Most people assume that walking is the BEST form of exercise to burn fat. This could be one of the reasons why treadmill, walking paths, and tracks have gained popularity over the years. Walking, has been shown to be an effective means at utilizing fatty acids for energy, which could translate into increased weight loss. However, walking may NOT be the best exercise for boosting your metabolism, and burning fat, compared to interval training. Let me explain…
Walking and Weight Loss
By far the easiest and most fundamental exercise, walking is a great form of cardiovascular exercise geared at strengthening your heart, lungs, bones, and your muscle tissue. However, the benefits of walking may far exceed that. Walking has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, lead to weight loss, and improve the strength of your bones. Plus, if you are sedentary and start a basic walking program, there is an increase in calorie demand, which could account for the majority of your weight loss.
However, the drawback to walking:
When your body becomes accustomed to walking then you may stop seeing the benefits of increased Fat loss. In fact, one of the main drawbacks of walking has to do with calorie burn, during and after the exercise (aka Epoc). Also, it could take as long as 30 minutes or more before your body starts to utilize fatty acids as its main fuel source, which may limit the amount of fat calories you are burning during the exercise. The majority of your calories are burned during the activity, however, when the activity stops, so does the calorie burning. Although your body does become accustomed to the exercise, walking is still a great exercise for beginners who are just starting out on a beginning exercise program.
Interval Training for Fat Loss:
Interval training, which is very short, very intense exercise bouts followed by moderate intensity exercise, has been shown to be more effective at fat burning before AND after your exercise program (aka Epoc).
Interval training, also called sprint training, has been shown in research to be effective at increasing glucose metabolism, improving athletic performance, and even increasing your fat burning potential – all in a shorter time frame than your typical walking program.
The typical procedure for an interval training program is as follows: A short, brisk warm up period, followed by six to ten periods of very high intense exercise (near maximum), followed by moderate intensity (50% of your max), followed by a longer cool-down period.
A typical interval training session should last as little as 15 minutes and should not surpass 20 minutes, which makes it a perfect exercise if you are short on time and want the best workout to burn as many calories as possible.
Some of the benefits of interval training include:
- Increased resting metabolic rate (or the amount of calories you burn at rest)
- Increase oxygen capacity
- Increased athletic performance
- Decreased insulin resistance
- Improved skeletal muscle utilization of fatty acids, and improved glucose tolerance
- And much, much more
In fact, according to a recent study, interval training done for 15 weeks in young women was shown to be effective at reducing total body fat, subcutaneous leg and trunk fat, and reducing insulin sensitivity in women when compared to doing steady-state exercise (walking, running, or jogging) for the same time period.
In another study focused on sedentary young men, the researchers found that high-intensity interval training, involving only 250 calories of work per week, was shown to significantly improve the activity of insulin, therefore potentially making it a good strategy for reducing metabolic risk factors associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Burn Fat Faster with Interval Training:
There are many factors that need to be considered when losing weight. You need to eat the right foods, get adequate sleep, manage your stress levels, and have the right exercise plan in place if you want to be successful at your weight-loss attempts. Walking, which is a great fundamental weight-loss exercise, is often prescribed as the best way to lose weight and ensure your long-term success for maintaining a healthy weight.
However, according to recent research, interval training may be a better alternative for increasing fat burning – during and after your exercise bout. This could not only lead to increased weight loss, but may also boost your metabolism and shed fat while maintaining more lean muscle tissue than regular cardiovascular exercise alone.
By Kevin DiDonato
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