How to lose the maximum amount of body fat in the shortest time possible? That is a question that millions of women (And men) are asking themselves each and every day. It goes without saying that proper food intake is vital when it comes to loss of body fat. You simply cannot exercise your way out of bad food intake. In addition to a change in eating habits, one needs to employ an efficient workout program.
Is time a limiting factor in you getting in a workout? After all, there is so much that one has to pack into a day; work, family, social time, sleep, to name a few. What if you could meet all your daily obligations with the guarantee that you will be able to fit in a fat burning, muscle building workout? Surely that's impossible right? Fear not, scientific research is to the rescue! In a landmark study, steady state aerobic training and high intensity interval training were pitted against each other: A 4 minute anaerobic workout versus a 60
minute steady state workout at 70% VO2 max. The results were staggering. The 4 minute anaerobic workout resulted in a 40% greater improvement in aerobic capacity in comparison to the steady state workout. This is the highest recorded aerobic capacity improvement in exercise science history!
The massive improvement in aerobic capacity exhibited in this study causes one to wonder about the effects this type of training has on fat loss and muscle building. Again, science is to the rescue! In a study comparing 20 weeks of aerobic endurance training versus 15 weeks of interval training, the interval training group showed a 9 TIMES greater loss in subcutaneous fat than the endurance group even though they burned over HALF as many calories. In another study, the interval group LOST an average of 5.5 lbs of fat, increased lean muscle mass and increased aerobic power more than the steady state group.
The research cited above is just a small sampling of a growing number of studies that show traditional cardio to be a poor mode of exercise to use for fat loss. However, the vast majority of people out there still rely on the elliptical or treadmill to burn calories. This brings me to what is called the Hierarchy of Fat Loss Training which is as follows:
A. Metabolic Acceleration Training/Strength Training
B. High Intensity Anaerobic Training
C. High Intensity Aerobic Training
D. Low Intensity Aerobic Training
Which one/ones you employ should be based on how much time per week you can commit to exercise:
3-4 hours per week: # A only
4-6 hours per week: # A + B
6-8 hours per week: # A, B, + C
8 + hours per week: # A, B, C, D
You might notice that traditional "cardio" is at the bottom of the list. This is not an error. As I mentioned above, research studies have shown over and over again that steady state aerobic training IS NOT an effective mode of exercise for fat loss. Conversely, resistance training and high intensity interval training has been shown to be a far superior method. If you want to look like a big lumbering cow then I suggest you stick with the traditional "cardio." However, if you want to look like a lean cheetah then it's time to incorporate A and B movements into your workout routine on a regular basis.
We all lead busy lives and days can get hectic very quickly but there is absolutely no excuse not to get a workout in during the day. Research shows that you only need a short amount of time so lack of time is no longer a valid excuse. So, how ever short that amount of time may be, make it constructive, and make it for yourself.
The moral of the story? Stop wasting massive amounts of your precious time on the elliptical / treadmill for long steady state periods. Get a heart rate monitor so you can track your intensity, and lift weights and/or do intervals! You will achieve better results in far less time - science has proven it!
See you all next week.
Chris Kendrick, CSCS
DiVerge Fitness?Move Yourself!