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The best Cardio program for Fat Loss?

CLA - Fat Loss Supplements

by Serious Supplements

There has been some interesting data published recently relating to fat loss. This is timely heading into the New Year, with lots of resolutions being made to shed a few kilos.

You have read about the ability of OxyElite Pro to burn fat here. Benefits can be had with this product without adjusting diet or exercise regime. But is this really optimal? Absolutely not. So what else should we be doing?

Cardio - this is a given right? But what type?

The battle between High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and steady state cardio continues to rage on bodybuilding forums and in the blogosphere, so let's clear up some of the confusion for Serious Supplements' followers.

Those authors who argue in favour of steady state cardio usually use empirical evidence as the basis for their beliefs. They note (rightly so) that athletes and bodybuilders have been using this strategy for years and have managed to lose fat and maintain muscle.

They also note (again rightly so) that steady state cardio (with its inherent longer duration) generally burns more net calories than HIIT. A calorie deficit is a tried and true method for losing weight.

Sprinkle on top the claim that HIIT Cardio with its inherent intensity is draining to the central nervous system, so it’s an impediment to gains in the weight room and it’s a pretty convincing argument.

The counter argument:

For any body who doesn't know...Wiki defines HIIT as an enhanced form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods.

Those authors who argue for high intensity intervals cite the numerous studies available that HIIT training is VERY effective for fat loss.

They cite the EPOC effect (post exercise calorie expenditure), which has been shown to be higher with HIIT as the main benefit of HIIT.

So what is "the best"?

A recent study published by the University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario) compared the effect of steady state cardio vs HIIT (sprints).

METHODS: One group of men and women trained three times per week for 6 weeks with steady state cardio for 30-60 minutes at 65% of their VO2 max. The other group did 30 second all-out run sprints on a manually driven treadmill, for four tosix bouts per session (again 3 times per week).

RESULTS: Fat mass decreased by 12.4% in the groupsdoing the sprints and 5.8% in the steady state group. Lean mass increased 1% in both groups.

That is, HIIT was more than twice as effective for fat loss when spending 9 mins per week TOTAL, when compared to doing up to 3 hours of cardio per week!!!

So what about people who don't recommend HIIT? Let's re-examine some of their arguments.

"HIIT is draining on the central nervous system and will inhibit your weight lifting progress."

Anybody who suggests this as a reason not to do HIIT, I recommend they look into the weightlifting methods of John Broz. Broz has his trainers squat to a maximum everyday. The body is amazingly adaptive, if three weekly 4min HIIT workouts is sapping your strength in the weight-room, we suggest that you are not overtrained…..you are undertrained!

"Steady state cardio inherently burns more calories / EPOC is over rated."

Critics of HIIT are actually right here. Steady state cardio will defiantly burn more calories (as it did in the study cited) and EPOC is only as good as how many calories are burning during the workout (again more with steady state)? Lyle McDonald has a good write up of this here.

So what's the rebuttal to these arguments?

The answer is... there is none! Nobody is certain why HIIT is so much more efficient fat loss.

But does it really matter? Many in this industry are forever digging into the molecular mechanisms of everything. And for what? The outcome is clear in this case. HIIT is more effective for losing fat.

Is the most simplest of explanations enough?

The human body is a great adapter. Whatever requirements or stressors we impose on it are generally handled effectively. This is the SAID (specific adaptations to implied demands) effect.

Wind the clock back to before we had a McDonald's on every corner. We had to find hunt and CATCH our own food, and genuinely had to flee from forms of threat. Is it so hard to believe that when you sprint, the body sets in place adaptations to ensure that you are faster next time?

I dare say there is an inverse relationship between how fat you are and how fast you can move. And there is most certainly a strong positive correlation between how slow you are and how easy it is to get eaten.