It is important for me to stress the fact that I am a huge advocate of weight training vs. aerobic, but both work hand in hand when trying to lose weight. One thing to recognize about aerobic training is that when you add it to a strict diet of severe calorie reduction, cardiovascular conditioning will help you lose more bodyweight, but will do nothing to help you preserve your lean muscle mass. Therefore, it is the same as not exercising at all because you will lose muscle mass and ruin your metabolic rate.
Yet, when you add weight training exercises to a diet in caloric reduction the body holds onto 80% of muscle mass. Training with weights saves muscles which keep the metabolic rate elevated and creates an environment for a greater percentage of body fat to be lost instead of muscle. In this case, the body will hold onto muscle tissue making this way of dieting and exercising far more superior than the others.
If you weight train and do cardiovascular conditioning you will increase your metabolic rate and burn more calories and fat. The outcome of fat loss is remarkable in this case. Thus, the main form or exercise should be weight training with aerobics as a second choice. For most, a combination of weights and aerobics may be helpful in accelerating fat loss. After you reach your goal weight, a very lean body can be achieved with no cardiovascular training as long as you keep up your weight training and diet plan.
WHEN TO DO CARDIOVASCULAR TRAINING
The best time to engage in cardiovascular training is in the morning on an empty stomach. Because of the levels of hormones in your body at this time of the day, glucose levels are flat and insulin is absent so fatty acids become a line of fuel. Another hormone that will be released at this time is epinephrine which is a part of the “flight or fight” fuel. The higher the intensity of your cardiovascular training, the greater the release of epinephrine, and through a multi-step process it will release catecholamines which will attach themselves to fat cells to help break down body fat.
If you can not perform cardiovascular conditioning in the morning, try to avoid carbohydrates completely after an aerobic workout. If you skip the carbohydrates at this time, it will favor the release of glucagon/catecholamines in order to keep your insulin levels low and allowing stored body fat to become the immediate source of fuel.
THE RIGHT KIND OF AEROBIC TRAINING
There is always confusion as to what kind of aerobic exercise is better. I always go by this rule: The higher the heart rate, the higher the intensity – the lower the heart rate, the lower the intensity. Thus, working at a higher intensity will help you burn more calories than working at a lower intensity.
The intensity of cardiovascular conditioning is an important factor in determining how lean you can become. Working at a higher intensity can burn more total calories than lower intensity aerobics. Although lower intensity may burn a greater percentage of fat, the higher intensity is more effective because it burns more total calories and more fat calories.
The best way to keep a cardiovascular workout high for long periods of time (30-45 minutes) is to do interval training. Interval training is training that requires the individual to work as hard as possible for three minutes followed by two minutes of an easier cycle. The goal is to elevate the heart rate in order to get a far better caloric burn. When you bring your heart rate back down by two minutes of steady work you are setting your heart rate down in order to spike back up again, which will elevate the heart rate and continue the caloric burn.