Why Cardio Workouts Burn Fat
You might have heard Mikey at the gym moan before he steps on that treadmill as he reminds you, “Cardio workouts burn fat. You gotta do cardio if you want to lean out.”
But why? Why doesn’t lifting weights or circuit training burn fat like running does?
Well, for starters there are different ‘systems’ the body uses to perform functions depending on the type of exercise you’re doing.
Those systems rely on different fuel sources to keep you going.
Cardio Workouts Burn Fat as Fuel
During exercise your body has to tap into the most readily available form of fuel.
Chemical reactions take place so you can keep going. But the source of fuel varies depending on your intensity and oxygen use.
Cardiovascular exercises employ the aerobic system. After about 10 minutes of continuous activity with your heart rate above 60-75% of your maximum heart rate. (Find your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220.)
When your body opens the gates of the aerobic system, oxygen, carbs and fats are combined to make ATP (energy).
Because the body has greater fat stores and they more easily react with oxygen, fat is your basic go-to when you do cardio workouts.
Conversely, anaerobic exercises include short powerful bursts of movements that use fast-twitch muscles. With anaerobic exercise, oxygen is not constantly needed and glycogen is used as the main source of fuel.
What Type of Cardio Workouts Burn Fat?
Intensity and duration matter. It’s the Goldilocks story of exercise: not too slow, not too fast, JUSSST RIGHT.
Moderate intensity that is not too short (less than 15 minutes) and not too long (longer than an hour can increase cortisol levels.)
So if you are at moderate intensity for around 45 minutes—your fat is on fire.
Additionally—which muscles you engage can burn more calories from fat.
We did a lil write up on a list of the best cardio exercises for losing weight.
To summarize the top 5:
- Jumping rope
- Running (at 8mph)
- Stair treadmill
- Running (5mph)
See the rest here.
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