Confused about what exercise works best for your fat loss goals? Who has less body fat the marathon runner or the sprinter?
The answer we normally always hear is the marathon running but in fact the correct answer is the sprinter. A sprinter will do no steady state or long distance running as this may even make them slower for their event! Most people seeking fat loss goals opt for a training schedule similar to the marathon runners, 30-60 minutes of continuous cardiovascular work 3-5 times per week.
There are 5 main reasons why training like a marathon runner will leave you still looking for that learner body.
- Continuous or steady state aerobic training benefits plateaus after 8 weeks and can be counterproductive for fat loss.
- Aerobic training can lead to an excessive build of free radicals which can accelerate aging.
- Aerobic training can lower power and strength which is key in building lean muscle.
- Aerobic training increases adrenal fatigue which can make you fatter.
- Aerobic training will reduce your hard earned lean muscle mass, reducing metabolism.
If you opt for a training schedule similar to that of a sprinter, which involves high intensity interval training and resistance/weight training we can guarantee you will make progress towards your fat loss goals.
- Resistance training will increase lean muscle mass which will lead to an increased metabolism. For every pound of lean muscle mass you gain, you burn an extra 50 calories per day at rest.
- Calorie expenditure after a resistance training session can remain elevated for between 24-48 hours, where the body is undergoing adaptations from training.
- Resistance training will not increase cortisol (stress hormone) like aerobic training. Elevated cortisol stress can break down your muscle mass and reduce your calorie burning and promote fat storage around the midsection/gut area.
- Resistance training will increase growth hormone and testosterone levels which increases your ability to build lean muscle which will burn more fat.
The above pyramid highlights the importance of strength and conditioning for fat loss, this form of training is essential for fat loss. This provides us with a solid base by where the body increases it’s metabolism by increased lean muscle from the training. Strength and conditioning training will underpin everything, if not done before the other 2 forms of training injuries are more likely to occur. First of all your training should mainly consist of compound (working more than one muscle group) conditioning exercises such as squats, lunges, pull ups and press ups etc.
Secondly you should concentrate on interval high intensity cardiovascular exercise, this is where the heart rate is raised very high for a short period of time. A great protocol which encourages the body burn fat is to either sprint flat out, box flat out or row as quick as possible for 45 seconds then rest for 3-5 minutes, then repeat between 6-10 sets, and we mean FLAT OUT!
Last of all steady state cardiovascular training is the icing on the cake, by no means essential for fat loss but can help gain the extra edge once the other forms of training have been cracked and you are well on the way to achieving your goals. Also this is done last to ensure your body is burning fat and not muscle which can be the case if this is done before strength & conditioning and interval cardiovascular training.
To round up at Cre8 Fitness we are not against cardiovascular exercise, however for fat loss there are many alternative strength and conditioning exercises that will give you more bang for your buck. We do believe cardio can have a positive effect on fat loss, what we do encourage is for all the treadmill and x-trainer fans out there, change it up and do some demanding strength and conditioning exercises coupled with explosive high tempo FLAT OUT sprints and your results will increase 10 fold.