The Cardio Myth: Aerobic VS Anaerobic Training
Many women mistakenly believe that they need to ‘do cardio’ to burn fat and to train the cardiovascular system. In an effort to stay fit and lose belly fat, they spend hours ‘jogging’ or doing steady state low intensity exercise on treadmills, elliptical machines and stationary bikes.
You couldn’t be further from the truth.
While doing long, slow, low intensity (and usually painfully boring) exercise of this sort is better than nothing, it won’t achieve the desired results. But this isn’t news if you’ve read anything I’ve ever posted before…
The benefits of low intensity cardio don’t warrant the time investment, but there’s a solution that will address your fat loss, increase your fitness level and also strengthen your cardiovascular system in a fraction of the time.
It’s called ‘anaerobic’ or metabolic resistance training.
Here’s a little science to help you understand:
‘Cardio’ is considered ‘aerobic’ training and uses glycogen, fat and muscle for fuel. It burns this fuel in the presence of oxygen. You can tell if you’re training using your ‘aerobic’ energy system by taking the ‘talk test’. If you can talk during exercise, then you’re in the ‘aerobic’ energy burning zone.
The more effective fat burning and fitness enhancing form of exercise is called ‘anaerobic’ exercise. This form of exercise uses glycogen as an energy source that is burned without the presence of oxygen. Typically, you won’t be able to talk while doing this intense form of exercise because your body is too busy trying to do the work while you keep breathing.
An example of anaerobic exercise is the My Bikini Belly workouts.
People get caught up on the fact that aerobic exercise burns fat as an energy source. Unfortunately, while fat can be burned during aerobic exercise for energy, it takes a LONG time and more OVERALL energy is burned doing anaerobic exercise. You will also burn muscle and potentially raise cortisol levels (the belly fat storing hormone) when doing aerobic exercise.
The biggest ‘bang for your buck’ exercise is anaerobic style workouts. These are more intense but shorter workouts. The beauty of them is that they will raise your metabolism so that your calorie burn will continue long after the workout is over. This is called EPOC, or ‘excess post oxygen consumption’ or better known as ‘after burn’.
Now, if you’re worried that your heart health will not be addressed with anaerobic exercise, you can relax. When you do anaerobic exercise, the body actually goes through the ‘aerobic’ phase to get into the ‘anaerobic’ phase. Take a look at this ladder:
This is how energy is burned during an anaerobic workout, it’s also called HIIT or ‘high intensity interval training’.
The body must start at the aerobic phase at the bottom of the ladder. As you do a burst of higher intensity exercise, you will tap into the anaerobic energy system. You will typically start and end the anaerobic session with aerobic exercise (and possibly bounce in between the two forms through out the workout if you take active rest breaks) there by strengthening the heart and cardiovascular system.
Using aerobic steady state cardio this is what typically results:
-Long workouts are required (people are time poor)
-Risk of cortisol elevation (stress/belly fat storing hormone)
-Risk of lower body repetitive use injury
-Core and upper body are neglected
-Risk of burning muscle as energy source
-Less shape enhancing results (due to unbalanced programming and loss of muscle)
-Slow results and/or risk of plateau
Using anaerobic exercise this is what typically results:
-Short workouts are needed (addresses #1 time excuse)
-No risk of cortisol elevation
-Increase in lactic acid (precursor to HGH)
-Increase in HGH – important for muscle growth and fat loss
-No risk of lower body repetitive use injury
-More balanced training – core and upper body are NOT neglected
-Increased muscle tone
-Fast results with NO risk of plateau due to exercise variety
Make the most of your time by using a scientifically proven fat burning exercise formula – one that’s geared to the needs of women over 40, you’ll find them here:
Schuenke MD, Mikat RP, McBride JM. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002 Mar;86(5):411-7. Epub 2002 Jan 29
Research from W. Jackson Davis and colleagues at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and the University of California at Berkley, looked at this issue in a September 2008 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Brownlee, K., Moore, A. W., Hackney, A.C. (2005) Relationship Between Circulating Cortisol and Testosterone: Influence of Physical Activity. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. 4, 76-83