Old adages are dropping like flies in the world of health optimization.
The ketogenic diet has shown people it's not just calories in calories out. Now a new study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine has just put the last nail in the coffin of the old theory that to burn fat you need to exercise longer. Many people believe that you had to burn all your glycogen stores before you could get to the fat burning stage, and that usually takes 45-90 minutes. The new study suggests that by using high intensity interval training you can actually burn 28.5% more fat in significantly less time.
The study compared 77 different experiments of subjects competing either moderate intensity exercise at around 60% of your maximal heart rate with people doing spring training duration from one to five minutes maximal effort. So how can you put this into effect in your own workout?
I've told people for years that interval training, often called HIIT, will increase your maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 Max) but didn't realize the reduction in fat could be so dramatically different. In fact there is even a new stationary bike manufacturer that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to maximize your improvement potential. I'm a big believer in evidence based training and improvement, so I tried out this new bike in New York last year. It was not only very effective, but really fun too with the built in motivation of an English-accented woman giving motivational advice during the 15 minute workout.
So what can you do if you don't want to drop $3,000 on a Car.Ol bike? You can pick your favorite sport, or cardio machine and follow this protocol:
Warm-Up - 5 minutes. Start out at a very leisurely pace and each minute get 10% or so faster up until the point where you are at 60-70% of your maximum effort. Then do five sets of one minute sprints at your maximum effort. Pretend there is a nearly starving, rabid saber-tooth tiger looking at you as its next meal and you've got to get away as fast as you can. After you sprint go down to easy walking effort until your heart rate drops below 100 beats per minute, then sprint like hell away from Tony the Tiger again for a minute. Do this one minute sprint five times and that's it. Take 3-5 minutes to cool down and your done. Boom 20-25 minutes, barely breaking a sweat and you will have burned almost 30% more fat than an hour of time on the treadmill.
I know, you're thinking isn't science great!
Pro-tip to make it better: Do the workout first thing in the morning before you eat. Working out in a fasted state ramps up your fat burning even more.