Are Long Workouts The Key To Greater Fat Loss?

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There’s some new evidence that suggests that long workouts aren’t the answer to fat loss. In fact, this study showed you can not only get a great workout in in only 45 minutes, you can also continue to burn calories for hours after your workout. Good news for those of us who have a job.. However, there’s one catch?

What might that little catch be, you ask? You have to push yourself, and really work your butt off.  Read this little excerpt from Alwyn Cosgrove’s blog.

New Studies on the Afterburn Effect

These researchers had subjects undergo a bout a cyclone at approximately 73% of V02 Max (approximately 84% of max heart rate) for 45 minutes. The subjects burned an average of 520  calories in the 45 minute training session.

The following day their resting energy expenditure was increased an average of 190 calories  compared to normal.  Basically, the subjects burned an additional 37% more calories than the workout itself in the 14 hour post workout metabolic boost could burn up to 710 calories in total.

Sound pretty good, doesn’t it? A 45 minute workout and they burned 710 calories. Now that is a great way to lose weight. But, what exactly does this mean for your workout routine?

Well, what it means is that you need to understand why they got the results they did, and then utilize that to your advantage. So, if we investigate this a little further, we see that these subjects (by the way I hate the word subjects, maybe I should call them lab rats without the extra legs)…These subjects exercised at about 84% of their max heart rate. The is a fairly intense effort, and it probably means they were exercising just a bit under their anaerobic threshold.

Why is this threshold important for losing belly fat?

Simply put, when you cross over this threshold, you simply cannot maintain that effort for a long period of time. Think about sprinting, if you will. How long can you sprint at an all out effort. Not long. However, you can sprint, rest, sprint, and rest again. That’s only way you can really maintain a workout that crosses over the anaerobic threshold.

This is not to suggest that doing sprint intervals are bad for weight loss. On the contrary, they can be very good. I only use this to demonstrate that there is a level where high intensity exercise cannot be maintained for long durations. But, just below this level a person can workout longer, while still exercising hard. This is exactly what these subjects did.

The important point in all of this, is that if you want to benefit from the afterburn effect, your goal should not be to workout longer, it should be to workout harder. Most people don’t like to push themselves that hard. In fact, next time  you’re at the gym look at the people on the treadmills and ellipticals. Most likely those machines are filled with comfortable, happy joggers and walkers.

In order to make maximum fat loss gains, though, you have to push out of the comfort zone a bit into and into a higher level of intensity. So don’t measure your workout by the time spent in the gym, but rather the work accomplished while you are there. Adopting this frame of reference will ensure that you are maximizing your fat burning potential.

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