Last year I went from 176 to 168 pounds. That’s not a lot of weight but it was nearly a 5% overall drop. What was great about it was that it was all body fat. Since I already had a good strength training routine in place along with a good diet I attribute most of this to adjusting my cardio exercise program.
Because I injured my knee a long time ago, my doctor had told me to stop running so I was doing low intensity cardio exercise by walking. It was keeping my heart fit but I wondered if high intensity cardio exercise might be better for me. Although my research had shown that that both high and low intensity exercises will help you burn off body fat, I still wanted to find out which would be the most effective way to burn off the most body fat. Scientists discovered a while back that during intensive exercises, your body burns glycogen. Glycogen is comprised of carbohydrates that are stored in your liver and muscles for energy. The scientists then did experiments to determine whether during low intensity exercises your body will burn fat. They found that it did. But if you look for evidence in the environment whether it works, the quick answer would be no. This is because there are so many obese people around, even though they are working out with low intensity routines. So it makes you wonder how it can be that low intensity exercises can burn body fat.
The interesting thing is that the scientists were right when they said the human body burns body fat during low intensity exercises like walking or swimming. But the facts are that during a high intensity exercise such as running or using the elliptical machine like I do, the body actually burns a lot more calories. And even if some of the calories are burnt are from glycogen, there are still many fat calories burned as well.What’s even better is that when your store of glycogen gets low, the carbohydrates from the food you eat get converted into glycogen to fill up your reserves in your liver and muscles. This means they won’t be converted into body fat when they are left as unused energy.The advantage of high intensity cardio exercise is that they will juice up your metabolism even after you have completed your workout. What this means to you is that your body will continue to burn body fat hours after you have left the gym. While this effect is nearly nonexistent in low intensity cardio or aerobic workout, your body will continue to burn up more and more calories during and after you have finished a high intensity cardio workout.One way that you can inject high intensity exercises into your cardio workout is by introducing some interval training. Interval training just means you do one type of exercise for a period of time then you’ll do another. For example you can walk for 5 minutes or so and then jog for another 5 minutes or so. After that walk briskly again until you have caught your breath and then sprint for 60 seconds before you walk again. Now you simply alternate your running and walking for the next 15 minutes until you are finished.
Of all the benefits you’ll get from cardio, one of the best things is that the more you do it, the more energy you’ll have. Although cardio will help you to burn calories, it’s more useful for keeping your energy levels high.If you’ve never tried cardio before, you absolutely need to give it a shot. If you already like to exercise, you’ll find cardio will boost your energy and keep you in tip top shape. If you are just starting out, begin slowly because it’s very easy to overexert yourself. No matter what, put cardio in your exercise program. You’ll be glad you did!If you would like to lose weight and get fit I have a FREE fitness e-Course!