I really love the fitness industry. Ever since I was 12, I knew this is what I wanted to do. I’m only 23 now, but I feel like I have more ideas and information floating around in my head than most thirty and forty year olds in the industry. Don’t get me wrong, I love learning from everyone, even if it teaches me what not to do with certain clients by watching their trainers in action. But every once in a while, I am gifted to read or witness something that totally changes my perception on what to do to drop belly fat as fast as possible. One such method that I am talking about is totally ditching traditional cardio to lose belly fat. I know many would probably scoff at this idea, but hear me out for a second and just keep an open mind about it all.
Now let me first start off by saying that cardiovascular exercise is a very important component in a fitness regimen. It is a wonderful form of exercise because it improves heart health, decreases blood pressure, decreases bad cholesterol, increases good cholesterol, and many other positive health factors. However, many people get caught up in the idea of that they have to run miles upon miles to get these health benefits. And then you have the other side of the spectrum of people who feel they have to perform endless hours on the treadmill or elliptical to lose the excess belly fat. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Lets back it up a little bit and see what the definition of cardiovascular exercise is in laymen terms. According to the dictionary, aerobic exercise is exercise that increases the need for oxygen throughout the entire body. Pretty simple stuff if you ask me. When you are exercising, your body essentially needs more oxygen to those working muscles so that energy metabolism can occur and you can keep going at a nice pace without stopping.
But let me ask you this?
Why does aerobic exercise have to be just be a slow steady pace of jogging or any type of steady state cardiovascular exercise? Why can’t it be circuit training, interval training, or the combination of both? Because according to that definition, those types of activities would fit the mold. And guess what? Those types of activities that I just listed above are actually BETTER for fat loss and getting in incredible shape as compared to jogging.
For example, how many people you see at the gym are cranking away on the elliptical or running on the treadmill for 30, 45, 60 minutes at a time and yet, their bodies are nothing special? Usually, they are kind of flabby and soft with no real muscle tone. Now, I don’t know about you, but most people who want to lose weight rather be nice and lean with “toned” up muscles. Well, regular slow jogging for 45 minutes a day will not get you there.
Now don’t get me wrong, steady state cardio has its place in some programs, but this is dependent on the individual. But most of the time, I would implement some type of interval training because there is more bang for your buck. For example, there is a term called Excess Post Oxygen Consumption or EPOC. EPOC is positively correlated with metabolism. So when your EPOC is raised, your metabolism is raised as well. This means you are basically burning more calories at a higher rate. Now take a guess and tell me what raises EPOC the most?
If you guessed interval training, you are correct!
An interval style of training elevates EPOC way behind traditional steady state cardio. What’s also cool is that interval training can keep your EPOC levels raised significantly for longer periods of time after you have stopped exercising.
Let’s say you are jogging. Once you stop, your metabolism will decrease almost right away. This happens if you continue at a steady pace. Now, with interval training, once you stop your session, your metabolism will actually stay raised for quite some time afterward. Depending how hard your session was, it could stay above base line levels for hours on end. This, I like to call the after-burn and is the basis for my Dynamic Burn Fat Loss Program.
Essentially, you can get more done in less time by implementing an interval style of training without doing any traditional cardiovascular exercise. Now, another cool thing about interval training is that it has more carry over effect to steady cardio than steady cardio does towards interval training. What this means is if you do sprints on your off days, it will have a huge carry over effect if you decide to go for a nice run one day around your local track. Now, if you perform regular cardio like I’ve been talking about and then perform sprints one day, they will have very little carry over. You’ll be sucking wind like it was first time exercising.
Another thing that I don’t like about jogging is the nasty effects it has on your knees and joints. Each strike of your leg on a hard surface can increase the weight on the knee joint up to 6x of whatever your body weight is. I don’t know about you, but I want my knees to be healthy as I get older and do not want a replacement at the age of 50!
Now, here is a quick little workout you can do on the treadmill if you are just starting out with intervals. No running needed at all and you’ll be done in 20-25 minutes.
For the first 5 minutes, just put treadmill at a speed of 3.0 mph at a 1 to 2 degree incline.
After 5 minutes, I want you to crank the interval up to 12-15 degrees for as long as you can stand it. Also, try not to hold on to the hand rails. This will make the exercise much harder.
Now, bring the treadmill back down to 1 to 2 degrees for about 2 minutes and then repeat this process until you have reached 20-25 minutes.
This is a great little workout that you can perform if you are just getting into interval training. Obviously, adjust it to your fitness level, but start performing more of these types of workouts. You’ll start to see the fat coming off at a faster pace and you’ll have more time to spare for life outside of the gym.
If you haven’t already, visit my blog now and grab your free 6 month fat loss program to get more routines like this!