Cardio is a huge factor in leaning out, but what type of cardio should you be doing?
A lot of trainers have different opinions when it comes to what type of cardio exercise you should be doing to achieve the summer body. I constantly see people at the gym or outside running like there is a zombie apocalypse or a briscoes closing down sale, but they’re not getting the results they deserve with the amount of effort they are putting in. Most people believe that the harder they work out, the more fat they will burn. Most people are wrong.
The truth is fat burning occurs at a much lower intensity than many of us realise (60-75% of max heart rate). Which means even though you’re sweating it out in the gym, or running for long distances, you might actually be missing an opportunity to lose fat – and even worse, you could be eating into that hard earned muscle, I have experienced this tragedy myself in the past.
This post will focus on the cardio side of things and why, and how, you should be doing cardio to target fat burning.
Your body uses two main pathways for energy.
With the anaerobic pathway, your body uses it’s creatine phosphate and glycogen (which comes from carbs) stores as fuel for high intensity exercise such as HIIT, weights and short interval training.
The aerobic pathway uses stored fat, glycogen (carbs) and limited protein to produce energy. Your body will use these during low to moderate intensity exercise, such as power walking. Because this type of exercise burns FAT, it is super important and this is what I will be focusing on in this post.
When you do cardio at a low to moderate intensity, the body’s preferred fuel is glycogen (carbohydrates) first, and then fats. However, the longer you exercise, the more fat your body will burn. So by doing longer power walks, your body will burn more fat.
There are two times when this form of cardio is most effective, keep in mind that the idea is to train smarter and not necessarily harder.
Although HIIT (High intensity interval training) is still very effective in turning you into a calorie burning machine, when training to target fat and conserve your body’s hard earnt muscle, low to moderate intensity training is your best friend. Mapping out the best time of day that this will work for you, and making sure your diet isn’t too carb heavy, this form of cardio will have you well on your way to achieving that lean body.