Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Get fit: Fat burn or cardio setting??

I get asked all the time - If the "fat burn" and "cardio" setting on exercise machines both torch calories, which one is better?

My theory is as long as you are moving you are burning calories. But the harder you work, the higher the number of calories burned will be.

To explain it in real easy terms; the preset cardio programs on most stationary bikes, treadmills, and ellipticals shed calories by working with intervals - sandwiching challenging periods of training between easier ones. Fat burn sessions, on the other hand, typically keep you moving at a consistent pace and exertion level but for a longer period of time. That can be helpful if you're just starting an exercising routine or trying to improve endurance.

To get the biggest bang for your buck, I personally believe the CARDIO option is the best bet. The highs and lows of the intervals will get your heart rate up and keeps it there - even during the short stints. The bursts of speed and intensity strengthen your ticker and rev up your metabolism to torch the most calories.

And if you really want optimal calorie burn - adjust the incline or resistance. Challenge yourself. And don't forget to warm up and cool down after each workout. Drink plenty of water and replenish your body with healthy food choices. Just because you worked out, doesn't give you free rein to hit up the McDonald's drive-thru on the way home.

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