Cardio and fat loss (m)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Cardio and fat loss (m)
Fri, 06-20-2003 - 1:15pm
Hey all! I really need this cleared up without getting into technical terms I cannot understand. There is so much debate about which is better at burning fat - working at a lower intensity for a longer time, or doing interval training, or just going full out.

The funny thing is, the last time I did lower intensity training, I've lost the weight. When I do the interval training or full out training, I don't have any results except for dreading the next time I have to do it.

I just want a cardio plan I can stick to, and that will give me results. I do cardio about 4-5 times a week.

Thanks so much for any advice!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 06-20-2003 - 1:56pm
My personal trainer has me doing a moderate twice a week, lower once and more intense twice. Her experience has been that each person will react to all three differently at different points in their life and to be most effective they should strive to hit all three, "just to be certain". I'd shoot for doing all three if you can. Or doing a lower intensity for 20 minutes into a higher then ease back down to moderate at each session.

Don't forget that you need to do somne form of resistance/weight training in addition to cardio if you want results.

Good luck.



Co-author of:  MONSTER'S INK HORROR ANTHOLOGY By Cyber-Pulp Press

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Fri, 06-20-2003 - 2:44pm
i agree that you need to do lower and higher intensity work and also strength train. it is a myth that you burn more fat doing lower intensity cardio. the fact is that you burn a higher percentage of calories from fat when doing lower intensity work but a smaller amount of calories overall. for instance at a low intensity you may burn 50 calories from fat and 25 from carbs and at a higher intensity you may burn 50 calories from stored fat and 50 from carbs (i'm just making up the numbers to demonstrate what i mean.)

so low intensity doesn't help you directly to lose more fat than high intensity, because the way to lose a pound of fat is to overall take in 3500 less calories than you burn off and it doesn't matter how you burn it off. it does help *indirectly* because there is only so much high intensity exercise that our bodies can handle in a week and there's only so much we will force ourselves to do psychologically. so that's why it's good to do both. plus it's good fitnesswise, as kiervin said, to train our bodies to do both kinds of exercise. plus strength training, of course. i hope that makes more sense to you.

Edited 6/20/2003 9:08:35 PM ET by jenindc

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Fri, 06-20-2003 - 4:44pm
I think kiervin and jen covered it all. It's good to do different things mentally, too, so you don't get bored.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2003
Sat, 06-21-2003 - 1:38pm
Hi I am new to this board but I wanted to comment on this subject. I read a lot about interval training last weekend so Monday when I hit the gym I decided to give it a try. I have been doing 20 minutes on the bike to get into fat burning mode and then 30 minutes on the stairmaster at a moderate to high rate. Lengthy? Yes but it has been very beneficial and now since my metabolism is in fat burning mode after doing this 3 to 4 days a week for about 6 weeks now the pounds and the inches are just melting off by the day. So I got to say when I did the interval thing I did not sweat nearly as much as I do when I do my regular workout. I tend to measure my workout by how much I sweat because that tells me how hard I worked. Normally I am not a sweater unless I am working hard at cardio. Not that I don't think interval training works for others but you will have to determine for yourself what works best for you. I don't believe there are any clear cut rules to fitness and weight loss except for the basic eat less and exercise more. The rest of the "rules" vary with the individual.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Sat, 06-21-2003 - 2:32pm
Welcome to the board. I do a lot of cardio, too. It's a great way to burn calories which is probably how you're losing so many inches (way to go!). It sounds like being in your "fat burning mode" is burning more calories than you take in and losing fat (a good thing!). You sound like you're in the higher end of your target heartrate when you're on the stairmaster if you're working moderat to high so you are working optimally. You're probably burning about 2000 calories per week!

The advantage of adding intervals is that your body gets used to doing the same thing, after a few months, will be more efficient at the workout, and stop improving. If you're happy with it, it's fine. The majority of the people I see at the gym are here. They get on the same machines, same workout, day in and day out. In order to get into better shape, you'll need to change/tweak what you do. To do intervals and get a great workout, you go above your target heartrate, high enough so you can just sustain it for a minute or two and than HAVE to take it low for a couple of minutes for recovery. For me, when I do a longer cardio on the Stairmaster, I do level 9. When I'm doing an interval, I get near the top for a minute or two and then come down to about 5 or 6. Intervals are the most efficient way to train cardiovascularly which is why so many athletes do it. There is a built in program on the stairmaster for it, too.

I think a good workout changes from time to time or with each workout. It's good to mix up, long cardio sessions where you work near the bottom of your target heart rate zone, shorter ones where you work at the upper end and intervals.