Author: Scott Smith
When engaging in cardiovascular/aerobic exercise, for most individuals (endurance athletes aside) it is in your best interest to workout at a higher intensity level for 30 minutes vs. a lower intensity level for 60 minutes (think sprint intervals or hill profiles vs. slow steady state).
But what about the “fat burning” zone Scott?
True. The lower the intensity level the higher the % of fuel comes from fat, but this is misleading. Your body fat levels will ultimately be determined by your total caloric balance. If you take in more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you take in less calories than you burn, you will lose weight. Research has shown that higher intensity exercise (even over shorter time intervals) will increase your metabolism (and thus calorie burn) for longer periods after your workout is complete. That means if you can run for 20 minutes instead of walk for 40, you will still be burning calories at a faster clip for hours and hours after your workout.
Not to mention, I just can’t stand doing cardio for longer than 30 minutes and I’m always looking to save time. Doing high intensity cardio three times a week for even just 20 minutes will have massive positive effects on your heart and lung health as well body composition.
So this week see how hard you can push yourself for 20 minutes. 85% of your max heart rate would be a great goal. In other words, if you could have a conversation with someone during your cardio workout, you aren’t working hard enough.