Aerobics suck!! There I said it. If you are doing 30 minutes to an hour of aerobic training to lose fat, you are wasting your time. If your goal is fat loss, high intensity interval training (HIIT) is your go to weapon. The downside to HIIT is…….well, it friggin’ sucks because it’s hard. But the benefits are:
Extreme fat loss
EPOC (exercise post oxygen consumption)
Save time (most sessions are under 15 minutes, but remember it’s HARD)
Here is a study that showed interval training to be nine times more effective than traditional aerobics. Yes, NINE TIMES!!!!!!!!!!!
Tremblay A, Simoneau JA, Bouchard C.
Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism.
Metabolism. 1994 Jul;43(7):814-8
They compared 20 weeks of traditional aerobics to 15 weeks of interval training. The interval group burned less than half as many calories as the aerobic group. But the interval group lost nine times more fat!! In less weeks!! This is most likely due to EPOC. After interval training, EPOC is raised, metabolism is elevated and you are burning a significant amount of calories by doing nothing. In fact, some research has shown EPOC to be elevated as long as 40+ hours after training.
So, check out some of the research on EPOC:
Schuenke MD, Mikat RP, McBride JM.
Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management.
Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002 Mar;86(5):411-7. Epub 2002 Jan 29.
This study showed EPOC was elevated for 38 hours post workout. That means 38 hours of cooking away calories without doing anything. I’ll take that!!
Bryner RW, Ullrich IH, Sauers J, Donley D, Hornsby G, Kolar M, Yeater R.
Effects of resistance vs. aerobic training combined with an 800 calorie liquid diet on lean body mass and resting metabolic rate.
J Am Coll Nutr. 1999 Apr;18(2):115-21.
The resistance training group lost significantly more fat and the aerobic group actually decreased their metabolism (not good).
Kramer, Volek et al.
Influence of exercise training on physiological and performance changes with weight loss in men.
Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 31, No. 9, pp. 1320-1329, 1999.
Diet group: Lost 14.6 pounds
Diet/Aerobic group: Lost 15.6 pounds (only one pound more)
Resistance training group: Lost 21.1 pounds (again probably due to EPOC)
Even with all of the research, people with continue to do steady state aeorbics. Why? For the simple fact that it is EASY and interval training is HARD. Remember, traditional cardio makes you an efficient fat STORING machine.
So the next time you are at the gym and see someone doing some long slow aerobic training (for the goal of fat loss), throw a 5 pound plate at their head to knock some sense into them. And if you are that person running a long, slow, death to nowhere………..have someone throw a 10 pound plate at your head :-)