Which Burns More Fat,
High Or Low Intensity Cardio?
Just in case you are still confused over this question, I decided to try and quell the ambiguity surrounding this topic. It's really not as complicated as we all tend to make it. So here's the dealeo:
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The two primary energy sources we use are carbs and fat. When we exercise we use a combination of both. Yes, low intensity workouts tend to burn more calories from fat than high intensity workouts do because fat requires oxygen. That's why they call it aerobic exercise, which means with oxygen. As your intensity increases it becomes anaerobic, which means without oxygen. At this point your body shifts where it draws its energy from. For instance, when you go from walking to running you are obviously increasing your intensity, right?
When you are walking your body is getting most of its energy from fat and secondarily from carbs. When you are running you will use primarily carbs and secondarily fat. But hold on a minute because there is much more to the cardio story to be told.
In the end, it doesn't matter whether the calories burned come from fat or carbs. The total calorie expenditure should be your focus. You will burn more calories with higher intensity cardio than you will with low intensity cardio and in less time, hence quicker weight loss.
Think about this: If you walk for 30 minutes or you interval train (walk/run) for 30 minutes, doesn't it make sense that you'd burn more calories in that same 30 minutes by increasing the intensity?
Or look at it this way: Which would you rather do? Walk 60 minutes, walk/run interval 30-40 minutes, or brisk walk on varied terrain for about 40-45 minutes? I don't know about you, but burning more calories in less time is a win/win in my book every time!
Of course, some people cannot run or do higher intensity exercise due to certain limitations such as age, arthritis, injuries, etc. In that case you may have to stick with longer duration and lower intensity. But there are various ways to increase the intensity that you may be able to try, such as switch up from treadmill to elliptical or riding a bike now and then or throw some hills or hiking into the cardio mix. The point is, figure out what you can do and work with that.
PUTTING IT INTO PERSPECTIVE
Let's say you are a person who strength trains 2-3 days a week and does cardio 3-5 days a week. You are eating a healthy diet and are maintaining your weight at 165 pounds, but you'd rather weigh 150. What do you need to do?
You have three options at this point.
1) You can keep doing exactly what you are doing (the same exercise routine) but start consuming fewer calories (eating less).
2) You can keep eating the same way and the same amount of calories and increase your frequency and/or intensity of exercise.
3) Or you can exercise a little more and eat a little less.
IN SUMMARY: If you are looking to lose weight safely and as quickly as possible, you will need to either reduce calorie intake and/or increase exercise intensity/frequency.
If you are looking for generally improving the quality of your life and health,
along with either
high or low intensity cardio exercise
will definitely do the trick!
EXERCISE OF THE MONTH
This is the part of the newsletter where I feature an exercise and give explicit instructions on its proper execution.
This month's featured exercise is lying dumbbell triceps extensions. As I stated last month, it's almost time to bare our arms for the summer, so let's polish up those guns with some triceps training!
Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extensions
Primary Muscle Group Worked: Triceps.
To see a video
and watch the first exercise of the workout.
Preparation: Lie on a flat bench, holding dumbbells straight up in the air as shown above.
Execution: Carefully lower the weights to the ears by bending at the elbow, keeping upper arms straight up in the air. Use caution so as not to hit yourself in the face or head with the weights. (You laugh until you do this exercise and realize how easy that would be to do.) So please take my word for it and focus on controlling this move. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.
TIP: Keep elbows straight up with no movement in the shoulder joint. This is a single-joint (elbow) movement, thereby isolating the triceps.
THE PONDER POND
Okay, peeps! This is the inspirational part of the newsletter known as the "Ponder Pond" where you're welcome to take a swim in the sweet waters of inspiration.
This month's video
is in tribute to all the heroes at Monday's horrific Boston Marathon bombings. I am always awestruck at the amazing acts of heroism and compassion during times of tragedy such as these. My heart is heavy and my eyes are tear-filled as I continue to grieve and pray for the victims and their families and friends. May God give them the strength and courage to triumph over this unthinkable atrocity, and may his healing touch continue to shower them with miracles and love.
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to head on over and give it a read! I will be posting a new blog in the next few weeks.
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Thanks so much for subscribing to this newsletter and for reading it and for your support. Our relationship is reciprocal as I live and learn from all that happens in my life, just as you live and learn through yours. We are truly in this together, and I empathize with your challenges as I do my own. I promise to hang in there and learn and grow along with you, and I hope that sharing through my writing maybe helps you a smidge. If it does, that is my payback. It is why I continue to do what I do.
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From my heart to your health,
Linda Burke, CPT