From my teen years till now, I considered cardio the ideal fat burner. High intensity exercises, ranging from INSANITY, back to 80’s style aerobics, were (and still are) the core of my routines. Strength training, machines or free weights, were a distant second. If I was too tired for cardio, machines and weights were my “back-up.” I tolerated strength training; like many tolerate or endure uninvited in-laws; after two weeks.
While that ideology has changed for me, most of you familiar with my posts, realize running preserves my sanity. Even after a car accident, running was my constant–the north star in a time of uncertainty. It was there for me to shed the “baby weight.” It was there after a long work day; working with people who made snobbery an art form.
Since most of my running consists of submaximal workouts, not sprinting, this information would not apply.
Did you know that fat oxidation is reduced, with increasing exercise intensity?
Scraping the surface only, here are a few reasons.
Intramuscular triglycerides (lipids inside of muscle) are used 1st. Then comes fatty acid oxidation. Possibly, your body likes to hang on to its excess baggage; for a couple of reasons. Just in case there’s a famine; just in case you decide to skip a meal or two–just in case you become pregnant.
Lactate also plays its role; it stops fatty acid mobilization. The good news: if you are an endurance athlete, you produce less lactate. Yes, it’s a slow process to become one of those. BUT, another perk of endurance training–when you finish, fat oxidation is increased. Free fatty acids in plasma and intramuscular triglyceride oxidation is increased; contributing to fat usage.
What’s the take away if you want to burn fat? Slow and low. More to the point, you might want to alternate low and moderate intensity workout days.
My opinion? High intensity should be part of your regime. Why? To shake things up a bit. Your body can reach a set point with any routine; high or low. However, if you start low, you still have somewhere to go. If you start high, your appetite will definitely match that. That will leave you with an ever-increasing hunger–quite disconcerting if you are trying to lose weight.
In subsequent posts, I will try to address more on this subject. The exercise physiology class in which I’m enrolled and deriving this information, should shed additional light. There is more to fitness than just the newest 3 day detox, or trendy workout routine. It entails, as with nursing, evidence based practice. Coupled with experience, this is the premise from which I operate–both as a nurse and now as a nurse personal trainer.
All for now. Keep up and keep at it.