Yes, you read the title right. Is it possible that those long (let’s face it boring) cardio sessions on the treadmill are making you fatter? Possibly. Now before you rip up your program and head for the couch with a ‘why bother?’ approach let me clarify what I mean. It’s the ‘doing the same old’ that’s one part of the problem. These long, slow steady sessions may not be the most efficient use of your time for fat burning.
Traditional ‘cardio’ sessions where gym-goers tend to hog a treadmill for 45 minutes at a time tend to lean a little more towards the release of the ‘fat-storing’ hormone called cortisol. This is well known as our big ‘stress hormone’. What you really want is to release a little more of the youth-enhancing and fat-burning hormones instead. Ah, yes, I’m not kidding. Change the way you do cardio for at least some of your workouts and your body will become a fat-burning machine even while you sleep.
How? By including HIIT – high intensity interval training. What’s this? This involves training hard for short bursts and following it with rest or recovery. By making the intense parts short and sweet you’re more likely to train harder and overall you will burn more calories in less time! Yes, it’s really THAT SIMPLE! In a nutshell this can mean swapping a 45-minute jog for a HIIT (high intensity interval training) session that includes high intensity intervals of, let’s say, skipping and sprinting.
Making sure you include some strength training in your program is also vital to improving your fat-burning ability. If you don’t do strength training your body WILL burn off your muscle and you will become TOFI – thin on the outside, fat on the inside. This makes you a metabolic disaster zone and sets you up for chronic illness as time passes. Think obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and so on.
Training tips to melt fat:
- Include HIIT around 3 times per week (build up to this slowly)
- Use resistance training 2-3 times per week to stay lean rather than skinny (avoid TOFI)
- Don’t waste training time – keep it efficient!