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Fasted Morning Cardio
Timing is everything when you’re trying to gain muscle and lose weight. Studies have shown that doing fasted cardio in the morning is an optimal time to burn fat when insulin levels are at a low baseline level during the early hours. Every time you eat a meal your body enters a fed state where insulin levels rise in order to allow nutrients to be delivered to your cells. After your insulin does its job, it lowers back to baseline level, what’s known as a fasted state.
Now, when cardio is applied to a fasted state it increases lipolysis (breaking down fat cells for energy) and fat oxidation (burning the fat cells) compared to when your insulin levels are elevated. This combined with the aforementioned low and high intensity cardio will ensure you get the best bang for your buck in your workout.
The fitness industry is inundated with contradictory information about how to lose fat. It's no surprise that so many eager cardio enthusiasts are over exerting themselves and wondering why they aren't achieving the look they desire. Between coworkers telling you that carbs are a plague and fitness 'experts' recommending fad diets or an unhealthy reduction of caloric-intake, you can see how some folks can feel overwhelmed when it comes to approaching exercise.
Well, they're not alone.
Low Impact Steady State Cardio (LISS)
HITT is a bit more intense, for those who prefer something a less strenuous try LISS or ‘Low Impact Steady State’ cardio. The difference is stretching your workout longer but with low exertion, often this is done on an incline with a treadmill or a bike. The rule of thumb is if you can hold a conversation while exercising you're doing it right.
While the benefits of interval training are more effective, LISS will improve your endurance and prep you for everyday life such as cycling, hiking, walking the dog along with anything else requiring moderate activity. The body still metabolizes fat but it requires oxygen, LISS allows the body to have more oxygen at its disposal rather than focusing on carbohydrates for energy.
Feb 9, 2016 by Cale Boudreau
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High Intensity Interval Training Cardio (HIIT)
HIIT better known as ‘High Intensity Interval Training’ is a concept that pairs short bursts of high intensity movements followed by a moderate intensity recovery phase. This method has gained a lot of praise over the last few years for its ability to provide the same results but in a faster time frame. All you need is 15 minutes of intervals three times a week, to burn the same amount of calories than an hour session on the treadmill, here's how it works:
Run on a treadmill for 1 minute as fast as you can.
Follow up with a brisk walk for an additional 2 minutes.
Rinse and repeat these 3-minute steps for 15 minutes.
The benefits include improvements to your internal repair cycle, increasing metabolism and targeting fat over muscle. The best part is, you can do it with little to no equipment — try HIIT with skipping ropes, swimming or even just incorporated into a weekly jogging routine.
One issue is terminology, people often confuse losing fat with losing weight but muscle has weight and that's something you definitely want to hang on to. The good news is, you don't have to hit the track 5 days a week and live off bland salads in order to propel your fitness goals. The following are a few tips to make your cardio work for you, not against.
All of this hard work will be rendered useless if your body doesn’t have adequate sleep. Sleeping less than 7 hours a night can severely reduce the benefits of your routine. When the body is lacking rest, insulin levels fluctuate and cause more fat to be stored than necessary.
That’s not all.
When your mind is sleep deprived the central lobe suffers which is your complex decision making section. In other words, it weakens your ability to say no to that third helping of food. The worst part is, when you miss out on sleep your body releases the stress hormone cortisol which adversely affects production of growth hormone.
Think about it, by not sleeping you wreak havoc in your system by throwing off insulin levels, increasing cortisol and top it off with poor dietary choices. It’s tough with our busy work lives and family to get proper rest but it’s one of the most important functions of the body — don’t neglect it.
Take these tips and try them out for yourself. Fitness is not about reaching a destination but instead always moving forward with no end in sight, it’s about learning what works and what doesn’t. The body is the most complex machine in the world, but you have your whole life to fine tune it.