The best cardio exercise for weight loss is not slow, boring cardio. Instead, to maximize fat burning and your metabolism, you need to do intervals. This form of cardio wil burn fat and help you lose weight faster than ever.
Q: I know intervals are great, but is it ever beneficial to do longer workouts of moderate intensity cardio? Is this what beginners should do?
Answer: Good question.
I think that the more fat a person has, the more they will simply benefit from any type of exercise. Therefore, even low-intensity work will help.
However, two things to consider before we just send everyone out for 60 minute jogs and cardio sessions.
1) Is the individual physically prepared for high-volume exercise?
Unfortunately, I've seen my share of clients that decided to jump back into fitness with long cardio workouts. Soon enough they were asking me to help rehab their injuries. . . whether they were small muscles strains or more serious overuse injuries.
So you always have to make sure that the individuals are physically prepared for the exercise program - which is why my training programs include introductory and beginner muscle strengthening phases in combination with exercise that focuses on calorie burning.
Many beginners will have weak muscles - somewhere along the line. So doing dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of repetitions (i. e. longer cardio stuff) can exacerbate small injuries into full-blown injuries. We must always be careful there. . . that's one of the reasons that people drop out of exercise programs so frequently.
And that's why fitness assessments are very important when you are able to work one-on-one with a trainer (or when you are a trainer - make sure you do these!).
You can get the same benefits as long cardio in half the time by doing structured interval training instead. So if time is a factor, then intervals rule.
So remember these 4 simple rules for your fat loss program and it will be effective, efficient, balanced, and safe:
1) Strengthen the weak muscles
2) Stretch the tight muscles
3) Burn more calories (through exercise and by boosting your metabolism with resistance training)
4) Improve your nutrition so that you are taking in fewer calories to lose fat, but not dieting so hard that you are messing up your body's fat-burning hormones.
Cardio works for fat loss, but not the cardio you think. For weight loss, you need to boost your metabolism and fat burning with intervals.
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Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training for Fat Loss have helped thousands of men and women with weight loss and fat burning in less than 45 minutes three times per week. Turbulence Training for Fat Loss workouts help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment. Craig's bodyweight workouts for fat loss help you lose fat without any equipment at all.