Long and Slow or Short and Quick?

Which method of exercise do you think works best for fat loss?

Conventional wisdom has been telling us for years to get in the “fat burning zone” to lose weight. “The body burns more fat at lower intensity levels.” “Go for long, slow walks to burn fat.”

Well, I’m here to tell you if you go for nice, long, slow walks all you are going to do is see a lot of scenery. You sure won’t burn a lot of fat.

For years we believed that easier exercise, a slow jog, was more effective at burning fat than something harder like running sprints. This all came about because in 1993 a group of researchers from the University of Texas determined that you burn a greater percentage of calories from fat during light to moderate intensity exercise than you do at higher intensity exercise. The rate your body burns fat peaks at about 65 percent of your aerobic capacity.

This is true, but the percentage of calories burned from fat is not the important number. The important number is the total calories burned as a result of your exercise session. You will lose fat faster by exercising in the carb-burning zone. Depleting carbohydrate stores by exercise means that your body will have to burn fat post-exercise to replenish glycogen stores. This is the number one priority for our physiology:  the body must ensure there is enough available energy to sustain biologic functions. This energy is in the form of glycogen. We have an unlimited capacity to store fat, as evidenced by the number of 300, 400 and 500+ pound individuals we encounter. Our bodies, however, have a limited storage capacity for glycogen. When our glycogen tank gets depleted it must be replenished or everything comes to a dead stop.

High-intensity exercise burns more calories per minute than low intensity exercise. The total amount of fat you burn is similar to that of light and moderate exercise plus you are depleting the carbohydrate stores in your body which means you will burn more fat post-workout.

The harder you exercise the more glycogen you burn. The more glycogen you burn, the more fat you will lose. It is easy to incorporate interval or high intensity exercise into your workout. If you like to walk for exercise try walking faster or go up and down hills for 25% of your workout. When you weight-train get off of the machines and do bodyweight exercises. Add multi-exercise complexes with reduced rest intervals or superset your lifts with a sprint interval on the bike.

Boot Camp workouts are ideally designed to maximize fat loss with their combination of short duration cardio intervals combined with resistance training.

Just remember, the type of exercise you do won’t help you lose fat if you consume an overabundance of calories.

Fast fat loss requires fast exercise. Give it a try.


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  3. The high intensity undoubtedly exercises are best for those who want to lose weight.

  4. Cool, but in addition to high-intensity exercise , diet is key to losing fat. It is no use running 10km and after that eat 1,000 calories for example.

  5. It has to be in harmony , physical activities and proper and healthy eating

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  21. I think the combination of several exercises both low and high intensity can contribute to fat loss, excellent article.

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  23. I prefer short and quick forever!!!!

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  28. Realmente os exercicios de Alta Intensidade são os mais indicados para perder gordura, é mesmo provado cientificamente, já vi alguns estudos cinetificos que comprovam essa afirmação. Apesar que lembrando para perder gordura não podemos deixar de lado a alimentação equilibrada, aí se torna imbatível

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  32. The most certain of all before you start practicing any physical exercise is to seek out a medical specialist to know what the correct exercise is for each type of person.

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  45. Ótimo artigo!
    Eu mesmo já obtive ótimo resultados com exercícios de alta intensidade.

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