Cardio seems to have a polarising effect, splitting the world almost evenly between those who love cardio and those who despise it. This blog is for both parties. For the cardio lovers, this blog will share alternative methods of fat burning that can be added to your current regime. For the cardio haters, this blog will give you options to burn fat in a way that means you might never have to set foot on a treadmill. Read on to discover the different ways in which you can burn fat.
The simplified principle of the caloric deficit is to ensure that calories going in are less than those going out. However, it is slightly more complex than that in practice, as the type of calories will determine how well you perform in the gym and how well you recover afterwards. Furthermore, you need to calculate your TDEE to determine how many calories you need to consume (or not consume) in order to enter a caloric deficit and lose weight, specifically fat. High protein, low carb and high fat diets have been shown to be an effective way to help reduce body fat when accompanied by a structured fitness program.
First, let us establish two critical points that should always be kept in mind before we continue:
- Weight does not equal size
- Body composition is far more important a measurement to gauge progress by than weight
Why the urge to stress those two points? Mainstream media and even various other articles have a tendency to oversimplify the results of studies done albeit with their own inherent flaws. For example, a study by Willis et al (2012) on the “Effects of aerobic and/or resistance training on body mass and fat mass in overweight or obese adults” caused a bit of a stir as media caught wind and spread the notion that aerobic exercise was the be all and end all of fat loss. However, fat loss and weight loss despite the tendency to be used interchangeably are NOT interchangeable terms. The results of the study do indicate that aerobic training was responsible for the greatest decrease in body weight but that includes a loss in both fat and muscle mass. On the other hand, resistance training was responsible for an increase in lean mass and thus promoted a more favourable body composition.
To further support the case for weight training one needs only to look at a study carried out by Lehri and Mokha (2006), which again looked at how effective aerobic and strength training were in causing weight loss and favourable body composition.
This study found that aerobic exercise (cardio for the purposes of this blog) was effective at reducing body weight from both fat mass and muscle mass whereas strength/resistance training conserved lean mass and reduced fat mass thus promoting a more favourable body composition.
Weight training not only improves your body composition but the increase in muscle size and strength also improves your capacity for burning more fat. However, cardio is a useful addition to any regime particularly when an individual is in the lower percentages of body fat.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a training approach that alternates between low to moderate intensity intervals and high intensity intervals. This principle can be applied to normal forms of cardio such as running and cycling but can also be performed using various exercises such as lunges, squats and press-ups.
HIIT has witnessed an almost meteoric rise in popularity due to its unique ability to improve both aerobic and anaerobic fitness in a time efficient manner. Studies have suggested that HIIT training can be a time-efficient component of weight management training programs for improving body composition(Wewege M, van den Berg R, Ward RE and Keech A, 2017).
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Lehri A. and Mokha R., (2006)Effectiveness of Aerobic and Strength Training in Causing Weight Loss and Favourable Body Composition in Females, Journal of Exercise Science and Physiotherapy, Vol2: pp96-99
Willis L. H., Slentz C. A. and Kraus W. E., (2012) Effects of aerobic and/or resistance training on body mass and fat mass in overweight or obese adults, Journal of Physiology, 113 (12):1831-1837
Wewege M, van den Berg R, Ward RE and Keech A , (2017) The effects of high-intensity interval training vs. moderate-intensity continuous training on body composition in overweight and obese adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev, 18(6):635-646.
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