Experienced PT, and gym owner of Rebirth Fitness UK in South Wales shares why ‘slow and steady’ shouldn’t be overlooked as an effective fat burner.
Let’s first assume you want to focus on cardiovascular training, your goal is weight loss or fat loss, and you’re a novice.
I see a lot of marketing about the wonders of HIIT or high intensity interval training, then I see a highly trained fitness model performing the activity. This is great, everything they’re saying is correct, burn more calories in less time – great! But then I see sedentary people struggling with technique, doing the premier HIIT exercise, the ‘burpee’, or rather trying to…
The problem with HIIT is in the name, high intensity. People who are unfit cannot carry out high intensity with good technique. If you can – you’re fit. The danger of too much of this is that people work hard, but don’t improve their fitness, so in the long run the ability to burn more calories per hour is not really achieved. Plus carrying out high intensity exercise with bad form is a recipe for injury.
The other problem with HIIT is nutrition. In order to carry out high intensity activity, your body needs carbohydrates. There’s a lot of myth about carbs as a whole being bad going around the media, and it’s simply not true. You need them to fuel high intensity activity – fact. So if people are starving themselves on fad diets, then they will not be able to carry out HIIT, and so are carrying out LIIT – and let’s face it no one’s ever heard of that!
So with a calorie restricting diet, especially one that reduces your carbohydrate intake, HIIT is going to be too much. Slow and steady will increase the rate at which you use your fat stores, reduce risk of injury, requires little expertise, costs less and has ONLY one downside – it takes more time. (Ok it can be boring too sometimes!)
My best exercise for fat loss? – Walking. It’s free and requires no training. Just get up and down your local hills and see the great outdoors! This form of cardiovascular exercise brings more benefits than just weight loss. Steady state cardio is great for developing your aerobic fitness level, and increase your cardiovascular endurance. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, studies have shown 30 minutes of cardio 5 times a week helps promote health benefits, such as increased metabolism, positive effects on mood, feel less lethargic, and burn more body fat. In addition to this they also found 60 to 90 minutes promotes weight loss.
Written by Personal Trainer Ben Ellis.