The Traditional Cardio Workout Programs
There are two main cardio workouts that most aerobic exercise is based around…low intensity and high intensity. The more popular of the two for burning body fat is the low intensity version, since it has been proven that a higher percentage of calories burned come from body fat than high intensity cardio workouts.
Many people make the point that more total calories are burned if people exercise at a higher intensity level. They reason that if you simply burn more calories than you consume in a day, you will lose body fat. So now we will look in more detail at each school of thought.
Low Intensity Cardio Workout Approach
Low intensity cardio is the most popular form of cardio and is pushed by many personal trainers. Low intensity cardio works at targeting body fat and that is why it is recommended by many personal trainers. University studies have proven low intensity cardio uses fat calories instead of burning muscle carbohydrate calories for energy. If the body burns fat for energy, you will lose body fat. It just makes sense.
When you are trying to work at a low intensity, you need to monitor your heart rate. Most gyms these days come equipped with treadmills and exercise bikes that have built in heart rate monitors, so this won’t be a problem. It normally takes about 5-10 minutes to reach the ideal heart rate…then you just want to continue working out at that level for 20-30 more minutes.
High Intensity Cardio
Want to burn the most amount of total calories in the shortest time? Try a high intensity cardio workout. This is definitely the tougher of the two types of aerobic exercises and is probably one of the many reasons it isn’t as popular as the low intensity version. There is a great benefit to burning more total calories.
A foolproof way to lose weight is to burn more calories than what you consume each day. High intensity cardio is best for creating a calorie deficit, by burning a large amount of calories.
The Imperfections of The 2 Versions of Cardio Workouts
It takes about 10 minutes to get your heart rate into the fat burning zone, with the low intensity cardio workout. It is great once you reach this point, but those first 10 minutes or so are kind of a waste of time.
High intensity cardio is hard to maintain for long periods of time since it takes a lot of effort. Working at an intense level for over 10-15 minutes is extremely difficult.
How to Combine The Two Approaches Into One Awesome Cardio Workout
Since the first 10 minutes of a low intensity cardio workout is unproductive, you are going to start out at a high intensity level. You will burn a ton of total calories for the first 10 minutes now, instead of wasting that time. After 10 minutes, you will back down to low intensity level and now you will burn a ton of body fat. The best of both worlds!
Find a treadmill or exercise bike and set it at a high level. Push yourself really hard for 10-15 minutes. Once you are really working up a sweat, switch to a low intensity and keep it there for 20-30 minutes. This will burn calories and create a calorie deficit as well as burning body fat during the workout. I maintain an 8% body fat percentage year round using this cardio approach.