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best cardio for fat burning ?

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning' started by whinny, Dec 20, 2004.

  1. whinny

    whinny Guest

    what is the best way to do cardio for fat burning? I currently do cardio 4-5 times/week, either the stationary bike or jogging (outside). Sometimes I do the elliptical machine as well. When I ride the bike, I do 4 "hills" worth about 20 - 25 minutes (including warmup & cooldown). I was taught to use the scale of perceived intensity, so I get my heart rate up to 80% of its max. When I jog, I do 3 miles on (mild) hills. I'm now up to about 8 minute miles on my better days. Based on all the charts & monitors I've seen, I think I burn ~300 calories per cardio workout. If you can trust those charts.

    before you ask - I lift too, but not too much, maybe about once/twice a week for each muscle group. I don't want to get any bigger, just want to keep what I have.

    Either workout is about 20-30 minutes of cardio. For fat burning, would I be better off to lower the intensity and increase the time?
  2. AlB


    May 30, 2002
    Yes. Aim for an hour of aerobic exercise. This should be at an intensity where you could still carry on a conversation. If you can run that long without overtraining and injuring yourself, do so. If not, cycling is second best in my opinion. If you are able to swim laps properly, add that into the mix also.

  3. benji


    Sep 23, 2003
    I'd do High Intensity Interval Training for maximum fat-loss. I did it on a stairclimber. I warmed up for about 2 or 3 minutes, then 15 seconds of as fast as i could go followed by 45 seconds of catching my breath, repeated for 20 cycles. You can do it outside, on a treadmill, on an elliptical, on a bike, whatever. Sometimes when I run outside I will sprint for 2 light poles, then jog/walk 2, and repeat for however far I feel like going. I did this every other day and got my diet in check and lost 50 pounds in about 6 months. Good luck in your goals.
    And by the way, don't worry about getting bigger by lifting. I bust my ass every other day and I'm not a freakish monster. The only way to get too big is steroids and eating like a monster. If you lift weights it is good for you, I guarantee you won't get too bid.
  4. whinny

    whinny Guest

    oh great, now I have 2 conflicting responses. ;g anyone want to be tie-breaker?
  5. runnergirl


    Dec 5, 2004
    There's some truth in both intensity and length. It's about burning calories, the longer you go, the more calories you burn. That said you also burn more by going faster, but generally cannot maintain a higher intensity for a long period of time.

    I can go out and run 6 miles in 60 minutes and burn about 600 calories. I also can go out and run a 40 minute interval workout on the track and burn about 350 calories-whatever benefit I get from the higher intensity laps (calorie wise) is negated by the slow recovery laps.

    So really, very little difference. It is important to not get stuck in a rut, switching up intesity is important, but it's really about putting in the time.
  6. benji


    Sep 23, 2003
    runnergirl is right. you can do it either way. i'd just rather get it over with in 20 minutes instead of an hour. the key to the hiit is to keep your sprints short enough that you can give it a 100% effort. some people try to do 60second sprint / 60 second rest, but you can't go all out for 60 seconds. it isn't the best for everyone, but it was the best for me. just doing any excercise is better than nothing, so be sure to get out and do something, whatever that something may be.
  7. Tom P

    Tom P Senior Member

    Jul 6, 2001
  8. California Jack

    California Jack Millennium Member

    Aug 2, 1999
    I had a lot of luck using Body For Life style cardio which is HIIT.

    Also old school wind sprints work for me.
  9. whinny

    whinny Guest

    That's what I've been doing, for the most part. With my own variations.

    I liked that site on HIIT but it's not specific or quantifable. How high to get your heart rate? (percentage of max) If you're not starting at the beginning, it's difficult to follow.

    Well I guess there are a lot of opinions & methods out there. I tend to be an all-or-nothing type, so I guess I'll stick with the HIIT. I wouldn't know how to pace myself if my life depended on it ...
  10. JesseCuster

    JesseCuster Army Dude Millennium Member

    Dec 30, 1999
    I lose weight at a reasonable pace (2 pounds per week) by doing HIIT, weight training and eating well.

    The theory behind HIIT is that you increase your body's metabolism for a period after you finish working out. Some believe it's best to do it early morning on an empty stomach: I can't say that I've noticed any difference any way but it does work. I got down to 222 pounds from 270 (or more, I was afraid to step on the scales) when I did HIIT.

    Plus it's not so dang boring. Sitting there and pedalling for an hour makes me want to chew my arms off.
  11. AlB


    May 30, 2002
    While I don't agree with HIIT, good luck with it. I just wanted to say one thing though. If you are using this kind of training for running AND you are not an experienced runner, be careful of running at 100% effort. Try to get a month or two of fairly easy running on your legs before you start consistently running at a maximum effort.
  12. California Jack

    California Jack Millennium Member

    Aug 2, 1999

    How could I forget? Your all-or-nothing statement reminded me. Try the Tabata Protocol. Search Tabata on Google. I'm too lazy to find links for you now. I'm too old to handle a steady diet of it. And my advice would be to try it with bodyweight squats, dumbell thrusters or rowing. Tabata sprinting is way too much for me.

    And with Tabatas, you won't need to pace yourself.

    You know, a good strategy could be to employ Tabata, HIIT and an occasional LSD run. Mixed modalities like that have been very successful for lots of people.

    If you try Tabatas, let me know how you did. It's only four minutes, but minutes 3 and 4 are living hell.

    Good luck,
  13. turrican


    Mar 1, 2004
    Mesa AZ
    2 months ago I made a commitment to start eating better. I eat mostly whole foods and very little bread. I am 5-9 and I have went from 190 to 165 in 2 monts and I beleive 90% of my results are diet. I quit sodas and cut way back on beer too. Also I work out but not too much just enough to feel good. It seems to be woking for me. I used eat fast food every day. cutting that out has made a huge difference too.
  14. Blaster

    Blaster Hunc tu caveto

    Feb 2, 2000
    BINGO, I think we have a winner!

    You can do cardio all day long but if your eating more than your burning you will get no where.
    For results you can see you need to cut out all the junk. Sugar, any white starches, junk food and fast food. Stick fish,chicken, meat, vegetables, and whole grains. Do some research on Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load. This will tell you how the foods you consume impact your body and it's insulin response (this is critical). Insulin is the fat storrage hormone. Read a Atkins book and a South Beach Diet book. I'm not saying to follow their plans but you will learn a lot about how your body processes what you put into it.
  15. mossy500camo

    mossy500camo ammo found

    Sep 27, 2004
    In my experience Bicycling burns more cals and fat. Ride farther and use the lower gears (easy) pedal away.;) Im also into cross training. I just started a walking and strengthing program for myself to work other muscles.;f
  16. runnergirl


    Dec 5, 2004
    Just wanted to interject something about the glycemic index and insulin. High fructose corn syrup (which is in damn near everything!) messes with insulin receptors and if you're at all into using the GI, it is something to really watch out for. It's even in 100% whole wheat bread and crackers, most breakfast cereals, granola bars, and fruit yogurts.

    Also don't forget the dairy. Yes dairy is loaded with natural sugars, but it's the best source of calcium, and may help with weight loss. If you're going to read a book, I would stay away from books with agendas and pick up a used intro level nutrition text book. They're updated yearly and are far more detailed and balanced than diet books.
  17. G22-COP


    Jul 12, 2004
    Alamo City
    Run Forrest , Run!!
  18. dglockster


    Sep 19, 2001
    For weight loss and cardio, I have had the best luck in outdoor running/jogging for a minimum of 40-45 minutes per run (10-minute mile or less), 4 to 6 days per week. I have been doing this as part of a cardiac rehab program since 1988.
  19. geminicricket

    geminicricket NRA Life member

    Apr 26, 2001
    Lewisville, TX USA
    Measure your heart rate at rest.

    Your target heart rate during aerobic exercise should be 60 beats per minute more than your resting heart rate.

    I use Stairmaster now. It's easier on my knee than the elliptical was.
  20. tackdriver

    tackdriver Desert Member

    Nov 12, 2002
    Diet modification is the key.

    You can work out well and miss the boat with your weight loss. DON'T cut out carbohydrates. DON'T increase your protein intake. Do limit your overall calories. Do eat smaller meals more often. Make sure that the small meals are balanced in carbohydrates and some protein to avoid a blood sugar spike. Low/no carbohydrate diets are not normal and are simply not good for you (blood chemistry among other things).

    The best single exercise is running. Mixing up the exercise types is preferable: resistance (weights) with cardio (running, swimming, biking, hiking etc.) allows for calorie consumption and lean body mass growth. The key is to limit the overall calorie intake while maintaining a normal metabolic rate. Starving oneself will only cause the metabolic rate to plummet and not burn off the fat stores. Exercise that uses large muscle groups encourages a normal or slightly elevated metabolic rate. Lifting 1-2 days per week usually will not signal the body to significantly build muscle. Muscle building is caused by lifting heavy low repetition sets in multiple bouts per session multiple days per week. Keep the reps at 10+ sets at 3- 1-2 days per week and you should be fine.

    HIIT is fine, but don't cut out your cardio training. Health benefits are in the cardio. HIIT does not raise the heart rate/oxygen consumption long enough per session to improve health benefits more than the cardo training currently does. The increased metabolic rate following HIIT exercise is not much greater than moderate to intense cardiovascular exercise. Interval running (alternating sprint and steady state exercise) is such a cardio exercise. Interval training should be done to signal the body to break the regular repair/adaptation cycle that comes with longer steady state exercise. Add one of these workouts after 6-8 regular cardio ones. Save the interval training for weeks when you lift less. Harder lifting, interval training and long runs will increase the overall "volume" of exercise for a given week. Don't do all in the same week. For example: use the stationary bike on heavier lifting weeks. Long runs should be lower lifting weeks. HIIT workouts should include bike or elliptical training rather than hill/long runs.

    It sounds like you have a good exercise base. Continue with forms of exercise you will enjoy and won't abandon.