Maximize Fat Burning
SIMPLY relying on reduced calorie intake to lose weight and body fat does not guarantee permanent results. The decrease in calorie intake must be coordinated and reinforced by exercises in order to burn more calories and achieve better than average muscle definition.
This way, when you have achieved your desired weight you don’t have to continue for the rest of your life eating less calories.
You can then increase your calorie intake up to the maximum DCE level for weight and muscle definition maintenance. You do not have to starve to look good!
The Key to Effective Fat Loss
It was Major Kenneth Cooper of the U.S. Air Force who developed the system of physical conditioning exercises for astronauts to enhance the circulatory and respiratory efficiency of the body through vigorous sustained exercises such as jogging, swimming, or cycling, better known today as aerobics.
It has evolved into its present day variant of low impact aerobics in which one foot of the individual performing the exercise is always in contact with the ground.
Aerobic exercise is the real secret to permanently losing body fat.
Without exercise, it is impossible to lose fat permanently by dieting alone. Not incorporating an aerobic exercise program with a diet plan is one of the major reasons of failure to sustain permanent weight loss. Eating often and performing regular aerobic exercises boosts the body’s metabolic rate inducing weight loss of body fats!
An aerobic exercise is any cardiovascular activity that involves large muscle groups and can be performed continuously for long periods of time (30 ≤ 60 minutes). Common aerobic activities are fast walking, jogging, bicycling, stair climbing, rowing, cross-country skiing and elliptical exercises.
Why are aerobic exercises necessary for fat loss?
The best choice of physical activity to achieve measurable fat loss is one that makes the body burn fats instead of carbohydrates for fuel. Intermittent physical activities or sports are not as efficient as aerobics in burning fat because they are anaerobic.
Short bursts of physical activities (anaerobic) primarily burn carbohydrate for fuel. Burning fat requires the presence of large amounts of oxygen in the body and this happens only during aerobic activities.
To achieve permanent fat loss, it is therefore ideal to burn body fat by performing longer duration exercises at a moderate to moderately high intensity levels.
Duration/Intensity Levels of Aerobics
Low intensity aerobic exercises burn more fat calories than carbohydrate calories; at moderate to high intensity levels, a greater percentage of carbohydrate calories are used up by the body.
This is why moderate to high intensity aerobic is better than low intensity aerobic – more calories are burned and used by the body in performing the physical activity, especially if you can keep it up for long periods (30 minutes or more continuously).
The logic is fairly simple: the longer you perform medium to high intensity aerobic work outs, the more calories you burn; the more calories you burn, the more fat you lose. In performing longer workouts, the body favors the use of glycogen early in the workout, as your glycogen supply becomes depleted, the body turns to stored body fat as the primary fuel source.
Moderate to high intensity aerobics for more than 30 minutes result in health benefits such as decreased blood pressure, decreased blood cholesterol and lowered resting heart rate.
The minimum recommended duration of moderate to high intensity aerobic workout is 30 minutes and the maximum is 60 minutes. Most body types respond to a 30 minute continuous aerobic exercise to burn a significant amount of body fat; 30 to 45 minutes continuously per session is the recommended duration for optimum fat loss and 60 minutes should be the maximum. Going beyond 60 minutes per aerobic session increases the likelihood of injury, over- training and adaptation.
The Frequency of Aerobic Exercises
At a minimum, you should do 3 days per week of 20 to 30 minutes aerobic workout as part of your routine, for health reasons and fat loss. The number of days per week you do aerobic workouts is largely dependent on your goals. If fat loss is your goal, then you can increase the frequency to 4 or 5 or even make it a daily regimen to maximize results.
If you are just starting out with the program, 3 days a week of aerobic training should be the baseline. Since your body is not used to strenuous physical activities, initial results are very impressive. However, the baseline 3 day weekly aerobics workout is used only as a starting point or as maintenance level workout.
Results are immediate because any increase in physical activity from zero activity always produces results; however, these results will soon taper off (another progress gap) as the body adapts itself to the new nutrition and physical regimen. When this happens, it is necessary to gradually increase the frequency of physical activity.
For best results of the program, recommended frequencies of aerobic exercises are as follows:
Maintenance, Health and Physical Conditioning: 3-4 Days/Weekly
Maximum Fat Loss: 5-7 Days/Weekly
The Intensity of Aerobic Exercises
The Law of Diminishing Returns also applies to fat and weight loss. If you perform aerobic exercises longer and more often, you burn up more calories and lose more fat and if you work out longer, more often and harder, then you most likely will triple or even quadruple the effect but only up to a certain point.
Pushing your body harder and harder eventually gets you to a level wherein you are unable to sustain the intensity of the activity long enough to burn more fat, you are drained even before you finish your workout.
It is for this reason that you should establish an Optimal Training Level (OTL) that is not too light and not too hard. Normally, the OTL is approximately 60% ≤ 80% of your age predicted maximum heart rate.
The Importance of Target Heart Rates
Calculated Target Heart Rates @ OTL are simply guidelines; although they are based on conventional and measurable variables, they are at best educated estimates. Nothing beats common sense based on personal experience. In the course of your aerobic workouts, you are the best judge of how your body responds.
If you workout at OTL Beginner Level and feel that it is almost effortless then you can safely go up to the next level immediately; however, if it feels extremely difficult and you are struggling, do not hesitate to decrease your intensity even lower than the minimum OTL! You are the best judge of how the program works and there is no reason why you can not make the necessary adjustments if necessary.
If you have a completely sedentary lifestyle, are overweight or have poor physical condition, it is recommended that you start your training at an intensity level lower than your minimum target heart rate. Start slowly, and gradually increase the intensity of your aerobic workouts as you become more fit until you eventually reach the ideal OTL.
By monitoring your breathing patterns when performing aerobic workouts, you will be able to accurately tell if the level you are working at is your OTL to burn off body fat. You should be breathing heavier than normal but not gasping for air; if you are out of breath but can’t hold a conversation or complete a sentence, you are definitely working beyond your OTL.
When you are doing aerobic workouts, the rule of thumb is the harder you breathe, the higher your intensity level is and the more fat you burn – as long as you sustain the activity for the required amount of time. If you are not breathing hard, you are not working out hard enough!
When performing your aerobics workout, you should periodically monitor your pulse rate to determine if you are within your THR @ OTL so that you can make the necessary adjustments by increasing or decreasing the intensity of your activity.
You can check your pulse rate by dividing your THR by 6 to calculate your 10second count; this way, you do not have to stop our workout if you were to take a full 60-second count.
Maximize the Effects of your Aerobics Workout
Doing your aerobics workout at any time of the day is perfectly alright, what is important is that you do them. However, majority of fitness experts and athletes believe that the best time to do aerobics training is in the early morning. They claim that fasted aerobic burns more body fat due to the following reasons:
When you wake up the body’s glycogen stores are depleted; the body burns fat when glycogen supply is low.
Food intake causes insulin release which in turns interferes with the mobilization of body fat. The body’s insulin levels are low in the morning, so more body fat is burned during early morning aerobics.
There is less glucose in the bloodstream when you wake up therefore you burn more fat.
Eating before working out means you have to burn off first what you just ate before you can tap into stored body fat and your body has to contend with elevated insulin levels after a meal.
Doing your workout in the morning elevates the body’s metabolism rate for the rest of the day, even after the workout is over.
Morning aerobics energizes, wakes you up and helps regulate your appetite for the rest of the day.
It’s easier to wake up earlier to make time for your workout rather than sleeping later after a hard day at the office.
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