Cardio workouts might be good for the heart but are they really the best way to lose weight? If you only do aerobic exercise then the answer is probably not.
It would be good if it was as simple as just exercising long enough to burn 3,500 calories and that would automatically equate to a pound of fat lost. But, unfortunately, your body is too complex a machine for it to be that easy. What you really need to do is exercise in such a way that you actually speed up your metabolism, not just burn calories. This will train your body to use its fat stores as an energy source. And that’s something that generally just isn’t achievable by doing aerobic exercise only.
To increase your metabolism, what’s important is that you increase your calorie burning rate, not the amount. That’s why you won’t achieve much weight loss with walking; you’re not increasing the rate. If you can train your body to increase the rate, you’ll burn more energy right throughout the day. That’s when you’ll see weight loss results.
So what’s the best way to increase metabolism?
Cardio training using a heart rate monitor is the most effective way. If you buy just one item of fitness equipment, make it a heart rate monitor. This will allow you to work out at your optimum level by ensuring that, in each session, you are working in the proper heart rate zone. And to find the right heart rate zone you need to know your anaerobic threshold (also known as lactate threshold).
Anaerobic threshold is the point at which lactic acid starts to build up in the bloodstream. Before you reach this point, your aerobic metabolism is able remove the lactic acid from your body. When it’s no longer able to keep up, your anaerobic metabolism takes over, providing you with energy for a short period of time by burning stored sugars. Eventually though, lactic acid build up will cause cramping and you’ll be forced to stop. By using a heart rate monitor you can discover the highest rate at which you are able to work without going over the anaerobic threshold.
Interval training is the most effective cardio workout for weight loss. With interval training you work at high intensity for a short period (usually only a couple of minutes) followed by a short period of low intensity work, such as walking. During the high intensity phase, you will push your body over its anaerobic threshold. This type of training is only a part of your overall fitness plan though and should only be done once a week. Your heart rate monitor will ensure that you are working in the right heart rate zone so that you get the most out of your interval training.
In addition to your interval training, you should also do low and medium intensity training. Low intensity training is where you work at a slow and steady pace for a long period. Your heart rate should be neither too slow nor too fast. A slow run, swim or cycle for around an hour is ideal for this type of training. The aim is to train your body to burn fat efficiently.
Medium intensity training involves working just below your anaerobic threshold without pushing yourself over it. You should work at the highest rate you can sustain for about 15 to 30 minutes. This type of workout trains your aerobic metabolism to work at its maximum, resulting in more energy being burnt and a faster metabolism.
You don’t have to do all this on your own though. Working with a Live Lean Today personal trainer can help you achieve your desired results by providing you with a personalized heart rate profile and an exercise program designed specifically for you and the weight loss goals you want to achieve.
Copyright (c) 2011 Rod Hoss