Cardio Training: Burning Calories the Old Fashioned Way
Cardio training--whether it's walking, running, swimming, cycling or getting on the treadmill, elliptical machine, spin cycle, or any of the myriad cardio machines you see in the gym--has long been held as the ideal way to achieve weight loss. The average person spends up to an hour moving their arms and legs at a moderate intensity, keeping themselves in what the machine or their fitness monitor tells them is the fat burning zone.
Exercising in that moderate intensity zone "fat burning zone" burns more calories from fat as a proportion of total calories burned. However, the reality of the situation is that you burn fewer calories from fat than if you increased your intensity level. For example, suppose you spend 60 minutes on the elliptical machine at a moderate intensity and you burn 400 calories, half of which (200) are fat calories. If you spent that same hour performing high-intensity cardio training, you might burn 700 calories, with 300 calories coming from fat. That in itself should make you want to up your intensity because in the same amount of time, you're burning more fat, which means a leaner body. After all, that's why you're spending all that time on the machine! Here's the rub though. Because cardio training is essentially catabolic, meaning it consumes muscle as well as fat, you end up lowering your metabolism over time.
Here's how it works: During and after moderate intensity exercise, your body consumes oxygen for a variety of physiological functions. These include synthesizing Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the fuel your cells need to function. It also includes balancing your hormone levels, repairing muscle tissues and nerves, replenishing fuel (glycogen) stored in the muscles for future exercise, and most importantly, restoring your body temperature to resting levels and returning your body to a resting state. Consuming oxygen, however, requires energy (approximately 5 calories per liter of oxygen). Because moderate intensity exercise keeps you in the aerobic state, meaning you are able to consume enough oxygen to perform all of these functions, when you stop, your body quickly cools and returns to a resting state and calorie burn reverts to your Resting Metabolic Rate. In other words, you burn higher levels of calories while you're exercising, but quickly drop back to resting levels.
With high intensity cardio training, your body doesn't get enough oxygen to fuel your muscle contractions, and the physiological functions listed above. To keep your body in motion, your body resorts to anaerobic (without oxygen) energy pathways to produce ATP which is far less efficient than aerobic ATP production. As a result, your body goes into oxygen deficit while exercising. Then, after you finish your workout, your body starts to erase the oxygen deficit through what is called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). As already mentioned, consuming oxygen burns calories, so while you're in EPOC you're still burning calories. That's great news for anyone trying to lose weight because it means burning calories both during and after the workout. However, because high intensity cardio training ultimately reduces your muscle mass, there's less muscle tissue to repair and fewer cells to refuel, and a lower oxygen deficit. So, your body still reverts to a resting state fairly quickly (within a few hours after you finish.) That's better than moderate intensity cardio, but there's a better way.
A Better Way: Metabolic Resistance Training Is More Effective At Burning Fat!
The Simple act of adding resistance training into your cardio solves the problem of muscle catabolism. Of course, you could do two separate workouts: resistance training and cardio. But that means spending more time in the gym and my guess is that you're like most people, and your time is limited with professional, familial and social obligations.
What we do here at Proactive Evolution is what is called Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT). MRT combines high intensity interval training (HIIT) with resistance training to build muscles and get your body into oxygen deficit, and keeping it there longer so that at the end of your workout, your body will have created a very high oxygen deficit and need to continue to consume oxygen (EPOC) to restore your body to its resting state for quite some time. And as stated above, that means your body continues to burn calories long after the workout has finished. In fact, multiple studies have shown that the MRT workouts can burn calories for 48-72 hours after you've taken off your sweaty workout clothes. So, with just three one hour workouts per week, you can burn more calories than 5 to 6 hours or more of traditional cardio training, plus build a strong, lean, agile and powerful body while you're at it. It is worth noting that MRT will not result in you looking like a bodybuilder. Instead, you will get a ripped physique that will get you noticed without making you look like a freak on steroids. Whether you're a man or a woman, MRT workouts will get you the results you've always sought and admired while saving you time for the other activities that you want to do.
For more information on how Proactive Evolution's MRT workouts can fit into your life, click on over to the Contact page and send us a message or call us at (760) 56-EVOLVE! Do it today and get started on the fastest path to fitness, and the body you want!