About 99.9% of people trying to lose weight automatically turn to the treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike. They will set the treadmill for 3.5 mph and then walk for 30 minutes or until they burn a certain number of calories. Or they will take a walk through the neighborhood with their friends or jog a few miles before work. And at the end of the workout they feel good about the healthy exercises they have done.
They should feel good, these types of cardio exercises are very good for your health. They help prevent coronary heart disease, control blood sugar levels and help decrease blood pressure and cholesterol, just to name a few.
But this long, slow distance type of cardio does NOT lead to fat loss.
Shocked? Don’t be.
Research shows that doing high intensity interval training leads to greater fat loss than long, slow distance cardio.
Why are high intensity cardio intervals so effective for fat burning?
1. EPOC – excess post exercise oxygen consumption refers to the time after a workout where oxygen intake remains elevated as a result of the activity. The more intense the activity you perform, the longer EPOC will last. Not only will you be burning fat and calories during the activity but you will be burning fat and calories for hours after you stop the activity.
2. Growth hormone – High intensity cardio intervals stimulate the release of growth hormone into your body. Growth hormone, among other things, helps your body burn fat and gain muscle. We want to do everything we can to stimulate the release of growth hormone because the more we have the leaner we are.
Am I saying you should never take a walk with your friends or train for a 5k? No. If you enjoy doing these things, by all means, keep doing them.
But if you are doing them for the sole purpose of weight loss then you will be walking a long time. You must engage in appropriate fat loss workouts for weight loss.
Get out there and hustle!
P.S. Please leave a comment to let me know how you are going to make the switch from long, slow cardio to high intensity cardio intervals.