The great myth of aerobic and cardiovascular exercises to lose weight
A storm is brewing on the fitness and weight loss front. It is caused by a backlash against conventional long-duration cardiovascular and aerobic exercise sessions.
Exercising for 30 minutes or more has long been popular in “fat burning” weight loss programs. But new alternative training programs recommend short bursts of intensity for workouts that last less than 20 minutes.
What is magical about the 20-minute barrier?
Well, after 20 minutes of training we started to burn fat. Before 20 minutes, our workout burns carbohydrates and other sources of energy to sustain the workout. On the surface, burning fat during a workout might seem like a good thing, especially if the workout is part of a weight loss program.
This is where the controversy and the new way of thinking about training arise.
Proponents of shorter duration workouts, such as Dr. Al Sears, who developed the 12-Minute PACE® Program, believe that our bodies adapt to burning fat during workouts by generating more fat before the next exercise session. The body will manufacture what it feels is depleted and needs, in this case… more fat.
For people looking for an exercise program to lose weight, putting on fat is the last thing they want their body to do.
The science of shorter workouts maintains that the session lasts 20 minutes or less BEFORE you enter the “fat burn” period. This allows for the replenishment of muscle and other sources of energy by burning fat AFTER the workout has ended.
Because you are burning fat while you rest, the body does not feel the need to replace this fat unlike after a long session of low-intensity cardio or aerobic training.
While there are a number of short, intense training programs that last from 7 to 15 minutes, care must be taken to choose a program that will provide recovery between these short bursts of intensity. An intense workout that makes your heart and lungs work for as little as 7 minutes without rest could weaken these organs over time instead of making them stronger.
While many people on a weight loss program will be relieved to find that they don’t have to spend hours every day on gym equipment or jogging long distances, these programs still require periods of high-intensity training; in other words… you’ll start to sweat.
The intended outcome behind these programs is still to get fit and strengthen your lungs and heart, but the workouts are designed to simulate a more natural stimulation of your heart and lungs.
After all, our bodies were developed for short bursts of energy to escape and survive from predators rather than long periods of sustained muscle tension where the body feels like it is under constant attack.
A weight loss program should consist of eating the right foods in the right portions and exercising regularly. Choosing the right exercise routine is just as important as eating healthy, and if you’re looking for a “fat burning” exercise program, then consider a short intensity alternative to the good old cardio and aerobics of yesterday.