Slow and steady cardio can win the race

• Weight loss STAYS OFF with physical activity. Diet alone is not enough to keep weight off. Those who lose weight and keep it off permanently exercise 3 to 5 times per week. 
• The key to weight loss… is to be burning more fat fuel then we are taking in. As it is body fat that you are trying to burn when losing weight, you want to be exercising in a way that ensures that body fat is your preferred source of fuel during activity.

• Some activities use BODY FAT as their main source of fuel; others do not. When weight loss is the goal, we want the activities that will best do this. Often, when trying to lose weight, women chose activities that are not condusive to using stored up fat as energy for the activity.

• What doesn`t work … Activities that are of too high an intensity- such as stop-start/intervals, will burn carbohydrate energy as their main fuel (60-70% carbohydrates will be burned) and fat as the secondary fuel (30-40%). More vigorous activities use more carbohydrate energy. Sprinters will use 90% carb energy in a 100m dash. Tennis, soccer, aerobics, spinning are all activities that burn more carbohydrate energy. This is fine, except when one is trying to lose weight-namely body fat. Then, it is far more effective to do activities that use fat as their main fuel, and carbohydrates secondary.

• What DOES work for losing weight …steady and longer duration activities that are of a lower intensity are key to weight (body fat). You are working your bigger muscles – thighs and buttocks- and will be burning body fat at a rate of 50-60%, compared to 30-40% in the higher intensity exercises. THIS is what you want. Rapid walking and slow running are the 2 best activities for burning fat as fuel. You heart rate goes up and then is maintained at a steady level (or within a small range). This allows for fat to be burned in the presence of oxygen. In order for oxygen to be able to “combust“ fat, the heart rate must be elevated but not to the point that you are out of breath.

• BUT WHAT ABOUT CALORIES…An hour of tennis may burn 400 calories for a woman who plays hard and competitively. Of these 400 calories, 70% will be carbohydrates from liver and muscle, and 30% will be from fat. Slow jogging on the otherhand, will burn abour 350 to 400 calories (slightly less) , BUT 60% of those calories burned will be from fat. In order to lose body fat, it has to be burned as fuel.

• If you have been doing an exercise program and have reduced your calorie intake and are still not losing weight, you are probably not burning fat as fuel during your workouts.

• Plain and simple, no matter how much you exercise, if you are consuming more calories and unhealthy fat than you are burning, you will not lose weight. Rather you will gain weight, EVEN IF YOU EXERCISE EVERY DAY.

• Furthermore, if you are performing high-carbohydrate activities primarily, you will be hungrier, as you are depleting muscle and liver glycogen. So, even though you haven`t depleted body fat stores, you are still hungrier. You merely continue to empty and refill your carbohydrate stores rather than continually depleting your fat stores as fuel.

• The more FIT YOU ARE, the more FAT YOU BURN…with improved fitness levels and muscle mass, you will burn more calories, even while performing the lower-intensity fat-burning activities. This is partly due to the fact that the long periods of activity will be easier to complete if you are in better shape. The more consistently you walk, the easier it becomes and the faster you will walk while still burning fat (meaning you will burn more OVERALL calories from your fat stores).

So what do you think?