Enter In: Long, slow cardio.
When I first started (actively) engaging in post-collegiate exercise workouts I was doing what every woman, man, boy and girl do when they have not been to the gym in FOREVER...I convince myself that I will ease myself back into a workout. Do a little cardio Monday and Wednesday and Friday for a week and then when I get comfortable with the gym and the people, maybe I will take on the fitness floor...lift some weights..and pretend no one is looking at how bad my form is.
I was the queen of long, slow cardio and cannot say I was doing any better or less in the battle royal with the scale. So what was I doing wrong?
I spoke with Judy Gettner, a Tier 3 trainer at Equinox Franklin Street, when we were in our session today to get the scoop. Judy confirmed it is indeed a FACT: Long, slow cardio burns fat.
So why if so many of us, gym rats and novices alike, are banging away on treadmills, elliptical, or bikes do not see any real, tangible results? That we are being told intervals are the best way to burn fat? WHAT'S THE DEAL?!
1.) Check your nutrition (this is a blog for another day). Exercise is 20% and Nutrition is 80%. If you are eating like a IFBB fitness pro during the week and blowing calories on booze and fried food on the weekends **NEWSFLASH** you are not going to to lose weight (that was really a note to myself) and will probably maintain the size of your fat cells. Gotta check your portions and what type of ingredients/ sauces/ etc you are putting on your food too.
2.) Long, slow cardio only activates fat burning when your heart rate is in the Fat Burning Zone. Typically it is tough to monitor that. Whether that has to do with inaccurate equipment or just your own miscalculations. Read this article here: http://beta.active.com/articles/calculate-your-training-heart-rate-zones or I was recommended this handy little device (if you are willing to make the investment): FT60
If you keep your heart rate in that zone for at least 30 minutes, and you do this 2-3 times per week combined with interval workouts, classes, and strength training, you will definitely see results. If you decide this is the best thing since sliced bread and butter, GREAT! But do not do this every day if you are trying to tone up or increase muscle or lose weight. Your body will plateau and you will end up on Dead End Street.
*Disclaimer - I work with a lot of educated fitness professionals that provide me this enlightening information on a daily basis. I am not a personal trainer and by no means should my advice be relied on as end all. Each persons body is different. Consult a health professional before taking extreme fitness matters into your own hands!