The other day I was scrolling through my social media newsfeed and I saw a post from a friend of mine who had recently had a baby. It said, “Just finished my run, now I’m drinking my protein shake!!” She was all excited because she had just worked out and is doing something great for her body. I can assume that she is trying really hard to get her pre-baby body back. Now, although I applaud her efforts to make herself healthier, I’m slightly frustrated and almost sad for her.
Why would I be sad? Because she is just spinning her wheels in her efforts to get fit. What will eventually happen is she will lose a little bit of “weight”, plateau, get frustrated at no progress and throw in the towel altogether. Plus she was drinking a protein shake after a cardio workout, which will not help her in building muscle like it would after weight training.
How do I know this? Because this WAS me! Read my story Here!
There’s a smarter way to exercise that will lead to REAL body change, with REAL results.
To get more bang for your buck, the key to sustainable fat loss is efficient exercise. The best exercises for this are short duration, and high intensity workouts, also known as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).
Weight Training combined with HIIT and Rest Based Training are the most efficient method for Fat loss.
I used to spend hours a week at the gym, an hour of cardio here and there and some light-moderate weight exercises. My nutrition was pretty good (high protein, low carb, low fat) , but for working out over 6 hours a week, I kept wondering why I wasn’t getting any results.
The answer is simple: my workouts weren’t efficient. I wasn’t working out smart.
I was doing long duration, moderate intensity workouts that, would burn some calories during the time I spent on the elliptical. But I was doing almost nothing to change my metabolic potential. I learned that if I wanted results, I had to be smarter with my workouts. I had to learn how to work smarter, and not harder. All of that being said, time spent on the elliptical or the treadmill is better than time spent not exercising. But cardio is not the BEST thing you could be doing to attain to your specific goals. When fat loss is your goal, you want to be using the most efficient method of exercise.
How do you know if you are working out efficiently?
1) Are you reaching EPOC?
AKA “Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption, which is the higher metabolic rate that is observed by an exerciser well after their workout finishes. You can reach EPOC when you are working out at or near 100% of your VO2 Max. The easiest way to tell this is if you are breathless, your muscles are burning, you are getting hot and sweaty, and you are lifting heavy (the B’s and the H’s!). When you reach EPOC, you will be burning fat for 24-48 hours after your workout!! EPOC is actually linked to intensity of exercise, not duration. Having short, intense workouts let you take full benefit of EPOC and it’s hormonal afterburn, which will help you burn fat well after your workout is over.
2) How much time are you spending in the gym?
As busy women, we don’t have time to spend HOURS in the gym. Being more efficient with your time and energy is a win-win. Numerous studies have shown that even with overall training time being much less, people who perform short duration, high intensity workouts for short periods of time had better results in areas of body fat, weight loss, and fitness related goals than those who train for endurance. So in less time, more fat and more calories are burned. Another advantage is that it is much easier to be consistent with your workouts when they are quick! So not only will you be able to stick to your workouts easier, you will attain your goals easier and faster. I used to workout for 6 hours a week and now it’s only about 1 1/2 hours a week! And I’m in better shape now!!
3) Is your body shape changing?
The amount of fat and muscle on your body is body composition, and it also aids in your metabolic potential. Through EPOC and our high intensity and short duration workouts, we can increase our metabolism by maintaining lean muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn (at rest!) and the calories that are being burned are coming from fat sources. On the other hand, less muscle mass equates to less fat being burned during and after exercise. Cardio exercises (running, elliptical, etc) may burn a small amount of fat, but you will also burn muscle with it as well. By burning muscle, the result is a slowed metabolism, and thwarting your progress. You would find that you would have to run longer and longer each time to keep losing “weight”. Therefore increasing your workout times. The short duration and high intensity workouts will burn fat AND preserve muscle, which then helps your body burn fat efficiently and stay lean.
So, what did this mean for Me? (And for all the women out there who are cardio junkies…. with no results)?
Basically, you’re burning less calories, less fat, by doing an hour on the elliptical or treadmill over 20 minutes of HIIT with rest based training. Pushing yourself until you can’t and resting until you can is a cardinal rule of rest based training and efficient exercise.
HIIT workouts are the best methods of exercise for fat burning. So, for best results in less time, keep your workouts short, 20-30 minutes, but keep it intense with AspiringFit Life workouts that include high intensity hybrid weight training circuits, sprints and metabolic conditioning.
By doing this, you will increase your metabolic potential, keep your lean muscle mass, burn your fat, and achieve YOUR goals sooner!
Workout smarter, not harder. So ditch the treadmill and grab some dumbbells! 🙂