Does Slow and Steady Win the Race?

There is always a debate as to which style of cardio training is best for both weight loss and fitness improvement.

Here is a comparison of the two types of training.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise is performed at a relatively low intensity, predominantly relying on the aerobic energy-generating process. Aerobic exercise uses oxygen to meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism. The intensity is light-to-moderate intensity a are sufficiently and performed for extended periods of time, at a heart rate between 60 and 85% of maximum.

Anaerobic Exercise

Anaerobic exercise is characteristically high intensity fast paced activity, which can only be maintained for short bursts of time. Primary, anaerobic exercise or activity uses the stores of muscle glycogen and Adenosine Triphosphate ATP for fuel.

The word anaerobic means: relating to or requiring an absence of free oxygen.

Heavy load weight training, all out sprints, and High Intensity interval training are all examples of anaerobic activity.

Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise

For years the fat-burning zone has been a key phrase of trainers when advising a client on how to lose weight. A heart rate of 60-70% of maximum is the recommended level to use a higher percentage of calories from fat.

However, comparatively to high intensity anaerobic training, the total amount of calories consumed is actually less.

In a 45 minute training session the figures for calories used are:

This clearly illustrates that exercising at a higher rate = a higher amount of total calories used.

That and a conscientious effort to modify the daily calorie intake.

In summary: Less calories consumed + more calories burned = more fat lost.

When is Aerobic Exercise Beneficial?

But what about aerobic training, is that okay to do?

Of course, both low and high intensity training have benefits and are necessary for all fitness programs

High-intensity exercise is very stressful on the body and backing it up day after day will end in injuries and / or illness.

From the example above you are aware low intensity exercise still uses calories and is less taxing on the body.

Aim for 2-3 High Intensity Interval Training sessions per week and 2-3 Low Intensity training sessions per week in between. That may include stretching sessions or recovery sessions, it depends on your level of fitness, goals and training history.

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