We often are told, abs are made in the kitchen and you cannot out train a bad diet. While these statements to hold some truth, you can also do exercises to lose fat. If you are just beginning your fitness journey, do not get overwhelmed over which are the best exercises to lose fat, instead educate yourself and try your own experiments and see which type of training works best for you.
What are the Best Exercises to Lose Fat?
Cardio, weight training, power lifting? There is so much information and research available on training and which exercises help to lose fat. For purposes of this article we are going to focus on cardiovascular training- but then again, it seems like the cardio debate is also a never ending battle! “Stay in the fat burning zone” and “avoid the danger zone or you will burn off ALL muscle and wither away”! There is so much research out there, that it seems like you cannot get a straight answer as to what is the best type of cardio to lose fat. The reason we cannot get a straight answer OR past training attempts have failed you is because we are ALL unique. Variables such as age, activity level and caloric intake are a few factors that come in to play as to which are the best exercises for you lose fat.
We All Have Different Training Goals
Are you training to compete in an endurance event? Shed fat? Improve your cardiovascular health? Weight maintenance? Each one of those goals will require that you work differently. So rather than making cardio a “one size fits all” activity, let’s take a look at one type of cardio known as low intensity steady state cardio or LISS cardio.
Steady state cardio is great for individuals who:
- are looking for exercises to lose fat
- are trying to maintain muscle mass
- do not have the cardiovascular endurance needed to perform high intensity training
- are elderly
- enjoy endurance training more than high intensity training
- beginning a new workout routine
- suffer from joint pain
- have pre-existing injuries
Keep reading for more pros and cons to LISS, you be the judge and determine if this training style is appropriate for you.
During LISS cardio training, you are keeping your heart rate at a low level of intensity for the entire duration of your workout. It is usually advised to keep your heart rate in the aerobic (with oxygen) zones which tends to be around 60-80% of your max heart rate. Click the link to find an estimate of your target heart rate range for low intensity steady state cardio.
Since your heart rate stays low for during your workout, you will primarily be burning body fat for fuel. Once your heart rate gets too elevated and into the anaerobic levels, you primarily burn glucose. Of course you are burning calories during both types of training, but your body is fueling itself from different sources. Keeping your heart rate at a moderate level ensures that your body will burn body fat as a primary source for fuel.
How Long Should I Do Steady State Cardio?
There is a lot of criticism of steady state cardio because it is time consuming and can become very boring if you are not switching up your routines. Steady state cardio workouts tend to be a bit longer than other types of cardio training because your heart rate is working at a moderate level of intensity as opposed to maximum output which can only be done a few times before complete exhaustion. Because of this lower level of intensity, you will typically have the endurance to train for a longer duration. Our society wants to get the most bang for their buck so many prefer doing a high intensity cardio session in order to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. However depending on what your goals are high intensity not be working in your favor. A nice starting point is doing a steady state cardio routine 2-3 times a week for 30- 45 minutes. The whole point of doing steady state cardio is to break a sweat without having to work at too high of an intensity. If you feel as though you cannot physically continue your workout and are gasping for air…it may be time to slow down a bit. You can also use this heart rate zone guide to make sure you are in the correct (aerobic) training zone. If you are wondering what type of routine you should perform for your steady state cardio, read below.
How to do Steady State Cardio
Before beginning your new fitness routine, I recommend purchasing a heart rate monitor from your local sporting goods store. This will allow you to set your personal stats into the monitor and get an accurate reading of your heart rate. This also give you more freedom to do steady state cardio outside as opposed to only on machines that have the hand sensor heart rate monitors. When it comes to activity type, you can choose any type of activity as long as you monitor your intensity level to keep your heart rate in the proper zone. This will ensure that you do not get fatigued too quickly as well as make sure your exercise to lose fat are being done correctly.
- Power Walking
- Incline Walking
- Indoor Cycling
- Stepper Machine
- Stair Master
Supplements for Steady State Cardio
Before beginning any type of training routine you should consult with your primary care physician and let them know your plans as well as what types of supplements you are considering taking. In order to keep it simple, a good pre-workout and multivitamin are great starting points
Drink Celsius to Lose Fat- Celsius is a great tasting pre-workout drink that is backed by multiple published university studies to reduce body fat and increase cardiovascular endurance. Drink 1 can of Celsius 15-15 minutes before your steady state cardio session in order to get the most out of your training session. With Celsius you will notice that you are not as fatigued as usual and will have more stamina. You can learn more and buy Celsius here.
Take a Multivitamin- There are several options for multivitamins on the market. You can take a multivitamin that is geared towards your age, activity level of any other specific needs you may have. Many times we do not get the appropriate amount of vitamins through our food, a good multivitamin will ensure you are getting your needed amount of vitamins in order to promote the best results from your steady state cardio sessions.
Take a Break!- When beginning a fitness routine, you can easily go overboard with training when you start seeing results. Just be sure to have rest days in order to allow your body to fully recover and make you stronger for your next session. As your stamina and endurance increase, be sure to increase your intensity of your exercises in order to continue losing fat. On your rest days you can still drink a Celsius and get the great tasting calorie and fat burning effects from each serving. Use these steady state exercises to lose fat while strengthening your heart and keeping your body injury free.
If you enjoyed this article and want more health and wellness tips, check out this post about Nutrition Tips to Burn Body Fat!
*Please consult with your primary care physical before beginning any type of workout, nutrition plan or dietary supplement.