How to Use Cardio for Weight Loss

Burning calories is the 2nd most important component of weight loss (I’ll tell you the most important factor later). And of course, everyone knows that cardio is one way to burn calories. But is slow cardio the best way to do it?

Recent research from Australia suggests slow cardio workouts are not the best way to lose weight. In a study released in November, 2006, researchers found that women doing three 40-minute cardio workouts per week did not lose weight.

This was shocking to the general public, but not surprising to advanced trainers and coaches in North America. Many trainers had dropped slow cardio from their fat loss programs in the late 90’s, after other research showed interval training was more effective (plus, we noticed cardio wasn’t doing much for many people – especially aerobics instructors – and therefore we were looking for something better).

And not surprisingly, this same Australian research study confirmed that interval training does indeed work for weight loss, even though slow cardio does not.

In their study, the researchers had a different group of women do only 20 minutes of interval training three times per week. The result was a significant weight loss.

So what you need to do is switch from long, slow boring cardio to some type of interval training. But don’t worry, even beginners can use interval training.

An interval training program is a bout of hard work separated by a bout of easy recovery. That’s it. So for beginners, it can be a fast walk separated by an easy walk. For an advanced fitness level, it can be a sprint separated by a walk.

You can do it swimming, running, biking, rowing, or walking. All are good interval training methods.

Fortunately, you only need to do 20 minutes of interval training three times per week. That is so much better than the 60 minute cardio sessions that some trainers make their clients do everyday…and for what?

Not much, that’s what!

A recent study published by the North American Association for the Study of Obesity, subjects aged 40 to 75 were instructed to do 60 minutes of aerobic exercise per day for 6 days per week for an entire year.

And yet the study showed the average fat loss for female subjects was was only 4 pounds for the entire year, while men lost 6.6 pounds of fat over the year. That’s over 300 hours of aerobic exercise just to lose a measly 6 pounds of blubber. What a waste of time!

So the next time you are out exercising, perform a session of interval training.

If you are walking outside, find an incline that can challenge you for 60 seconds, then walk down for 60-120 seconds, and repeat up to 6 times. If you walk on a treadmill, adjust the incline or speed to safely increase the challenge for 60 seconds, then return to the normal pace for 60-120 seconds, and repeat up to 6 times.

Interval training is better than cardio for fat loss. Cardio just doesn’t stand a chance against the faster, shorter, more effective fat loss workouts.

And along with your calorie burning, you still need to add the most important factor of any fat burning weight loss program, and that is proper nutrition! Nutrition is more important than any cardio exercise program could ever be.

So combine proper eating with calorie burning, and you’ll finally succeed with your weight loss program.