Weight Loss/Weight Loss Reviews

You Don't Need To Exercise To Lose Weight Or Do You?

You Don't Need To Exercise To Lose Weight Or Do You? by Katrina McKenna, BA, CES, CSCS

There have been some reports on a recent research study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism that claims that diet and exercise are no better than dieting alone for weight-loss, fat-loss and body composition improvements. This report also says that exercise doesn't preserve muscle mass.

Unfortunately, what the report fails to mention is what the participants of the study did for exercise. Apparently to most people exercise means steady-state aerobic training because that is the type of exercise used in the study, "Effect of calorie restriction with or without exercise on body composition and fat distribution." So what the study did prove was that steady-state cardio exercise is equivalent to dieting for weight-loss.

I agree steady state aerobic exercise is not very helpful in fat-loss or muscle growth. So the study is really no big surprise. But the interpretation of the study does not specify the type of exercise and is very misleading. The suggestion is that all exercise is created equal which is absolutely wrong. The type of exercise is critical to losing fat.

Another study in Metabolism (1994 Jul;43(7):814-8), "Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism" demonstrated that high intensity interval training exercise created a 9 time greater loss in subcutaneous fat than the steady state cardio group.

That's nine times, that means a 15 minute interval training workout creates more fat loss than a two hour steady state cardio workout out. Which workout would you rather do? This happens because high intensity exercise causes your body to burn excess calories for hours after the exercise session. On the other hand, steady state cardio just allows you to become more and more efficient at burning calories so you burn less and less each time for the same effort.

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism study even mentions that high intensity exercise can have a greater effect on fat loss, insulin sensitivity and cholesterol profiles than lower intensity exercise. Why didn't the report mention this?

Then of course, any legitimate weight loss program must include weight training. While the participants of this recent study did lose some muscle mass, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1993 Oct;58(4):561-5), "Muscle hypertrophy with large-scale weight loss and resistance training" demonstrates that even with extremely low calorie intake resistance training still causes an increase in muscle mass.

The report states that the one of the authors of the study, Ravussin, has published other studies that indicate that exercise does not increase muscle mass that increases weight loss. Well, here we are with what exercise means again. I agree, steady state aerobic exercise does not increase muscle mass. There is no question that resistance training does increase muscle mass.

Oddly the report states, "And their carefully controlled study added to the evidence that adding muscle mass does not somehow boost metabolism and help dieters take off even more weight." Since both groups lost a small amount of muscle mass, this study could not possibly have come to this conclusion. Additionally, muscle is metabolically active tissue, many chemical processes are occurring inside muscle tissue and muscle creates movement, these things require energy or calories. Little happens inside a fat cell, it just stores fat. It is estimated that for every additional pound of muscle your body has, you burn an additional 50 calories per day.

So while you could lose weight through dieting alone or even dieting and steady state cardio, why would you? You can lose significantly more fat, faster by incorporating interval training and a resistance training program along with your reduced calorie diet.

Steady state cardio does have other benefits. All exercise is good for your health and disease prevention or reduction. Plus if you love to run, run. Enjoyment is a perfectly legitimate reason to something.

Katrina McKenna is a fitness professional serving New York City and specializing in helping people with type 2 diabetes lose weight and live healthier lives. She is the author of the book, "Yes! You CAN Be Fit, Feel Fantastic and Look Better Naked Even With Type 2 Diabetes".

For more information contact Katrina McKenna at 646-772-7075 or visit the company's website at http://www.metamorfitness.com to sign up for the free MetamorFitness Health and Fitness Journal.

Article Source: http://www.articlesphere.com/Article/You-Don-t-Need-To-Exercise-To-Lose-Weight-Or-Do-You-/69806

Fitness Training Tip Inspirations

Fitness Training Tip Inspirations by Robert L. Hogan

There are a ton of great fitness training tip ideas that you can use to your advantage, if you want to get in shape and look great, and live the longest healthiest life possible. If you want to learn about the best fitness training tip ideas, whether you are interested particularly in fitness weight training or another area, they will be discussed here in more detail for you.

Fitness Training Tips

One of the best fitness training tip ideas is to set goals for yourself. This will keep you motivated and give you something to work towards. Just make sure that you do not set your goals too high, at least at first, because then if you do not attain the goals you will become disappointed and this is not what you want. Make your goals attainable so you can reach them and stay positive. This is necessary if you really want to get the most out of your fitness training routine.

Another good fitness training tip idea is to exercise in the morning. Most people are not aware of this, but it is actually one of the best things that you can do if you want to get results. By exercising in the morning you are working off fat that is already stored on your body, and not just the calories that you ate for breakfast.

Not only that, but also by exercising in the morning you will get yourself more awake and energetic for the rest of the day. You don't have to work out every morning, but at least a couple times a week is important and try to stick to doing it in the morning for the majority of the time if you can.

Exercising outdoors is another great fitness training tip. Not only is it healthy for you to be outdoors in the sunlight, but as well anything that you do outside will bring the elements into play. Changing scenery will keep the boredom out of the workout.

The best idea is to mix it up, and so maybe two days out of the week you can work out in the home, and another two days of the week take your exercising outdoors. By using these fitness tips to your advantage you will be able to keep variety in your fitness routine and keep it fun and exciting. This will make you more interested in working out in general and ensure that you reach your goals.

If you love this article, you will also love another article written by this article's author on swimming pool parts and solar pool heaters.

Article Source: http://www.articlesphere.com/Article/Fitness-Training-Tip-Inspirations/212839

Dessert Recipes - With Vegetables Please

Dessert Recipes - With Vegetables PleaseDessert Recipes - With Vegetables Please by Jill Seader

In our effort to get healthier, eat better, and watch our waistline, we often take drastic measures like cutting all sweets out of our diet. And those diets rarely last because we feel deprived. So rather than going completely drastic, here is a question I ask you to consider: Why not try small changes that you can live with? So instead of cutting all sweets out of your diet, why not replace the typical sweets you eat with a dessert that is healthier and that you can feel good about? And what tastier way to help you get that daily intake of veggies than through dessert? Here are a couple of recipes to help you in your urge to get healthy but not feel deprived.

Zucchini Crisp
5 cups sliced zucchini, peeled and seeded
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup water

Combine all of the above ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook the mixture until it starts to boil. Then boil the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes. Put the mixture in an 8- or 9-inch square pan.

6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder

In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, brown sugar, and baking powder. Mix well. Cut the flour into the mixture and combine until it is crumbly. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the zucchini mixture. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes.

Avocado Pie
1 (3-ounce) package lime or lemon-lime jello
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 can (8-ounce) crushed pineapple
1 medium avocado
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 package (3-ounce) cream cheese
1 cup whipped cream
9-inch graham cracker pie crust

In a large bowl, put the jello, salt, and boiling water. Stir the mixture until the jello is dissolved. Drain the pineapple juice into a measuring cup. Add the lime juice to it. Add enough cold water to make the mixture equal 3/4 cup. Add this mixture to the jello mixture. Put the jello mixture in the refrigerator until it is very thick. While that is cooling, peel and half the avocado. Cut up half of the avocado into small pieces. In a small bowl, mash the other half of the avocado until it is smooth. Add the cream cheese to the mashed avocado and mix until well blended. Add the cream cheese mixture, avocado pieces, pineapple, and whipped cream to the jello mixture. Mix well and put into the pie crust. Refrigerate until the mixture is firm.

With a passion for baking and story telling, Jill Seader shares baking recipes and stories at YourBakingStory.com. Come enjoy the stories and recipes or get some recipe scrapbooking supplies to create your own baking story. Happy Baking!

Article Source: http://www.articlesphere.com/Article/Dessert-Recipes---With-Vegetables-Please/121005

How to Take Your Cardio Workout to a New Level

How to Take Your Cardio Workout to a New Level  by Machelle Lee

Can you think of anything more torturous than spending an hour pedaling away on a bike or plodding along on the treadmill? You're not alone. Most exercise enthusiasts dread conventional cardio - why?

Because it's b-o-r-i-n-g.

So why do it at all? The goal of a cardio workout is to lose the unwanted inches and to develop the efficiency of your heart and lungs. But new studies are out that show our slow-go cardio sessions may not be as effective for burning off that holiday bulge as we thought.

When you plod along on the treadmill at an even pace, your body enters what is called a steady state. This means that your body has adjusted to the pace and is now trying to conserve energy.

Conserve energy? But I thought the point was to burn energy?

And so your dilemma goes: You can't stand the monotony of traditional cardio and it leaves you with less than satisfactory results. So what should you do?

The answer is HIIT, a new training technique that blasts both boredom and fat.

"In research, HIIT has been shown to burn adipose (fat) tissue more effectively than low-intensity exercise - up to 50% more efficiently."

"HIIT speeds up your metabolism and keeps it revved up for some time after your workout. The bottom line is that HIIT training burns a greater number of total calories than low-intensity training, and more calories burned equals less fat on your body."

What is HIIT?

High-Intensity Interval Training: is an exercise strategy that improves performance with short training sessions. These sessions involve a warm up period, several short, maximum-intensity efforts that are separated by moderate recovery intervals, and a cool down period.

In other words, your 60 minutes of low-intensity cardio is replaced with more effective, High Intensity Interval Training for as little as 15 minutes. The addition of explosions of speed into your comfortable pace will increase your power, muscle tone, speed, strength, endurance and best of all will melt the inches off.

Here is an example of a HIIT program - this can be done on any form of cardio equipment or even jogging outside or swimming laps:

* Start with an easy 4 minute warm up, casually increasing your pace to the one that you usually maintain for your workout.

* Once you are sufficiently warm, sky rocket your intensity for 30 seconds.

* Return to your normal pace for the next 30 seconds and then sky rocket again.

* Repeat this 30-30 interval for 6 minutes and then gradually decrease your intensity as you enter a cooling off pace.

After your HIIT session you can expect to burn more calories due to an increase in your metabolism - sounds good, right? If you aren't ready to jump into a full-fledged HIIT session, try on of the following modified HIIT workouts:

Modified HIIT 1:
* Start with at least a 5 minute warm up, casually increasing your pace to the one that you usually maintain for your workout.

* Once you are sufficiently warm, increase your intensity for a full minute.

* Return to your normal pace and remain here until you have recovered enough to go again.

* Repeat this 1 minute interval with full recovery time between each one for the full extent of your workout and then gradually decrease your intensity as you enter a cooling off pace.

Modified HIIT 2:
* Start with at least a 5 minute warm up, casually increasing your pace to the one that you usually maintain for your workout.

* Once you are sufficiently warm, change your speed and intensity for 2 minutes.

* Return to your normal pace for 2 minutes and then change your intensity and speed again. The key is to keep your body guessing - you aren't doing full intensity work, but you also aren't staying at the same pace for the entire length of the workout.

* Repeat this 2 minute interval for the full extent of your workout and then gradually decrease your intensity as you enter a cooling off pace.

There you have it - all you need to take your cardio workout to the next level.

Machelle Lee owns and operates The Invisible Gym in Santa Cruz, CA. Her mission is to inspire people to become physically active and enjoy the benefits of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. For more information and questions you can visit her website. www.the-invisible-gym.com

Article Source: http://www.articlesphere.com/Article/How-to-Take-Your-Cardio-Workout-to-a-New-Level/101505

How To Get Those Six Pack Abs

How To Get Those Six Pack Abs  by John Campbell

Everyone wants to have those sleek, sexy, six pack abs. Rock hard, rippling abdominal muscles are the best way to communicate to others that you are fit, healthy and on top of your game. The key to getting those six pack abs is through rigorous training and eating healthy.

You can do crunches and sit ups until you are blue in the face, but if you don't eat right and watch your weight, you will never have six pack abs. You have to lower your overall body mass if you want the muscles to show through. Chances are you already have a lot more definition than you know, you just can't see it through the layers of fat that rest on top of them. So start with cutting calories and eating a healthier diet. Focus on foods that are high in protein (this is necessary in order to build new muscle) and low in fats. Lean meats are especially important.

The exercises that you do when you are trying to get definition in any muscle group are the most important thing you can do, second only to your diet. Try doing full body lifts like barbell squats and deadlifts. The reason that these work for stomach definition is because you are engaging your entire core when you do them. You have to tense all of the muscles in your abdomen, back and upper leg regions in order to get enough strength to lift the weights.

Start training your abdominal muscles by doing crunches, reverse crunches and hanging leg raises about 3 to 4 days per week. You can see demonstrations of these exercises online if you search for them in the search engines. Proper technique is important if you want toned and defined muscles so make sure that you are doing them properly.

When you are doing abdominal muscle exercises, make sure you are maintaining proper form. Keep your body in a straight line, knees hip width apart and focus on breathing in and out in a rhythmic pattern.

The muscles on the front of your stomach are not the only ones that need attention if you are going to have defined, six pack abs. Your obliques, which are the muscles that run up and down the side of your trunk also need to get a hefty work out. You can do this by performing side bends and oblique crunches. Oblique crunches are best performed on an exercise ball. If you don't have one of these at home, consider purchasing one. It will be well worth the investment in order to get the look you are after.

Cardiovascular exercise is also important for losing the weight in order to see the definition in your abs. Make sure that you are getting this exercise at least 2 days per week. Go for a run or do aerobics to get your heart rate up and keep it going for thirty minutes or more.

Anyone can have six pack abs if you are dedicated to it and train your body properly. If you follow the advice here, you'll be well on your way to the sexy body you are dreaming of.

Learn the essentials of effective, time saving muscle building in my free report here: Muscle Building Action Plan. You are invited to visit Bodybuilding Success Guide. Our mission is to provide useful pearls of wisdom for the enhancement of family life,health and strenght and the elimination of debt. We have e-books, books, articles many of which are FREE.

Article Source: http://www.articlesphere.com/Article/How-To-Get-Those-Six-Pack-Abs/209212

Is Running A Good Way To Get In Shape?

Is Running A Good Way To Get In Shape?  by Mike Stapenhurst

Running is an excellent way to burn calories and get in shape. In fact it is one of the most efficient aerobic exercises in terms of calories burnt per hour. The table below compares some of the common types of aerobic exercise:

- Running ..........750 calories per hour
- Swimming........500
- Cycling............450
- Walking...........250

However running is also the exercise that can put the most strain on your body. Your leg joints can suffer, and of course your heart is pumping a lot faster and working harder while you are running. So is it really the best way to get in shape?

The answer is yes and no! If you are not too overweight or too much out of shape, and you start slowly, then you will soon be reaping the benefits of being much fitter. However running assumes a certain level of physical ability and is not for everyone; walking and cycling are excellent alternatives. Swimming is also good and you can burn a lot of calories.

If you do want to start running as a way to reduce or control your weight here are a few pointers to follow.

See your doctor!
Get a check-up from your physician before you start. As I mentioned above, running is a strenuous exercise.

Start By Running and Walking
A good way to get into regular running is to run (slowly) for a few minutes and then take a walking break for the same amount of time. Three to five minute intervals are good to start. You gradually reduce the walking interval until you can manage 30 minutes of continuous running.

Run with a buddy.
Try to find someone to run with who is at the same stage as you. They will help get you out of the door on a regular basis. You can also talk as you are exercising, which is a great way to pass the time.

Take Things Easy.
Avoid the temptation, as you get fitter, to increase your distances and/or running speed too quickly. This is a sure way to get injured. I would normally allow for a gradual build-up over a six-month period.

Track Your Progress
Keep a log of how often you go running. Use the running log to record when you ran, and how long you were out. A logbook is also a good way to monitor your weekly running miles, and make sure you are not doing too much.

So running, in moderation, can be a great way to get in shape. It won't be long before you'll start to feel better, and running will strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system. Climbing stairs won't be a chore, and your increased energy level will help you deal with life's challenges.

Mike is the developer of customized training logbooks for athletes. To get your own personalized Running Log, visit Mike's web page Custom Running Logs. His website about marathon information and training can be found at: 26.2 - The Marathon Website. Mike is also a contributing author to the Get In Shape website.

Article Source: http://www.articlesphere.com/Article/Is-Running-A-Good-Way-To-Get-In-Shape-/111978

Pilates Body Fitness: Points You Have To Know

Pilates Body Fitness: Points You Have To KnowPilates Body Fitness: Points You Have To Know by Gina G. Stewart

When you talk about pilates body fitness, a lot of things can come inside you mind. You can picture the sticks you are using, or the large balls you're squeezing and you can simply imagine yourself on the reformer table for the pilates exercise. There are also some things related to this exercise such as pregnancy, health conditions, and losing weight.

Generally, there are really a lot of things that you can talk about when you say the word pilates. Below are some of the most important things discussed together with a pilates body fitness program. Reading the items given below may help you know more about the exercise.

Pilates Body Fitness and The Benefits You Get

There are plenty of benefits which you can obtain from pilates body fitness program. Aside form losing weight, you can get a healthier and leaner body by doing specific pilates exercises. You can also obtain a good heart because some exercises are meant for cardiovascular purposes.

Some pilates exercises also benefit pregnant women. To sum it all up, there are actually a lot of advantages you get when you enroll on a pilates program. You just have to comply regularly with your pilates schedule so you can achieve the perfect body you want.

Pilates Body Fitness and Pregnancy

A lot of doctors say that exercise is one key to having a good and easy pregnancy. However, pregnant women are usually cautious about their condition because most exercises, except for walking, provide them with more stress. But with a pilates body fitness program, a pregnant woman can attain relaxation and at the same time exercise.

Specifically, it relaxes the body's pelvic muscles which aid the woman to a smooth and fast delivery of her baby. When you perform the seated leg exercise with a pilates magic ring, you can actually perform the Kegel's exercise which is recommended to most pregnant women.

However, you need to consult your doctors first before enrolling yourself in a pilates body fitness program. Additionally, you need to have a professional pilates fitness instructor to assure you of the right and proper exercise that you need to have.

Pilates Body Fitness and The Reformer Equipment

One of the most popular equipment used in the pilates body fitness program is the reformer tool. It has springs, ropes, and a gear system which help you meet the resistance you need. It allows for proper body positioning which basically helps you maintain or align your body the right way. If used properly, you can be assured of a good exercise that won't cause you pain or injuries later on.

If you love this article, you will also love another article written by this article's author on exercise bike parts and life fitness exercise bike.

Article Source: http://www.articlesphere.com/Article/Pilates-Body-Fitness--Points-You-Have-To-Know/220835

Walking Your Way To Better Health

Walking Your Way To Better HealthWalking Your Way To Better Health by Lucille Lathroppe

Walking is a part of everyday life for almost everyone, yet few people realize the potential health benefits they can receive by simply increasing the amount of walking they do throughout the day. You don't need to spend hours slogging it out at the gym to achieve your health and weight loss goals. Instead, try working a simple exercise such as walking into your daily routine.

If you've never exercised before, walking can provide an excellent introduction to working out. It's a simple activity that requires no special skills or gear. Walking promotes weight loss by offering a low impact way to increase activity for someone who isn't ready for more intense workouts. It's important for beginners to take it slow at first and gradually increase the length and intensity of their walks.

Take it slow. Start with some stretches and a slow warm up pace to get your body and muscles ready to work out and to reduce the possibility of injury. If physical activity hasn't been a part of your routine before, limit your first walk to about ten minutes and try to avoid exerting yourself too much on hills.

Plan ahead. Determine which days of the week you'll do your walking. Start with ten minutes a day on three different days. Evaluate how you feel at the end of the week. If you're not exhausted or sore at the end of your walk, increase your walking time by five or ten minutes for the next week.

Walk with a buddy. A walking partner will keep you motivated and will provide some exercise accountability. Plus, it's just more fun to exercise with a friend than by yourself. Choose a buddy whose fitness level is close to yours and challenge each other.

Don't give up. You may see immediate results as your begin your new routine, but after a few weeks those results may taper off. Kick start your efforts again by changing up your plan and making small adjustments to your lifestyle and diet. Healthier choices such as having an apple instead of a cookie can add up to big results.

Keep it low impact. Walking is easy on your muscles bones and joints because it doesn't have the jarring impact of running or jumping. Older individuals, people just getting started in fitness, and people recovering from an injury can all benefit from the low impact activity of walking.

The Weight Loss Plans website offers diet tips and tricks as well as reviews of some leading weight loss programs. Check it out at www.weightlossplans.net!

Article Source: http://www.articlesphere.com/Article/Walking-Your-Way-To-Better-Health/233767

Cardio - Long and Easy or Short and Hard?

Cardio - Long and Easy or Short and Hard? by Ben Greenfield

Even if you've got the greatest abdominal workout in the world, it's not going to slim your waist unless you also burn off the fat. Trust me...there are many of people out there who have great muscular tone and balance in the mid-section, but don't even know it because those nice abs are covered in a layer of fat. Remember, a combination of three factors is necessary for a slim waistline: a good abdominal workout, smart cardiovascular exercise, and proper nutrition. In this article, I'm going to explain how to choose the proper cardio workout structure for burning the most amount of calories and burning the proper ratio of carbohydrates and fat.

When it comes to cardio, the question I probably receive most is: long and slow or short and fast? This question actually reflects the most important concept behind a good cardio routine. The truth is, it depends. Let's begin by looking at total amount of calories burnt.

Say I ask you to travel a mile on foot. I don't care how you do it - walk, jog, or run. Many exercise professionals will tell you that you'll burn the same number of calories any way you do it, as long as you're covering the same distance. This is simply not true. Studies have shown that the faster you cover that distance, the more calories you burn, period. There is a higher metabolic cost to moving quickly than to moving slowly. So you're going to burn the most calories by pedaling, running, rowing, swimming, or doing any other cardio you do as fast as possible. The added bonus is that the faster you move, the higher your post-exercise metabolism becomes, meaning that you burn more calories throughout the day after your workout than if you had moved at a slower pace.

Here's the catch - the faster you "move" across that mile, the more you rely on carbohydrates for energy, and the less you rely on fat. Although burning carbohydrates is beneficial, your body should also be learning how to efficiently use fat as an energy source. The "fat-burning" zone varies from person to person, but a good rule is that when breathing becomes labored or the muscles begin to burn, you've crossed the threshold to utilizing carbohydrate as a primary energy source. The basic science behind this is that it takes more oxygen to burn 1 calorie from fat than it takes to burn 1 calorie from carbohydrate, so as your body begins to work harder and get lower on oxygen, it turns more to carbohydrate as an energy source.

So here's the application part. If you are pressed for time in your workout, go short and fast (i.e. 10-20 minutes, at an intensity level of 8-10). You will burn more calories, both in your workout and throughout the rest of the day. Ideally, however, if you have the time, you should also be incorporating long and slow cardio workouts into your routine (i.e. 20-60 minutes, at an intensity level of 6-8), essentially "training" your body to burn fat as a fuel. Often, I have my clients work in both zones by performing their short and hard cardio efforts prior to weight training on their "difficult" days, then performing their slow and long cardio efforts on their "easy" days. The added bonus is that the slow and long cardio efforts allow the body to recover more quickly from the previous day's difficult efforts, which means better results.

Let's finish with a sample workout that will keep you in both zones during the same workout. This is an "interval" routine. Here's how it works:

5 minute graded warm-up, gradually working up to a hard intensity by minute 5

1 minute hard-fast effort (labored breathing)

2 minutes easy-medium effort (conversation possible)

2 minutes hard-fast effort

1 minute easy-medium effort

repeat 1x

3 minutes hard-fast effort

3 minutes easy-medium effort

4 minutes hard-fast effort

4 minutes easy-medium effort

repeat 1x

5 minute cool-down, gradually working down to a very easy effort by minute 5.

Ben Greenfield holds bachelor's and master's degrees in sports science and exercise physiology (University of Idaho), Ben is the owner of Pacific Elite Fitness www.pacificfit.net online multi-sport coaching,personal training service and is director of sports performance for Champions Sports Medicine www.champsportsmed.com He is also available as a private wellness coach. E-mail elite@pacificfit.net

Article Source: http://www.articlesphere.com/Article/Cardio---Long-and-Easy-or-Short-and-Hard-/133230

Why Intense Cardio is Much More Efficient at Burning Fat

Why Intense Cardio is Much More Efficient at Burning Fat  by Luke Johnstone

For years, it was common knowledge that you had to stay in the target heart rate zone to efficiently burn fat. However, the last few years have seen a rise in the popularity of shorter, intense cardio workouts to burn fat.

Training in your target heart rate zone came about when it was revealed that lower intensity exercise (like walking) burns a greater percentage of fat calories during the activity. More intense work on the other hand burns predominantly carbohydrates. So people would try not to train too hard, because if they did, their body would switch from burning fat, to burning carbohydrates. What most people don't realise though is that you cannot rely on calories burnt during an activity to lose weight.

Calories burnt during the activity do little to help us lose fat. The critical component of successful fat loss relies on our metabolism and certain hormones flowing through our body. This is why shorter more intense workouts are much more efficient.

Training at a lower intensity burns calories only during the activity. As soon as you stop you will stop burning calories. This is because this form of training hardly raises your metabolism. Also longer, less intense cardio sessions hardly stimulate our body to release hormones which will help our fat loss progress. If done long enough though, you can actually stimulate a hormone that works against us…cortisol. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone which actually eats away at muscle. This is obviously a bad thing!

On the other hand, shorter, more intense cardio workouts release certain hormones, most importantly Growth Hormone. The amazing thing about growth hormone is that it helps us build muscle, and does its best to stop fat from storing on our body. We could eat as much as we want and we won't put on any fat. (However if you got an absolutely voracious appetite, you might, at worst very slowly put on some fat.) That's why if we got the hormones flowing in abundance in our body, an occasional pig out day, or binge isn't going to hurt our progress.

Another great benefit of intense training is that it raises our metabolism substantially, for up to 48-72 hours afterwards. Seeing how it keeps the metabolism elevated for up to 3 days afterwards, imagine what would happen if you did these cardio workouts every other day. Your metabolism would be like a fat destroying furnace!

A good real world example is to compare the difference in physiques between marathon runners and sprinters. Which physique would you prefer? How do you think they train? Marathon runners do hours upon hours of long distance running, whereas sprinters train intensely and explosively. No matter what training we do, our body works by adapting to the stress and making it easier.

So with all the training marathon runners do, cortisol will be running rampant in the body, destroying muscle. This is simply the body adjusting to the workload and making it easier for itself. Too much muscle will only hinder the athlete's performance (and joints mind you!). That's why marathon runners have very little muscle.

On the other hand, if we trained like sprinters, with short explosive bursts our body will actually want to keep muscle and burn fat. This is because we need our muscles to better perform the workouts we are subjecting the body to. Also, the body, when exposed to this type of training actually wants to rid the body of its excess fat. This is because the fat on the body is simply hindering its performance. Hence, this is why short, explosive training stimulates hormones like growth hormone which help us build muscle and burn fat.

Well then how should you train? It depends on your goals. Do you want to look like a marathon runner or a sprinter?

If you want to be as thin as a rake, go running for hours on end.

However, if you want that lean, muscular physique much like a sprinters, here are a few suggestions:

30-100m sprints: Set out a distance and sprint all out for the set distance. For recovery, walk back to the starting line. As soon as you get back, sprint again. I wouldn't do more than 8 total sprints in a workout. For example you could do 6 x 60m sprints.

Intervals: Pick an exercise you like, (running, swimming, cycling, boxing, skipping etc.) and give a near maximum effort (80-100% Max) for 20 seconds, followed by 40 seconds of rest or light exercise (40-60% of max). Repeat 5-6 times. No more than 10 reps is necessary. If you can do 10, focus on going more intense in each interval. I personally like doing these with shuttle runs over a distance of 10-20m.

10 minutes constant max effort: Pick an exercise (running, swimming, cycling) and go as hard as you can for approximately 10 minutes. Try to outdo yourself. You could do 10 minutes every time and try to beat the distance every time you do it OR you could have a set distance and try to beat the time every workout. I personally go down to the oval and time myself over 8 laps of the track.

In finishing, for maximum fat loss, I would recommend doing no more than 4-5 sessions a week. That equals, at most to 60-70 minutes of training time a week. I know it doesn't sound like much, but if you spend every single one of those minutes going as hard as possible, your metabolism as well as those hormones will melt the fat off your body in no time.

Luke Johnstone is a former long time yo-yo dieter who has struggled with his weight ever since he was a little kid. Fed up with dieting he decided to devise a plan which enabled him to eat more food everyday, eat whatever he wanted, 'pig out' a few times a week and exercise a total of only 90 minutes a week. He managed to get in the best shape of his life and now has a website to help others struggling with diets to lose weight. You can check it out at http://www.lukesfatlosstips.com

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