Why Does Interval Training Burn More Fat Than Normal Cardio?
Everybody in the fitness industry talks about cardio. Any gym you go to is full of people on treadmills, cross-trainers, rowing machines, steppers, etc., performing a steady state cardio workout.
Usually you’ll find a lot of obviously unfit men and women plodding along for 30 minutes or so, on a treadmill at a really slow pace. Is this really the best way to lose weight and get fit? No, it’s not.
You are much better off doing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Before we tell you what interval training is all about, let’s understand why cardio is important.
There are many studies that show that a combination of steady state cardio with weight training is good for your weight loss. But here’s the question – while a normal cardio workout does help you lose weight, is it the best way to burn fat? Does it make you stronger and more powerful?
The fact is the normal cardio you do on a treadmill doesn’t really help you much with your muscle gain. In fact, it causes you to lose muscle mass and strength, along with your weight. Normal cardio has a detrimental effect on protein synthesis, which is so important for your hypertrophy and strength gains.
Another effect of normal or low intensity cardio is that when you reach a plateau of some sort in your training, it actually slows down metabolism. That’s why so many people train on treadmills for months without really experiencing any real fat burning.
So, what’s Interval Training?
Interval Training is the most popular type of cardio in recent years with those wanting to maximize their fat burning metabolism. It involves exercising at high intensity for short bursts of time with short periods of rest in between.
An example would be running at top speed for 60 seconds, walking for 30 seconds, running at top speed again for 60 seconds, followed by a low intensity cardio such as walking for 30 seconds and so on. Repeat this routine as many times as possible for 15 to 20 minutes.
So, interval training is intense and can take as little as just 15 to 20 minutes of your time, unlike normal cardio, which may take up to 30 to 60 minutes, without delivering the results that you expect from it. Interval training leads to maximum fat burning as it causes an increase in anabolic hormones such as testosterone and Growth Hormone which are essential for both building and retaining muscle during the training. Interval training boosts metabolism and helps you get shredded and get the ripped look that you have always wanted.
For interval training to work, you should make your workouts as intense as possible, but only for 15 to 20 minutes. You should perform only 3 or 4 high intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions each week, not more than that. Performing too many HIIT sessions leads to a drop in your testosterone levels as well as a breakdown of the amino acids.
What makes Interval Training more effective than a Steady Cardio Workout?
Interval training delivers maximum fat burning, and has a positive effect on your metabolism, strength, protein synthesis and hypertrophy, and is much easier to perform than normal cardio as well. And yes, interval training burns more fat than a normal cardio workout.
During a typical, normal cardio, such as a 30 minute jog, you may burn up to 300 kcal, including 270 kcal of fat. Perform interval training for 20 minutes instead and you will burn up to 800 kcal, of which 60% are fats. A typical interval training session burns up to 480 kcal of fat, which is impressive indeed.
But what makes interval training so special is that it has a metabolic effect on the body, so your body will continue to burn fat for 24 to 72 hours after the HIIT session. So you will burn fat even as you are resting or doing nothing!
Interval training leads to the formation of mitochondria in the cells of the body. Mitochondria convert calories and oxygen into energy, so when more mitochondria is created, this leads to more fat getting burnt.
That’s why interval training is so powerful for fat burning, and is so much better than normal or steady state cardio.