Traditional approaches to cardio for fat loss have focused solely on exercising in the “Fat-Burning Zone” (FBZ), also know as the aerobic zone, by performing slow, steady-state exercise of low to moderate-intensity for long-durations. However, aerobic exercise alone has not only FAILED at producing significant fat loss, it can actually cause you to store fat (think trouble spot areas) and lose muscle. Not too sexy!
So what's the alternative? Exercising in the “Carb-Burning Zone” (CBZ), also know as the anaerobic zone, to make your workouts dramatically shorter AND more effective. This is accomplished via interval training where you alternate between bouts of all-out high-intensity sprints and low to moderate-intensity active recovery periods. The sprint portion of the interval rapid depletes your body's glycogen (the stored form of carbohydrate, or sugar, in muscle) tank so that your body starts using fat (both dietary and stored body fat) as it's primary energy source at all other times of the day. More specifically, sprints lasting 30-60 seconds in length are scientifically proven to burn up the most sugar in your body so that you can quickly tap into your unwanted fat stores.
For maximal fat loss we highly recommend intervals that consist of a sprint followed by an active recovery period of greater or equal length depending on your current level of conditioning, with the exception of some elite level interval protocols where the recovery period is actually less than the sprint period (e.g. Tabatas). For example, if using a 30 second sprint, here's how you would go about selecting the appropriate active recovery period for your current fitness level to best customize your interval training workouts:
Level I- Beginner: Use a 1:3 work to rest ratio (30 s on, 90 s off)
Level II- Intermediate: Use a 1:2 work to rest ratio (30 s on, 60 s off)
Level III- Advanced: Use a 1:1 work to rest ratio (30 s on, 30 s off)
In addition, this form of training not only burns a ton of calories during the actual workout but has a serious AFTERBURN effect which will have you burning more calories for hours and hours after your workout is completed (some studies suggest anywhere from 12-24+ hours). This phenomenon is know as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) and describes the energy expended by your body in the recovery of your metabolic rate back to pre-exercise levels. The best part about EPOC is that you control it, meaning that the harder you work during training the more calories your body will burn BOTH during your workout AND for up to 24-48 hours after completing your workout!
So what are you waiting for?
Start sprinting to look better naked TODAY!