Summer’s Coming: how to burn more fat, traditional cardio or higher intensity exercise?

Summers Coming. Burn More Fat: Steady State Cardio or Higher Intensity Training?

With the sun shining and summer on the way we are thinking about how to best get in shape for when our clothes cover less of our flesh!


We’ll head to the gym and make a few changes to our diet, some smart ones among us may even seek out a local Personal Trainer for the expert help and drive to get the summer body reveal under way.


A traditional approach to fat loss and fitness has always been to run, be it on a treadmill or out in the fresh air for about an hour or so to burn a few extra calories.


Is it the only way, or even the best way to burn more fat?


No and no, for most of us. Yes, running does burn through some calories but the amount of extra calories we need to burn cannot be burned in just one hour of running a few times per week…we are far too good at conserving energy and consuming it for that!


Jogging has other benefits outside of fat loss

Jogging has other benefits outside of fat loss


Add to that the very few of us actually end up running because although jogging may well feel tough a) it is not running and b) it really doesn’t rank as hard work for the muscles involved for anyone other than a very unfit rank beginner and even then it will only be tough for a few weeks before adaptation occurs and it is too easy on the muscles.


“I don’t want to imply that it doesn’t feel hard: long slow jogging can feel hard but feelings can be misleading when it comes to exercise.”



What happens during and what happens after exercise are not the same.


If we look at how much fuel or how many calories are burned during exercise then yes, traditional slow pace cardiovascular exercise does burn more calories AND more of those calories come from fat. So on the surface, steady state cardio wins.


But we don’t want the surface, we are deep thinking souls (or so I tell myself anyway), we want to see beneath the shimmering waters of easy conclusions.


Higher intensity exercise can be thought of as exercises such as sprints, weight training, martial arts, contact sports and the like:


movements that require a high power output and relatively high force production.

A sprinter like Usain Bolt who can sprint at a maximum speed of 26mph or so is not working at high intensity if he jogs at 8mph.

An everyday Joe who can achieve a top speed of 13mph will be working at a much higher relative intensity at an 8mph jog. Relativity not absolutes.


During higher intensity exercise such as sprinting or weight training we use glycogen rather than lipids (fats) as our primary fuel source (although all energy systems are always in use just some activities favour a bigger ratio of one fuel other another for immediate use) for the most part and we are very efficient and sparing with its use.








BUT when we work in a high intensity fashion we are working an-aerobically and must use the internal supply of energy within each working muscle. When we do this we create many waste products and create an energy debt that must be repaid at some point in the near future.


It is this debt that we create when working out with high intensity exercise that causes a phenomena know as E.P.O.C.  Excessive Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption.


Basically, we have to continue working on a metabolic level to clear out waste products and re-fill the used up energy stores of the muscles we just used. This can continue for 24 hours!




So when we look at the bigger picture of which type of exercise burns more calories we see that in the short term, yes steady state cardio may burn more….but after we stop steady state traditional cardio we also stop burning extra calories. The higher intensity workout will see us continuing to burn extra calories at an increased rate long after we cease the workout….that’s magic if you ask me!


Steady state cardio has its place as it is less taxing and can aid in recovery or be a good place for beginners to start their journey but for fat loss and body shape….I’d make most of my cardio short and intense.


Are you getting ready for the summer and need some help to burn more fat and reveal the sexy you beneath?


Make contact today and we’ll get your Personal Training journey started NOW!