By Craig Ballantyne
The #1 reason for not working out is a lack of time.
If you get up at 5:30am to drive an hour to work, only to get home at 6pm and then have to launch right into carting the kids around, who can blame you for not working out? Not when it takes 45 minutes to do cardio, and another 30-45 minutes for isolation bodybuilding workouts.
If that’s the way you have to exercise to lose fat, then practically no normal person is going to be able to pull that off.
But when you look at the science, you’ll see that you can get more results in less time. You just have to increase the intensity of the workout, but at the same time, you can cut your workout time in half (or more!).
I am convinced that an effective fat loss workout can be done in 45 minutes or less, and that long, slow, excruciatingly boring cardio is not necessary for you to get the body you want. Please, read on…
Here are the details on the superiority of interval training when compared to traditional aerobic exercise:
Q: What is the role of interval training vs. steady state aerobics in a fat loss program?
Answer: Interval training is more important than cardio. First of all, it gets more results in less time. And with “lack of time” being the number one reason most people do not participate in a training program at all, clearly intervals are the winner here.
Now let’s just assume that lack of time is not a problem. Well, interval training is still more effective because it applies more “turbulence” to the muscle. Or in scientific terms, interval training results in a greater metabolic stress on the muscle.
And that causes more calories to be burned in the important 23.5 hours per day when you are not exercising.
From there, the muscle must work to recover, repair, and replenish the energy that was used in the training. It is much more metabolic work for the muscle to recover from interval training (and strength training) than it is to recover from aerobic training.
Therefore, in the post-exercise period, interval training results in more calories burned.
In fact, I just read a new study from Australia that shows interval training is superior to slow cardio for fat loss.
The researchers, Trapp & Boutcher put WOMEN through a 15 week study where one group was a control, one group did intervals (20 minutes of alternating sprints and recovery), and one group did 40 minutes of slow cardio.
The interval group lost 2.5kg of fat in 15 weeks on average (with one subject losing 7.7kg of fat), while the slow cardio group lost only 0.4kg of fat over 15 weeks on average.
The results speak for themselves.
So don’t get hung up on how many calories are burned during a training session with aerobic training. That is not nearly as important as how many total calories your body burns over the course of the day – and you will burn more with interval training.
And for those that subscribe to the fat burning zone as being important, again, you aren’t looking at the big picture (the 24-hour calorie burning period). Instead, those that believe in the importance of the fat-burning zone have a myopic view of how the body works.
The same message applies to those people that live and die by the cardio on an empty stomach method. You’re “nickel and dime-ing” the fat loss process, when really it’s a much bigger budget to balance.
Look at the big picture. Get your nutrition in order, then focus your workouts on brief, intense strength and interval training workouts that increase your metabolism for the next 24 hours.
Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men’s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit www.TurbulenceTraining.com
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