Many people are advised that, in order to loose fat, they should exercise at a low to moderate intensity and stay in what is called the “fat burning zone”.
This is partly true and nowadays, most cardio equipment in the gym have preset programmes to help you stay in this zone, however there are a number of things on which anyone with the goal of loosing weight should reflect.
In theory, staying in the “fat burning zone”, allows the body to draw energy mainly from fat sources but, because the effort put is not too great, you should be working out on this zone for a long time in order to burn a small amount of fat.
When exercising at higher intensities, the body will take energy mainly from carbohydrates however, the calorie expenditure will be higher than when working at low intensity and therefore the amount of fat burnt will be overall higher so you can burn the same amount of fat but in a shorter time.
Calories are not burn only during exercise but, depending on how hard you work, the body will keep burning even after the session is over, the harder you work, the longer the afterburn benefits.
Of course, there are circumstances when keeping a low to moderate intensity is more beneficial, for example with people who have health issues such as being severly overweight or obese, joints and back problems, cardiovascular problems etc.
In this case, exercising at low intensity will help to kick start and maintain a new regime. It may take a little bit longer, but the results will undoubtly come, there will be an improvement in the health issues and in many cases, it will be possible to start increasing the exercise intensity.
To summarise, here are the pro and cons of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and LISS (Low Intensity Stady State)
- LISS is a better option for beginners and unfit people
- LISS can be sustained for longer time
- LISS is safer in terms of getting injured
- HIIT will get you quicker results
- HIIT can be more challenging and less boring
- HIIT calls for longer recovery time
- Both HIIT and LISS are valid, you need to choose the one that is most appropriate to your needs and circumstances
Loosing weight is a simple formula: you need to burn more calories than what you need to go about on a normal day. Initially, it is advisable to focus more on calories expenditure than worrying about burning fat, especially if you have quite a few kilos to shed.
The first thing to do is to establish how many calories you need in a day. Once you find the number, you need to adjust your food intake and exercise routine so that you can keep a balance. For weight loss yuo should eat about 500 calories a day less than what you would normally need. This will help you to slim down in a healthy way. Remember that, trying to cut corners by drastically cutting down on calories, will alter your body metabolism and will result in failing to achieve your goals, health problems and putting on more weight than before. You should never eat less calories than what you Basal Metabolism Rate (BMR) is and in no circumstance you should eat less than 1000 calories a day.
Of course, it is not only the number of calories that counts, but also the quality of food you eat.