Have you ever thought about if your long slow distance cardio (LSD) program is efficient at burning fat? It’s recommend that one should get at least 30 minutes of moderate to high-intensity exercise a day. However, figure competitors who want to shave off body fat to get lean for a contest strive to do much more.
On top of weight training and meal prep athletes are always trying to make the most of their cardio workout time. Therefore, I’m going to give you some tips and pointers on how you can make your cardio efficient in the least amount of time.
Long Slow Distance Cardio – (Steady State)
Long slow distance, also known as LSD cardio, is just as the name implies; continuous workouts at a low intensity for a long duration. Sounds pretty boring right? Well, it could be worth your wild.
Long slow distance cardio workouts target a variety of factors related to fitness such as increasing hemoglobin concentration and red blood cells, mitochondrial and muscle capillary volumes, as well as aerobic enzymes. Hemoglobin in red blood cells carries oxygen throughout your entire body. The more red blood cells and hemoglobin you have, the better your vessels’ oxygen-transporting ability. Pretty cool stuff. Right? Well, there’s more…
Oxygen’s final stop on its trip to your muscles is the divided system of capillaries. The capillaries are the small blood vessels that supply your muscles. The larger the network of capillaries, the more oxygen can get to your muscles. Once the oxygen gets inside your muscles it is used by the mitochondria. The mitochondria contains the enzymes connected in aerobic metabolism. All this means is that you are burning body fat, baby!
Your body burns fat aerobically. These cellular adaptations following an LSD workout increases your muscles’ ability to keep carbs and rely on fat as fuel. SWEET!
You can do LSD cardio workouts on any piece of equipment such as the bike, treadmill, the Arc trainer, elliptical, as well as running or swimming. The more muscles, and large muscles, you bring into play and the more weight-bearing exercises involved, the more calories you will burn.
Do LSD workouts at roughly 65-70% of your maximum heart rate for 30-60 minutes for the best effect. It can eat up a LOT of calories.
Tempo Change Workouts – (HIIT)
The tempo change workouts are carried out at an intensity equivalent to your lactate (anaerobic) threshold. This is the key physiological variable that sets the boundaries of the transition between exercise that generates energy aerobically and exercise that induces energy generated from both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism.
Although both fat and carbs are used for energy during exercise, these two fuels supply that energy on a sliding scale – as you increase your intensity up to your lactate threshold, the input from fat decreases while the input from carbs increases. When you workout at an intensity beyond your lactate threshold, you utilize carbs only.
Tempo workouts elevate your lactate threshold to a higher percentage of your maximum heart rate and maximum oxygen intake, which delay fatigue during aerobic workouts. Because tempo workouts are generated at the highest force you can maintain aerobically, such workouts are number one for fat burning. However the percentage of calories from fat is far less than LSD workouts when tempo workouts are maintained at or slightly lower than your lactate threshold.
Studies reveale that working out at or just below your lactate threshold intensity brings the highest rate of fat oxidation. Since you are working out aerobically, fatigue is minimal, allowing you to engage in other forms of exercise during the week.
Overall, the more intense the workout, the longer the post-workout metabolic elevation is. This allows you to continue to burn calories up to an hour after the workout.
How To Burn Fat And Build Muscle (What The IFBB Figure Pros Are Doing)
You may think that you need to change your HIIT to a long distance slow cardio format at this point. Wait! Don’t jump the gun just yet. What you need to do is log your stats and cardio, and track your progress (or lack of) for two weeks to find out what’s working for you and what isn’t working.
But More Importantly…
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Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT
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