If so you shouldn’t be…
Well at least not the way that you’ve been taught up to this point…
For years it has been common knowledge that you need an hour of cardio per day in your “fat burning zone” to lose weight.
What if this was crap information? Is cardio really the preferred way to lose weight? Have you ever heard of HIIT? If not I’m sure you have heard of strength/resistance training.
For those that don’t know about HIIT, it stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It is based on the theory that if you workout for short, intense intervals (as opposed to long bouts of standard cardio) that you will burn more calories in the same amount of time.
This creates a much more efficient and effective type of exercise program compared to your current standard cardio workout.
Let me explain:
Let’s say you have two workout regimens to choose from…
1) Run on a treadmill for 60 minutes – 5 days a week
2) Do strength resistance exercises for about 25 minutes, followed by HIIT for 20 minutes – 3 days a week
Which of the two would you rather do? The one that is the quickest way to lose weight right?
Of course you’d only rather workout 3 days a week. I’m sure you (like I) are way too busy to be at the gym 5 days a week. Our time is precious and we shouldn’t waste it working out superfluously. We should focus our time on the most efficient workouts possible in order to optimize our results.
Now you may be skeptical, but don’t be. Studies have proven that interval and strength training increase your body’s metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories than standard cardio alone.
It is better to see with an example…
Say you walk on a treadmill at a steady 4 mph. Over the course of an hour you may burn 600 calories or so.
Compare that to walking at 6 mph for intervals of about 30 seconds followed by 45 seconds of active rest (back down at 4 mph). Repeat this cycle for 30 minutes and you’ll not only burn calories while you walk, but your metabolism will increase to a level that keeps you burning calories long after you are done, including while you sleep.
Just make sure you have a 5 minute warm-up (walking at 4 mph or slower) and a 3 minute cool down period (again at 4 mph or slower).
You now have a workout that is 3 times more effective and can be done in literally half the time. There are numerous ways to incorporate intervals too – I personally prefer the stationary bike… The model I have has 8 levels of resistance. I currently do intervals on level 6, so not only am I increasing my metabolism from intervals, but the resistance develops my muscle mass as well.
I usually do intervals for 20 minutes or so. I start out at a slow pace, 10 mph or so I’d say. My intervals actually run for 30 seconds at about 15 mph, followed by an active rest of 45 seconds back down at 10 mph.
Now the bike will say that I burned about 235 calories when I’m done, but my metabolism will still be cranking when I’m done, so I know I will have burned much more than that by the time the night is over.
If I just rode at 10 mph for 30 minutes I’d only burn about 300 calories total because my body wouldn’t be working as hard to recover.
Hopefully you can see with this example how much more effective interval training is over standard cardio.
The same metabolism benefits are given when you incorporate strength resistance to your workouts. You shouldn’t focus on just cardio, ever. That includes using only HIIT. Your body needs to be pushed to its limit.
By pushing your body with resistance, you are making using more energy (i.e. burning calories) to return it to its original state.
This metabolism boost is the key to losing weight friend, don’t let anyone tell you different (from an exercise stand point of course – you still need to have a healthy diet).
There are many weight lifting programs out there for your choosing, just be careful with your selection. There is a lot of crap information out there and I don’t want you using the wrong program.