Cardio In a Pinch: How To Burn Fat Fast
Is it really necessary to spend hours walking on a treadmill just to lose fat?” The answer may surprise you.
Let’s face it, no matter how much you love exercising and/or being in the gym, it’s simply not practical to spend hours upon hours exercising every day. Most people lead busy, stressful lives outside of their exercise regimen and need to get as much done as possible in a small time-frame.
This begs the question, “Is it really necessary to spend hours walking on a treadmill l just to lose fat?” The short answer is no. If anything, doing lots of low-intensity cardio is actually less efficient for fat loss than turning up the intensity and reducing the duration. For many people, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the answer they’ve been looking for all along.
Essentially, HIIT is a way to minimize wasted time in the gym while still allowing for optimal fat loss. There is rather compelling research findings behind HIIT for fat loss. You can implement HIIT in to your exercise regimen for better results (in less time)!
BENEFITS OF HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT)
High-intensity interval training (HIIT), also sometimes referred to as tabata training, is any form of exercise where you exert yourself as hard as you can until exhaustion kicks in (e.g. sprinting for 20 to 30 seconds). This forces your body to rely on anaerobic metabolism (since oxygen is depleted.) You end up taxing a variety of energy systems in the body.
In turn, HIIT elicit a variety of beneficial metabolic adaptations that traditional low-intensity cardiovascular exercise (like walking) does not. Better yet,research contends that HIIT is a highly efficient way to enhance the fat-loss process, primarily due to what is colloquially called, “The Afterburn Effect.”1
Basically, after performing HIIT, your body works harder to compensate for the oxygen deficit and burns more calories at rest. This metabolic increase doesn’t occur when doing low-intensity exercise like walking or steady-state cardio; in fact, the inverse can actually occur (i.e. the body decreases its metabolic rate at rest to compensate for all the calories burned during exercise).
Moreover, HIIT is much less time consuming than spending hours on a treadmill or other cardio machine. It should seem rather intuitive that doing a short burst of intense cardio is much more efficient than halfheartedly walking while watching TV at the gym.
The research-backed benefits of HIIT are numerous and include:2,3
• Promotes sustainable fat loss
• Improves cholesterol levels and blood pressure
• Helps keep your heart healthy
• Improves insulin sensitivity
• Increases resting metabolic rate
So you can see why performing HIIT over traditional low-intensity, long-duration exercise is much more beneficial in terms of improving your overall health and drastically increasing fat loss (and as aforementioned, in much less time)!
Sadly, most women feel that the best way to shape t heir body and achieve a more toned look is to spend hours slaving away on the treadmill with no intense training. The reality is that the best way to “bring out your curves” is to push yourself hard via HIIT as this will increase your strength and metabolism.
As alluded to earlier, if all you do is constantly endure long bouts of low/moderate intensity cardio than you ’ re actually going to reduce your metabolic rate and gradually lose muscle mass. Eventually, you will have lowered your body-weight bu t increased your body-fat percentage and you will look “skinny-fat,” which is not a very fun predicament to be in.
THE WORKOUT ROUTINE
Tabata training is a specific form of HIIT invented by the Japanese physician Dr. Izumi Tabata; essentially it’s a 4-minute workout where you exert yourself as hard as possible for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest/recovery (and the process is repeated 8 times, thus it’s 4 minutes long). The cardio recommended below is based of f the Tabata approach.
Note: this workout can be performed either on a cardio machine of choice (ideally an upright bike) or in an open space if you want to do free sprints.
1. Begin by warming up at a moderate pace for 3 – 5 minutes. You should work a small sweat and loosen up your joints during this period.
2. Now ramp up the intensity by sprinting/exerting yourself as hard as possible for 15 second intervals (seriously, do not stop or slow down during the 15 seconds). Don’t worry though, you can catch your breath afterwards!
3. Once you’ve completed the interval, perform active rest (i.e. light walking, pedaling, etc.) for 30 seconds and prepare yourself for the next 15 second sprint/interval.
4. Repeat this process up to 10 times and voila! You’ve completed the routine! Amazing what you can accomplish in under 20 minutes isn’t it? If you pushed yourself hard enough, you should finish your workout exhausted and sweaty.
Don’t give in to the idea that you need to just be a cardio bunny that does hours of cardio for a toned, shapely figure.
The more HIIT you incorporate, the more shapely your body will be, and the strength and explosiveness you gain will empower you. Better yet, other aspects of your training and exercise regimen will greatly improve.
1 Kordi, M. R., Choopani, S., Hemmatinafar, M., & Choopani,Z. (2013). The effects of six weeks high intensity interval training (HIIT) on resting plasma levels of adiponectin and fat loss in sedentary young women. Journal of Jahrom University of Medical Sciences,11 (1), 23- 31.
2 Shiraev, T., & Barclay, G. (2012). Evidence based exercise: Clinical benefits of high intensity interval training. Australian family physician,41 (12), 960. 3 Gaesser, G. A., & Angadi, S. S. (2011). High-intensity interval training for health and fitness: can less be more?. Journal of Applied Physiology,111 (6), 1540-1541.
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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.