For years now there have been numerous debates about what may be the best cardio to burn fat without losing muscle. Many are behind the theory that steady state cardio puts your body in a “fat burning zone”, making it more beneficial when trying to achieve visible six pack abs. Others argue that the main focus when burning fat should simply be to burn more calories than you consume. The first theory argues that high intensity cardio will cause muscle wastage. Theory two simply suggests that any method of cardio works, some just happen to work faster and have a few added benefits. Based on many of my clients’ results as well as myself, I must agree with the second suggestion.
In my opinion, high intensity interval training and circuit training routines are the best way to burn fat. I personally would rather push my body to the limit with 15-20 minutes of high intensity body weight cardio, than sit on a treadmill for an hour and burn the same or less calories. Not to mention, the high intensity training will help you build muscle as well as help you produce more of the number one muscle building hormone, testosterone. Another great benefit of burning fat with HIIT or circuit training is, it can be done from practically anywhere and requires absolutely no exercise equipment. Here are a list of pros and cons I have put together in order for you to make a better more well informed decision on whether or not this is the best cardio to burn fat.
Pros of HIIT and Circuit Training
– Increase stamina and endurance
– Double the progress in half the time
– Reduce the risk of heart disease
– Turn your body into a fat burning furnace (This approach will allow your body to burn fat for 24-48 hours following your routine.)
– Increase testosterone
– Increase HGH
– Build muscle while burning fat…..and more
Cons of HIIT and Circuit Training
– Must be somewhat fit before you can perform this approach
– It is too intense to be performed immediately following your weight lifting session
Looking at the pros and cons of high intensity interval training, it is easy to see why I suggest that this is the best cardio to burn fat without losing muscle. Whether you are on a tight schedule and don’t always have to time to make it to the gym or are just simply looking to increase muscle mass while burning fat without spending hours on some boring machine, bodyweight cardio is the way to go.
Does Traditional Cardio Burn Fat?
I would be lying if I told you “No”. Any physical activity that burns calories can burn fat, however, just like I mentioned before, some approaches just have a few added benefits. If you are not advanced enough to perform high intensity training then traditional cardio may be your only choice. If so, I suggest slowly increasing the intensity of your cardio session by simply increasing the speed or the incline (if using a treadmill).