According to research the western civilisation are getting fatter, sicker and more medicated for lifestyle diseases. It is crystal clear that something needs to change before we kill off our own race. Doctor Wayne Dyer quotes on his podcast “at the rate we are heading, by 2050 it is predicted that 95% of Americans (and closely followed by Australia’s) will be overweight of obese”.
It seems like the whole globe is on a relentless pursuit to loosing weight. The problem lies with the confusion in response to an overwhelming amount of conflicting information available with what is the best method to achieve this goal.
The 3 main options we hear about are:
- Interval training
- Weights/ resistance training
Cardio training can be described as any exercise (such as walking, cycling, swimming) that you can do which elevates your heart rate to a relatively low intensity for a prolonged period of time.
Interval training is when you are performing any exercise, which alternates between high intensity and low intensity for 20-30 mins in total.
Weights or resistance training is exercising using weight-bearing movements with either your own body weight or added load.
When calculating what is the best method of movement to burn body fat specifically (not just ‘weight’ as this is generally a combination of fat and muscle. We do not want to burn our muscle, as this is what keeps our metabolism high) we need to look at a term called EPOC.
This stands for ‘exercise post oxygen consumption’, which in basic term means that the time after you have completed your exercise your body will keep an elevated metabolism for a period of time. The higher the intensity the exercise, the higher and longer the EPOC. On the contrary, the lower the intensity, the lower the EPOC.
So with the understanding of EPOC, it becomes clear that for ‘low intensity cardio’, we will have a limited amount of post- exercise elevation of metabolism and therefore a limited amount of fat burning.
It is important to understand that this science is generic in nature, that means for the ‘average’ person. It doesn’t take into consideration the discrepancy for different body types or females with stress or hormone imbalances (this is a whole new story and perhaps topic for another blog).
High Intensity Interval Training (HITT) is by far more productive than cardio when it comes to fat burning as the EPOC is far greater and can potentially last for hours on completion of the actual exercise.
As described above, HITT is when you are pushing your heart rate to a maximal limit (or moderately at least) and then followed with a recovery. Eg Sprinting up a hill for 30 sec and then jogging back down it for 30 sec. Here your heart learns to work outside its norm and your body learns how to adapt to these changes (such as your legs muscles strength and lactic acid build up) therefore improving your overall ‘fitness’.
A study from the University of NSW conducted a scientific test of woman performing cardio training versus interval training for weight loss. The results showed that the woman in the interval group had lost 3 times the body fat than those in the low intensity cardio group. Read full article here.
Resistance training is the last modality to look at and according to many sources of reputable science, is the most effective for burning fat tissue. A study done on the comparison of weight loss with diet alone versus adding cardio training or weight training, found that the later was the most successful. By following an adequate eating plan and combining with resistance training, subjects lost 44% more body fat than that of just diet and 35% more than that of diet and cardio training. Read the full article here.
The added bonus of doing weights training is that you are laying down healthy muscle tissue, which is the key to keeping your metabolism high. The issue lies though with woman who are already naturally muscular (scientifically called ‘mesomorphic’). These body types already have a healthy amount of muscle therefore by adding more excessive or heavy weights, they are likely to add to their bulk and can therefore seem like they are getting ‘bigger’ when they are aiming to get smaller.
My personal educated opinion is that you need a combination of all modalities of exercise, combined with a good eating plan in order to loose ‘fat mass’. Most people however a suffering a ‘time famine’ therefore efficiency of time is important. We also must not forget the importance of flexibility!
For this very reason I have created my own modality of exercise called “yoga-cise” which combine the benefits of resistance (body weight) cardio (flow) and flexibility training. This is a one-stop-shop for all of your strengthening, toning and fat burning needs.
Yoga-cise is designed for busy individuals that do not want to spend hours a week exercising when they can achieve all they need to in around 45 mins a day. This combined with a delicious whole food-eating plan will give you the success that you need.