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November 30, 2023


Always Be Healthy

The Great Myth of Aerobics and Cardio Exercising For Weight Loss

3 min read

There’s a storm brewing on the fitness and weight loss front. It’s caused by a backlash against the conventional long duration aerobics and cardio workout sessions.

Exercising for 30-minutes or longer has long been popular for “fat burning” weight loss programs. But new alternative workout programs advocate short bursts of intensity for workouts lasting less than 20-minutes.

What is magical about the 20-minute barrier?

Well, after 20-minutes of workout we start burning off fat. Prior to 20-minutes, our exercising is burning carbs and other energy sources to sustain the workout. On the surface burning fat during a workout would seem like a good thing, especially if the workout is part of a weight loss program.

This is where the controversy and new way of thinking about workouts comes into being.

Advocates of shorter workout lengths, such as Dr Al Sears who developed the PACE® 12-Minute Program, believe our body adapts to burning fat during workouts by making more fat before the next exercise session. The body will manufacture what it feels is depleted and you require – in this case… more fat.

For people looking for a weight loss exercise program making fat is the last thing they want their body to engage in manufacturing.

The science for shorter workouts maintains keeping the session at 20-minutes or less BEFORE it enters the “fat-burning” period. This allows the replenishment of muscle and other energy sources by burning fat AFTER the workout has finished.

Because you’re burning fat while at rest the body doesn’t feel the need to replace this fat unlike after a long low intensity aerobic or cardio workout session.

While there are a number of short intense workout programs lasting 7-15 minutes care should be exercised in picking a program that provides recovery between these short bursts of intensity. An intense workout that has you straining your heart and lungs for even just 7-minutes without rest could weaken these organs over time rather than strengthen them.

While many people on a weight loss program will be relieved to discover they don’t have to spend hours each day on gym equipment, or long distance jogging, nonetheless these programs still require periods of high intensity workout – in other words… you will break into a sweat.

The intended result behind these programs is still to achieve fitness and strengthen your lungs and heart, but the workouts are geared to simulate a more natural stimulation of your heart and lungs.

After all our bodies were developed for short bursts of energy for escape and survival from predators rather than long periods of sustained muscle straining where the body feels it’s under constant attack.

A weight loss program should consist of eating the right foods in the right portions and exercising regularly. Picking an appropriate exercise routine is every bit as important as eating healthy and if you’re looking for a “fat burning” workout program then consider an alternative short intensity program to the old aerobics and cardio training of yesterday.

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