Is High Intensity Interval Training Best for Weight Loss for Beginning Exercisers?

Published:  10/19/2018

New or inexperienced exercisers may have some misperceptions in regards to cardio training. It is not uncommon for an individual to begin an exercise program with the intention of losing weight by performing a high volume of cardio training at a high intensity. (By high intensity I mean to the point that speaking is possible, but not really comfortable, i.e., you can't recite the entire alphabet with ease at this point).

A common misperception is that the most effective way to burn calories is to do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or high intensity cardio for extended periods of time. While there is some truth to this, especially for the fit exerciser, it is important to have a solid understanding of how to apply cardio training and the science of energy metabolism to perform cardio to lose weight both safely and effectively.

Without question, higher-intensity exercise expends more calories per minute. However, cardio training at a difficult challenging pace for a prolonged period of time can actually be ineffective; rather than burning calories from fat it can lead to the loss of muscle protein as muscle protein is being used to supply energy for difficult exercise.

High Intensity Training for the beginner, however, will cause the body to utilize all available muscle glycogen as an energy source. (Glycogen is the way the body stores glucose to use as fuel). When glycogen is no longer available a process called gluconeogenesis is initiated, which stimulates the liver to convert muscle protein into glycogen to continue fueling exercise. When protein is used to create glycogen, it is then not available to make muscle and repair tissues. If this person is reducing calories in an effort to lose weight, he or she is creating a situation where the body will break down muscle protein. This means that much of the weight loss that does occur could instead be the result of losing precious lean muscle rather than losing body fat.

To avoid this situation and to lose weight from body fat, it is important to follow ideal progressions for cardio training and gradually increase the intensity of exercise. A Certified Master Personal trainer can progress you safely and effectively through the stages.

The above situation for the beginner, creates another issue: It bypasses the use of aerobic training to create a strong base for cardiovascular fitness and the beneficial changes to the body that come with it.

There are two basic energy systems the body uses when doing cardio training: anaerobic and aerobic. The anaerobic system is used significantly in high intensity cardio. Initially, the aerobic system should be trained specifically and solely. This training creates efficiency, since with prolonged aerobic training, adaptations occur that improve oxygen transport to the muscles, reduces the rate of lactate formation, and improves the rate of lactate removal and increases energy production and utilization. Other adaptations of aerobic training include increased stroke volume of the heart, capillary density and mitochondrial density. All these adaptations make the body efficient.

To most effectively train your body to be an efficient fat loser, follow ideal progressions for cardio training and gradually increase the intensity of exercise. A Certified Master Personal trainer can progress you safely and effectively through the stages.

Categories:   Fitness  Food  Weight Management 

Tags:   #cardio #weightloss

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