I know fit people seem to be mixed up these day’s from steady state versus intervals, fed versus fasted, long and easy versus short and intense, and so on.
Obviously there is a lot of interest in cardio training and how to do it right. Sadly, most people are still doing 2 things terribly wrong and it’s killing their results.. As best as I can figure, there are two major reasons why people are still mucking up their cardio programs for fat loss.
REASON #1: NOT ENOUGH FOCUS ON TOTAL CALORIES BURNED
Most people aren’t burning enough darn calories when it comes to cardio.
Why? Well, I guess they are too busy worrying about the “proper” type of exercise (which machine or activity), the mode (steady state or intervals), the “optimal” ratio of intervals, or the “best” duration blah blah blah.
Some people coast along on the treadmill at a shitty slow 2 miles per hour or some similar sloth-like pace and they think that just by hitting a TIME goal, such as 45 or 60 minutes, that with “X” duration completed, they are assured to get the results they want.
On the other extreme, we have folks who have found or created some mega-intense, super-duper short training protocol like the “4-minute wonder workout from Russia.” Just because the workout is high in intensity and it is performed in intervals, they too think they are assured to get the results they want.
What’s missing in both cases is the realization that total fat loss over time is a function of total calories burned over time (assuming you don’t blow your diet, of course).
Total calories burned is a product of INTENSITY times DURATION, not intensity OR duration.
Too much focus on one variable at the exclusion of the other can lead to a less than optimal total calorie burn and disappointing results. And remember, intensity and duration are *variables* not absolutes! (“Variable” means you can change them. even if your “guru” says you can’t!)
When you understand the relationship and interplay between INTENSITY X DURATION you will find a “SWEET SPOT” where the product of those variables produces the maximal calorie burn and maximum fat loss, based on your current health condition and your need for time efficiency.
REASON #2: TOO MUCH FOCUS ON WHAT TYPE OF CALORIES BURNED
As best as I can figure, there is one whopper of a mistake that is still KILLING most people’s cardio programs and that is.
Way too much focus on WHAT you are burning during the workout – fats or carbohydrates – also known as “substrate utilization.”
Naturally, we could argue that it’s not quite this simple and that there are hundreds of other reasons why your cardio program might not be working. and I would agree, of course. But on the exercise side, the ideas above should be foremost in your mind.
It should go without saying that nutrition is the foundation on which every fat loss program is built.