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Fitness Column

Busting the cardio myth

By: Deb Skelton, special to Granite Bay View
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Debra Skelton is a certified fitness consultant, a licenses nurse and owner of Motivative Health and Fitness. She can be reached at

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There are certain fitness myths that just won't die.

These ideas are passed from one unsuspecting person to the next – a little tidbit of misinformation that does more harm than good.

I've heard them all.

There's the myth about ab crunches melting off belly fat. (Sorry folks, spot reduction doesn't exist. You've got to burn the fat from your body as a whole.)

Then there's the one that says the faster you do an exercise the better, even at the expense of form. (Ouch. This philosophy has caused many an injury. Never sacrifice form for speed.)

I've even heard one that says recovery days are not necessary. (Rest days are actually of vital importance to your recovery and weight loss.)

But of all the fitness myths out there, the one that gets under my skin the most is the belief that fat loss comes as a result of long, slow cardio sessions. I've seen many people waste their time and effort on long, slow cardio sessions.

The truth is that intense, shorter workouts that incorporate resistance training with challenging bouts of cardio will burn fat quicker than a long, steady cardio session.

Who doesn't love to save time?

If you are still plodding away on the treadmill 60 minutes at a time, then you are spending more time to get half of results.

Allow me to introduce you to a little technique called HIIT.

High-Intensity Interval Training is an exercise strategy that improves performance with short training sessions. These sessions involve a warm up period; several short, maximum-intensity efforts that are separated by moderate recovery intervals; and a cool-down period.

The addition of explosions of speed into your comfortable pace will increase your power, muscle tone, speed, strength, endurance and, best of all, it allows you to burn more calories.

There you have it – all you need to know to take your workouts to the next level.

 

Bonus burn

After you exercise using HIIT, your body goes into a state of increased metabolic output. Simply put, this means that your body will continue to burn extra calories long after you have put down your last set and left the gym.

On the other hand, if you stuck with a long session of steady cardio, your calorie burning would stop quickly after you hopped off that treadmill. I don't know about you, but I like the concept of burning more calories after I'm done exercising. Talk about a bonus!

Say goodbye to steady cardio and embrace a whole new fitness philosophy centered around HIIT. Watch how quickly your body begins to transform.