same. Some exercise routines are really good for fat burning, while others can even be counter productive.
Unfortunately there is a widespread belief that just doing any cardio is time well spent. So rarely do people analyze whether the exercise routines they are doing is really of any benefit to them. You see this all the time at the gym, people connected congress lined up at the treadmills doing a brisk walk or sitting on an exercise bike looking bored and tedious. After a half an hour or so time’s up and it’s time to pack up and go home.
There are many problems with this type of exercise routine which is why many people never see results.
A low intensity exercise simply doesn’t burn enough calories to make a meaningful result. This type of cardio doesn’t really put your body into a “recovery” mode where your fat tissue breaks down and is used as energy all throughout the day, including in your sleep!
Long duration aerobic exercising can’t break down fat fast enough for energy, thus it uses your carbohydrate stores. For the first 10-15 minutes of going on a run, your body is probably burning mostly carbohydrates before it dips into your fat stores. For those that are ONLY running 10-20 minutes, your body’s fat burning results are minimal.
The best way to optimize your fitness regiment to center around fat loss is to switch it up between aerobic exercises and anaerobic exercises. Sprints are an excellent example of this. Rather than running for say 10 to 15 minutes; do intervals of one minute sprints at a fast pace and high intensity, then walk it off for another minute.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) can be incorporated into just about every exercise. Indeed, many of the workout machines have a variety of options to explore that change up the pace over a half an hour; I highly recommended using them rather than just setting it on an medium pace and slugging away. You’ll find it makes your workouts more challenging but also more fun and interesting as well, keeping you motivated in the long run.
Here is an outline of what a high intensity workout might look like:
- 5 minutes of a warmup jog
- 10 minutes of sprints, alternating between 1-minute full sprints and 1-minute fast walking
- 5 minutes of uphill interval sprints (really crank up the elevation to a noticeably level)
- 5 minutes interval training on an exercise bike
- 10 minutes interval training on the stepping machine
- 10 minute intervals on an elliptical, alternating between focusing on arms and legs
Sound easy? Try it out sometime. In 45 minutes you’ll feel like you accomplished more than the entire month before jogging away on a treadmill.