Is There A Best Fat Loss Cardio?

Doing Cardio For Fat Loss?

Fat loss through exercise is an extremely contentious topic. Across history, many have sought a silver bullet to attain fat loss and their ideal body shape. The idea of a silver bullet is that of a simple guaranteed solution for a difficult problem. Is cardio THAT simple solution to solve the complex problem of fat loss? Find out in this article.

What Causes Fat Loss?

Fat loss requires stored fat in the body to be liberated from their storage cells and used up as an energy source. Energy “source” can sound vague; the body uses several different sources to keep us alive and moving. Fat is one of those resources, and when the body has more than enough fat to keep us alive and fueling movement, it gets stored for future use, when we have less energy available. This is often described as a caloric deficit, which is when we are using more energy in the body than energy we take in through food and drinks. The body needs to make up for that deficit caused by staying alive and movement by liberating stored fat and using it as a fuel source.

How Much Fat Do We Actually Lose From Cardio?

Cardio done independently, or by itself, will not cause long-term body fat loss unless it contributes to putting the body in a caloric deficit. Often, cardio and other physical activities are combined with a nutritional strategy to create daily and thus weekly caloric deficits, enabling the body to use stored fat as a fuel source. This beggars the question: then, how much fat loss is the cardio creating? The amount of fat loss the cardio creates would depend on how much fat is utilised for energy during the exercise itself. We see two common kinds of cardiorespiratory training methods nowadays: High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT, and Low Intensity Steady State cardio, or LISS.

spin bike cardio fat loss

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Cardio For Fat Loss

HIIT refers to a form of interval training that has intervals of high intensity exercise, followed by an interval of lower intensity exercise or rest. HIIT has received plenty of support in the past for fat loss training due to the Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) effect. EPOC, commonly known as the afterburn, ensures the body uses up more oxygen for fat burning after exercise, hence the “after” burn effect. However, the EPOC effect has been critically reviewed to be rather small and not likely responsible for any significant fat loss long term; it still requires the body to be in a caloric deficit.

Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) Cardio For Fat Loss

LISS refers to a form of endurance training that has a consistent and low-grade intensity, performed for a continuous duration. LISS has been referred to as the standard fat loss exercise structure; pounding away repeatedly on the same machine or exercise for long durations. Running, cycling, and swimming are often used for LISS due to their accessibility. At the gym, it is common to see the treadmill, rower, and elliptical machines used for LISS. While LISS can be a reliable form of exercise to help in fat loss, again, it still requires the body to be in a caloric deficit.

Is HIIT Better Than LISS For Fat Loss?

Due to popular media, HIIT has received claims to be a better form of fat loss cardio than LISS. Is there a grain of truth to this? HIIT, by design, takes less time to complete than LISS, which makes it more easy to initiate. The Tabata workout, also known as the 4 minute long, 20-10 interval workout, is a good example of a HIIT workout. However, the high intensity of HIIT workouts often result in greater fatigue and recovery demands. LISS often results in lower fatigue and faster recovery, making it an exercise that can be done for fat loss more frequently. Either way, HIIT and LISS should not be crutches sought after for fat loss; a sound exercise and nutritional strategy should be at the core of a fat loss program.

Adding Both HIIT And LISS Into A Program

HIIT and LISS both have positive effects on heart health when done appropriately. As with any exercise method, when starting it for the first time, start at a lower intensity and workload to allow the body to acclimate to it. HIIT and LISS will add further fatigue demands to a resistance training program, which can add further stress and impede recovery. Both HIIT and LISS can be added into a fat loss program as long as you sustain your caloric deficit and maintain your muscle mass. A simple way to incorporate HIIT into a fat loss program would be interval stationary bike sprints. We can determine the intensity of the sprints by looking at our individual Heart Rate (HR) Zones. A sample HIIT workout has been shown below.

120sHigh: HR Zone 3-4
240sLow: HR Zone 2
320sHigh: HR Zone 3-4
440sLow: HR Zone 2
520sHigh: HR Zone 3-4
640sLow: HR Zone 2
720sHigh: HR Zone 3-4
840sLow: HR Zone 2

A simple and currently popular way to incorporate LISS into a fat loss program could be treadmill incline walking. Set a low to moderately steep incline of 4.0 to 8.0 on the treadmill, and walk at a speed that brings you to HR Zone 2 for a fixed duration, such as 30 minutes.

Hit Your Fat Loss Cardio Workout With The Gym Pod!

If you are unsure of how to run a fat loss program and worse, how to introduce cardio into your fat loss program, seek the guidance of a well educated personal trainer from The Gym Pod Academy. Our personal trainers are experienced and knowledgeable in programming the right equipment and exercises to help you with fat loss cardio! If you are looking for an enjoyable social workout, the Gym Pod’s 8 Week Weight Loss Program at Pasir Ris Grit Pod is a fantastic option for safe, effective workouts with friends to drive your fat loss progress and hit your goals too!