Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Truth About Cardio Part 2

by: Eduardo Lorenzo

O.K. Here I go again… more on cardio.

Last time I wrote to you about the different types of cardio workouts and the pitfall some of us end up in; without seeing actual results. This can be discouraging to some, so how can you avoid it?

Well I have great news for you. Despite what you might have heard, the best way burn fat is not by doing endless hours of long, slow, boring cardio. Instead, scientific research proves you can burn more belly fat in just half the time. (Let me clarify this before I get slammed by e-mails or comments stating that I am crazy– this is CARDIO TRUTH TO BURN FAT, so if you are running a 5k or 10k, a marathon or just enjoy running by all means you need cardio endurance, which leads to hours of cardio training – if you like that. However what I am referring to is about FAT BURNING CARDIO).

Here's why this type of training works…researchers have found that interval training - periods of harder than normal cardio exercise followed by periods of very light activity - burn belly fat faster than long slow cardio.

For example, in a study conducted at the University of South Wales, Australia; scientists had women do a 12 week workout program, using either interval training (for only 20 minutes) or slow cardio (for 40 minutes, meaning they had to exercise twice as long!). Each subject exercised only three times per week… The results, the women who used interval training lost more belly fat than women doing cardio – even though the cardio workouts were twice as long! And there are many more studies that have proven to be the same.

So if your goal is to lose body fat, better yet belly fat; then you need to drop the long, slow boring cardio from your routine. I know it may be hard to believe that if you cut down your time you will actually see better results. But that is the truth, and all I want is to help you get in shape and feel good. It’s up to you to do it or not; but if your current program is not working then you have nothing to lose… except belly fat that is!

Here's what you need to do instead. If you read part 1 of “The Truth About Cardio” you should already understand the concept of Interval Training, if not read it again. Always start your exercise session with a warm-up. Make sure you don't skip this. Then increase the intensity along with the proper rest periods during the core part of your cardio exercise, followed by a cool down of 4 to 5 minutes. This should not take you more than 20 to 25 minutes.

You can also opt to include some group fitness classes into your exercise program, but remember you gotta bring it in order for the workout to be beneficial. You can also spice up your resistance training program like in circuit style, cross training or join the Boot Camp program. Trust me there is no better way to spice up your workouts and take it to the next level.

I’ll take this one step further, I’ll write another post in the following days about how to incorporate proper circuit training, frequency and the benefits of Boot Camp.

In the meantime, if you have a specific question or would like to comment on this I would love to hear from you. Remember the best thing you can do to improve your fat burning cardio program is to give up long, slow boring cardio, and switch over to interval training to lose fat.

Author: Eduardo Lorenzo, NASM-CPT specializes in sports performance, injury prevention, corrective exercises, physique enhancement, Boot Camp and weight loss programs.

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