All the fitness enthusiasts go through a slog fest in order to burn those extra calories and do various physical activities like jogging, sprinting, brisk walking, running on treadmills, lifting weights, and every other possible workout to keep them active throughout the day. Though the goal is same, the major dilemma faced by most of them (despite trying all these methods) is what is the activity that is best suited for me!
This may come as a surprise to many that after you exercise, your body still keeps on burning calories which is called EPOC (Energy Post Oxygen Consumption) effect. Every Exercise form has a different EPOC level, and that brings in the bigger difference in our choice of workout and the effect it has. With this article, we will understand the basic of each type of exercise activity, which will help prioritize our workouts accordingly.
The basic science is clear – when you burn calories more than you consume in a day you lose those additional kilos.
But when it comes to individual exercise forms, let us discuss the three contenders in the Fat Loss Wars one by one:
Cardio, also known as Low Intensity Steady State training, is anything you do with low intensity for some period of time, be it a 5 km jog, an hour on a treadmill, sprinting for 5 minutes, working on the ellipticals, or cycling – basically anything that elevates your heart rate. When your goal is just fat loss, it is the most basic thing which you can do for burning calories.
- You just need a pair of shoes and your legs. Do not worry if you don’t have those high-end machines, just find a park and start. By the way, you can also go cross country.
- One who is new to exercising can start simply with running on the treadmill, using ellipticals, or cycling.
- It definitely elevates the heart rate, but it doesn’t train your heart to deal with such extreme conditions such as stress, as it does not deal with the rapid changes.
- Secondly, it has very less EPOC, which means you burn when you run, but you don’t burn afterward.
- It does not help your body in shaping up or toning up, which is what most of us usually want to do.
- And lastly, running on the treadmill for hours might feel boring after some time – resulting in demotivation.
- HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT)
HIIT is an advanced form of cardio where you jog for two minutes and immediately start sprinting for forty secs. So, you jog, sprint, jog, sprint, or climb the stairs up, down, up, down.
Ah! What the hell are we doing here, you might ask!
What we are doing in HIIT is that we are constantly forcing the heart to adapt to different conditions so it starts getting used to stepping out of the comfort zone. This will kick your metabolism to higher gears for hours… so that when you’re later watching Games of Thrones while sitting on your couch, you’re still burning calories. As simple as that!
And as to how it compares to cardio, one research says you burn three times more fat with HIIT as compared to Cardio!
- EPOC: You burn calories for hours even after you are done with your workout.
- Again, just a pair of shoes and your legs are sufficient for HIIT. However, if you are looking for some advanced machinery like treadmills, ellipticals or cycling, you need to join a gym or purchase one for your home.
- One session could be for a maximum for 20-30 minutes, post which your body will hate you as you will get too exhausted to continue. With HIIT, the recovery time is too much as compared to other forms of exercises.
- WEIGHT TRAINING
How would it sound to you if someone said “Lifting weights for the same time that you do Cardio or HIIT, will not only burn extra calories, but also will build muscles with much more higher EPOC.” You just went “Wow!!!” right?
Yes it is truly a sweet deal. By lifting weights you burn fat as well build muscles at the same time with approximately 72 hours of EPOC rate – which means you will be burning calories for three additional days. But wait, it works only when you do a minimum of three to countless maximum sessions for weight training.
Other benefits of weight lifting are long term metabolism increase, total body shaping or toning up, and increase in the overall hormonal environment.
- Maximum benefits of EPOC for up to 72 hours, as compared to the other two contenders.
- Burn fat and gain muscles simultaneously.
- Almost none, if the form is correct. Understand your body and lift accordingly.
So now since we have discussed all three contenders, It might have given you a brief idea what should be your form of exercise. Everything works at its pace, but the most important thing which impacts any form of workout you choose, is the right approach to nutrition and the diet you intake.
If you don’t love weights much, you can also combine these sessions according to your schedule. For example, If you workout five days a week, following three days of weight lifting sessions with every alternate day of HIIT is something you could think of. To start with Cardio is good, but if you are already been hitting the gym since a month or two, you should move to HIIT and Weight lifting instead of sticking to cardio alone.
To summarize therefore, here’s when to do what:
Do Cardio, when you are new to exercising and don’t know where to start, and have loads of time.
Do HIIT, when you want to burn those extra kilos but you hate the bars and dumbbells every day. You can just watch two to three episodes of Game of Thrones while lazing on the sofa, and still burn those calories.
Lift Weights, when you want to burn that extra fat along with gaining some good muscles. And also watch almost all of the seasons of Game of Thrones in the single super-stretch marathon session, while vegetating on your couch and burning calories at the same time!
Happy Working Out!
Article Credits – Shashank Lalwani