The Two Common Cardio Workout Approaches: If your goal is to burn body fat, you have a few different approaches to chose from. The majority of trainers recommend you take the low intensity approach to cardio. The idea behind doing cardio at a low intensity level is that most of the calories burned will come from body fat. Many people believe that if you workout too hard, you are burning carbohydrate energy in the body and not targeting fat. Many people make the point that more total calories are burned if people exercise at a higher intensity level. They reason that if you simply burn more calories than you consume in a day, you will lose body fat. So now we will look in more detail at each school of thought.
Low Intensity Cardio Workout Approach: Low intensity cardio is the most popular form of cardio and is pushed by many personal trainers. Low intensity cardio works at targeting body fat and that is why it is recommended by many personal trainers. University studies have proven low intensity cardio uses fat calories instead of burning muscle carbohydrate calories for energy. If the body burns fat for energy, you will lose body fat. It just makes sense. It is important to choose cardio machines that can track your heart rate. It will let you monitor your heart rate during your cardio workout to allow you to hit the ideal intensity level. After about 10 minutes or so, you should be close to reaching your ideal heart rate. Staying within that target heart rate for at least 30 minutes is what is recommended by most experts.
The High Intensity Cardio Workout: This is a less utilized form of cardio. High intensity training involves pushing past your pain threshold a bit, so fewer people choose this route. This cardio method can give great results in burning body fat if done properly. The total calories burned in high intensity cardio are greater than low intensity cardio. Some of those calories come from your body fat and some come from glycogen (carbohydrates stores within your muscles). When you burn more calories in your cardio workout than what you consume, you create a calorie deficit. If you burn a more calories during the day than what you eat in food, you will lose weight.
The Limitations of the 2 Types of Cardio Workouts: Once you get your heart rate up to the correct level, the low intensity cardio workout will burn body fat. The downside is that it can take up to 10 minutes to get your heart rate to the correct level to burn body fat. The first 10 minutes of this cardio workout are somewhat unproductive. High intensity cardio is hard to maintain for long periods of time since it takes a lot of effort. Working at an intense level for over 10-15 minutes is extremely difficult.
How to Combine The Two Approaches Into One Awesome Cardio Workout: When performed in a certain manner, it is possible to benefit from doing both types of cardio in the same workout. You can make the first ten minutes of the low intensity cardio workout productive, by starting your cardio workout off at a high intensity level. Find a treadmill or exercise bike and set it at a high level. Push yourself really hard for 10-15 minutes. Once you are really working up a sweat, switch to a low intensity and keep it there for 20-30 minutes. This will burn calories and create a calorie deficit as well as burning body fat during the workout. I maintain an 8% body fat percentage year round using this cardio approach.