So you’ve decided to lose some weight and the best way to do that is by doing a cardio workout. Now comes some choices. There are two major schools of thought when it comes to cardio workouts. There’s a high intensity cardio workout and a lower level intensity workout. There are drawbacks and benefits of each. Let’s take a deeper look into them.
Many trainers say that a lower level intensity cardio workout is ideal for burning fat. So if you’re looking to shed some pounds, then this route is likely ideal for what you want.
A low intensity workout targets body fat by using fat calories instead of muscle carbohydrate calories for energy. Since your body is using fat calories for the workout, you’ll burn more fat.
The important thing to remember with this workout is that you need to maintain your ideal heart rate throughout your entire workout. The easiest way to figure out your ideal heart rate is to subtract your age from 220 and then multiply this by .6. This is not an exact number but it will give you an idea of where you should be. It’s important to stay at this heart rate for at least 30 minutes for this workout to be effective.
The difference between this and a high intensity cardio workout is how difficult the actual workout is. High intensity workouts push you past your pain threshold and are too intense for most people, but you can burn more calories during this workout. The thing to keep in mind is that you’re not just burning fat calories. With this workout a lot of what you’re burning is coming from glycogen, which is carbohydrates found in your muscles.
Keep in mind that no matter what workout you choose to do, you still need to create a calorie deficit (burning more calories than what you consume throughout the day). That’s the only way that you’re going to lose weight.
For a different way to approach your workout, it may be best to start with some small intervals of intense cardio to get your heart rate up to the ideal level and then ease back into a lower level for the rest of the workout. That way you won’t be wasting the first ten minutes or so of your workout while trying to get your heart rate up to that level to maximize the fat burning.
Here are some examples of low intensity cardio workouts: biking, swimming, racquetball, rowing, or walking. High intensity levels are sprinting, spinning, or jumping rope. Basically, keep this thought in mind: if you can talk full sentences to someone while doing the exercise then it’s a lower intensity level. A high level would only allow you to say a few words before needing to gasp for breath.
For the best results try combining both workouts. It will help to get your heart rate up and burn more calories but then you can focus on burning fat rather than glycogen.