Fat Burning Exercise Program
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For cardiovascular fitness, the Health Education Authority recommends 20 minutes of high-intensity aerobic activity repeated three times a week. As this level of training can only be managed by very wellconditioned athletes, an alternative recommendation of 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity repeated five times a week would be suitable for beginners and intermediate fitness participants. Both fat burning workout 1 and fat burning workout 2 in the fat burning workouts section involve a high level of intensity for 20 minutes, while fat burning workout 3 is a low-intensity workout suitable for beginners, in which cardio is maintained for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Whether you choose a high or low-intensity cardio program for fat burning depends on your goals, fitness level and time available. Both types will develop cardiovascular fitness and bum fat but high-intensity cardio (over 70% of your V02 max) is more effective. If time is a premium, shorter periods of high-intensity cardio will give you the same results in terms of fat loss as longer periods of low-intensity cardio.
Is Low-Intensity Cardio Exercise best for Fat Burning?
It's been a long-held belief that low-intensity cardio is the best way to burn fat. While this may be appropriate for beginners and is certainly more attractive for many casual exercisers, serious fitness trainers and athletes will reap greater benefits from training at a higher intensity. In fact, it is a myth that training in the so called 'fat-burning zone' (around 60-70% MHR) is optimal for fat burning.
The theory about the fat-burning zone came from a study that showed that lowintensity exercise burns a greater percentage of calories from fat than from carbohydrate. When high-intensity exercise is practiced, the percentage of fuel from carbohydrate is increased. However, the amount of fat burned is greater than or equal to that burned during low-intensity exercise. When it comes to fat loss it is not the proportion of each fuel metabolized but the total calorie expenditure that is most important. For the same workout time, you will burn more calories and more fat with high-intensity cardio. For example, walking (low-intensity cardio) for 60 minutes will burn about 270 kcal, of which approximately 60% (160 kcal) come from fat, while jogging (high-intensity cardio) for 60 minutes will burn about 680 kcal, of which approximately 40% (270 kcal) come from fat. Thus, the higher intensity exercise results in a greater fat loss over the same workout time.
Exactly how does Cardio Exercise Reduce your Fat Stores?
Regular cardio training enhances the body's ability to burn fat for energy both at rest and during activity. Not only do you burn extra fat calories during aerobic exercise but regular training has a long-term effect on your body's metabolism.
For example, regular cardio training increases the body's production of the enzyme lipoprotein lipase, which breaks down fat into its component fatty acids. These fatty acids are released into the bloodstream and transported to other tissues such as muscle where they are taken up by the cells, transferred into the mitochondria and broken down to release energy. Thus, cardio training increases the body's ability to break down fat. The more aerobically fit you are, the greater the percentage of fat you burn at any given exercise intensity. Just as you can train your muscles to become stronger and bigger, so you can train your aerobic system to burn fat more efficiently. Including aerobic training in your strength-training program will therefore help you to achieve and maintain a lower body fat percentage and better muscle definition.
However, the benefits of high-intensity training don't end with your workout. Following exercise, your metabolic rate remains elevated above resting levels for some time as your body replenishes its energy systems. This 'excess post-exercise oxygen consumption' (EPOC) is fueled almost entirely by fat. Following low-intensity training, the EPOC is very small. On the other hand, the EPOC following high-intensity training may be quite large. Also, highintensity cardio can lead to a significant increase in the resting metabolic rate (RMR), when performed at least three times a week. That means you continue burning more calories throughout the day, even when you are at rest.
What is the Best Fat Burning Exercise?
While all forms of aerobic activity burn fat, the best method for burning fat - and simultaneously increasing cardiovascular fitness - is high-intensity interval training. Performing a series of intervals at 80-90% MHR (maximum heart rate), or an RPE (Rating of perceived exertion) of 8-9 (very hard), as opposed to maintaining a steady intensity, burns up to 50% more fat than low-intensity exercise. But before you rush into it, you must be aware that this type of training is only suitable for very well-conditioned athletes and should not be attempted by beginners.
Once you have built up to it, high-intensity interval training is a very effective way of improving your body composition. Not only does it burn more calories during your workout compared with low-intensity training, it produces the greatest EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) and speeds up your metabolic rate for some time after your workout.
Interval training can easily be applied to any mode of exercise - e.g. running, cycling, stationary bike, stepping machine or any other cardio machine. During the interval phases, you increase either your speed or the resistance of the machine (e.g. the incline of a treadmill or the 'level' setting on a stationary bike) in order to reach the required RPE (rating of perceived exertion) level of 8-9 or 80-90% MHR (maximum heart rate). This is maintained for 15 seconds-3 minutes, depending on the intensity, followed by a recovery period at an RPE of 4 (somewhat hard) or 60% MHR for 30 seconds to 3 minutes. An interval training workout is detailed in our fat burning workouts section.
Is it Possible to do too much Cardio Exercise?
More isn't always better, as excessive cardio can result in muscle breakdown and a loss of muscle size and strength. During cardio training, small amounts of protein can be used for energy, although the misconception that it significantly depletes muscle mass relates more directly to poor dietary habits. Click for information on Protein.
The biggest problem is the combination of dieting - or an inadequate calorie intake - and excessive cardio. Dieters who go overboard with cardio training don't realize that a large proportion of their weight loss may be due to muscle loss. When the body doesn't get enough calories it draws upon its reserves, mainly in the form of fat (click for information on fat) but also from protein, which is found in muscle. Too much cardio takes calories away from muscle growth and you can end up literally canabalising your own muscle tissue to help your body meet its energy needs. That's the last thing a strength trainer wants.
For this reason cardio should be done in moderation, as per the guidelines detailed above. As we have seen, moderate amounts of cardio will help you lose fat, and give you numerous cardiovascular health benefits.
When is the Best Time for Cardio Exercise?
This depends on your individual lifestyle. Choose a time of day that fits in well with your daily schedule; that way you will be less likely to miss a workout.
If fat burning is your main goal, the best time to do your cardio workout is first thing in the morning. There is evidence that, when performed on an empty stomach, cardio enhances fat burning during and after your workout. According to research from the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin, fat burning is suppressed when carbohydrates are eaten during the six hours before exercise. This is due to the rise in insulin levels in the blood (caused by carbohydrates), which suppresses the breakdown of fat stores in adipose tissue and reduces the release of fatty acids into the bloodstream. Thus, fatty acids are less readily available as a fuel for the exercising muscles, an effect that can last for several hours after eating carbohydrates. Doing your cardio exercise after a period of fasting (e.g. first thing in the morning), when blood insulin levels are relatively low, will optimize the rate of fat breakdown and fat burning, and would be a more effective fat-burning strategy than doing your cardio exercise later in the day after you have eaten a few meals. However, it is more important that you fit your cardio exercise comfortably into your daily schedule than risk omitting it if you are unable to fit it in in the morning.
Research suggests that it may be better to perform your cardio and strength training as separate sessions to minimize catabolism (the breakdown of lean mass). But if you prefer to do both in one session, complete your weighttraining workout first when glycogen stores are high. Performing cardio prior to your strengthtraining workout may be counterproductive, resulting in reduced strength and early fatigue due to muscle glycogen depletion.
Lose inches and pounds with these fat burning tips.
Fat Burning Workouts - Perform this fat burning workouts program to burn your fat. There are three workouts for beginner, intermidiate aswell as advanced.
Fat Burning Food - Developing well defines muscles requires paying as much attention to your food and diet as your training program.
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