Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why Cardio Doesn't Burn Fat

By Mike Navin, CSCS

It never fails. Everytime you walk into the gym, you see the same people on the treadmill running like hamsters for 60 minutes. If you're wondering whether there's a way to get better results than doing that over and over again AND cut the amount of time that you're doing it by half, then you're in luck.

Interval training is where you warm up for a short period of time, and then you do an all out sprint for a period of time, and then you slow back down and recover for a period of time, and then go to an all out sprint again, followed by a recovery period again. You can use a number of different modalities for this: sprints on a treadmill, on a stationary bike resistance is more important that speed), or my favorite: hill sprints.

When comparing slow steady state cardio to interval training, studies show that overall steady state cardio burns more fat calories as a percentage of total calories during the workout. But, interval training burns more fat calories and total calories during the workout. Let me give you an example.

30 Minute Workout

Let's say you burn 200 calories over 30 minutes of a slow steady state cardio session. Out of that 200 calories, 120 were fat calories burned. So as a percentage, 60 percent of the calories burned came from fat calories. When looking at intervals, you did the same amount of time (30 minutes) but burned 300 calories, but only 50% of that was from fat. But you burned 100 more calories using the intervals and you ended up burning 150 fat calories during that session.

There's even more. When you do intervals, you are forced to use the muscle fibers that are there for strength and power. When these muscle fibers are damaged, it takes a lot more time and energy to repair them. With slow steady state cardio, there's damage to the endurance muscle fibers but, it doesn't take much for the body to repair those.

Due to the amount of energy that is needed to repair the strength and power muscle fibers, your body has to continue for hours (if not days) burning calories to repair those muscle fibers. So even 24 hours after the interval workout, you could still be burning calories, whereas the recovery from slow steady state cardio is pretty much complete only after a couple of hours.

Overall, for fat loss, interval training is the way to go. It might not be easy (but the things you want the most in life tend not to be) but the returns are phenomenal compared to slow steady state cardio.

Bottom line, use interval training to burn that body fat and you'll see better, quicker and more efficient results rather than doing slow steady state cardio.

Take a read of what others are saying about the workouts:

I have been taking kick-boxing with Mike for about a year and was ready to move up to the next level and add a different element to my exercise routine. After experiencing the "trial" camp I knew it wouldn't be easy, especially with an injured shoulder, but you get enough options to work at your own fitness level. I have truly been amazed at how strong my core has become. I was recently on vacation and was able to traverse trails marked strenuous with no difficulty. I have also regained more use of my arm than I thought possible. I would definitely recommend this class to anyone at any age who is looking for a workout that will produce great results.

- Ellen Templin, Allen Park, Michigan

Want workouts that will make your body a fat burning machine? Click on this link and get started:

Mike Navin, CSCS

About the Author.

Get a FREE copy of the Ten Lean Body Training Realities report along with three FREE workouts at Mike is a Strength and Conditioning Specialist and has been helping people for the last ten years burn body fat, lead healthier lives, and get them the body that they want. His 30 minute workouts are designed to burn calories not only during the workout but more importantly afterwards. To learn more, visit

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