Cardio For Fat Loss.
This tip can be hugely beneficial for those of you who predominantly undergo cardio vascular based exercise for fat loss. Please note this does not apply for anyone concerned with achieving optimum performance levels.
The key here is to undertake your cardio in a ‘low glycogen environment.’ In other words, when your muscles contain low levels of carbohydrates.
Why? The answer is very simple, your body naturally prefers to source it’s energy from carbohydrates as they breakdown into to glucose to be used for energy much faster and easier than either protein or fat. Crudely put in ‘normal’ circumstances your body can source calories for energy in the following ratio:
Protein – 10%
Carbohydrate – 80%
Fat – 10%
However if the carbohydrate levels are low/depleted your body will be forced to adapt and utilise more calories/energy from protein and of course fat! (In essence this is the theory behind high protein, low carbohydrate diets) and the good news is we can also take this approach to maximise fat loss from our cardio.
Essentially we are all in a low glycogen environment at 2 ‘critical’ times of the day:
1) First thing in the morning (providing we’ve not gone to bed on a ‘carb heavy’ meal). To further boost your metabolic rate, it’s imperative that you re-hydrate first and drink at least 500ml of water beforehand.
2) Immediately post-workout, when the 15-25 working sets of resistance training have taken their toll on our energy/carb levels within the working muscles.
As I’ve stated right from the beginning, the predominant aim here is to achieve fat loss and your intensity levels should reflect this. Whatever form of activity you’re doing you should still be able to ‘hold down’ a conversation with your training partner. Numerous studies have shown a significantly greater proportion of calories are sourced from fat as opposed to protein and carbohydrates if we work at a milder intensity for longer periods.
Having said that, 30 second sprint intervals (10 sets) are a fantastic way of raising metabolic rate and increasing fat loss but are hardly suited to ‘low carb’ periods. This type of cardio would work wonders on an evening time; which would help further create an ideal low carbohydrate/fat burning environment first thing in the morning.
Finally you should exercise patience and carefully look to build up your regime, from 10 minutes right up to 60 minutes – don’t ask too much of yourself early on. The nature of activity can range from a nice brisk walk/bike ride first thing in the morning to a number of different ‘cardio stations’ in your gym post workout. Mix and match so you don’t become bored and you’ll enjoy a significant boost to your fat loss.