Any fitness fanatic would love to maximize lean muscle mass and reduce body fat. Who wouldn’t? We all know that losing body fat not only requires resistance training with a good diet but it also requires cardiovascular activity. The hard part, however, is maximizing lean muscle mass while burning the fat.
So what type of cardio exercise is the most beneficial for people looking to preserve muscle mass? The typical answer would be to keep the heart rate in the “fat burning zone” and keep a steady pace. This is usually done on a treadmill at an incline. Recently studies have shown that there are new methods to shredding fat off your body without the usual 30 minute incline walking. It requires high intensity training, spiking your heart rate, and then slowing it down to a rested state. This type of cardio would include cycling or sprinting.
Research showed that because of the multi joint actions the hips make in these two exercises it keeps the body in an anabolic state. They found that short, high intensity bouts of cardio like repeated sprints actually had no negative effect on strength and hypertrophy development. Scientists believe it is due to the increased hip flexion. Because high intensity sprinting or cycling causes your muscles to make high velocity contractions, they activate the fast twitch muscle fibers compared to endurance training which will most likely not effect these muscle fibers. People that performed interval sprints burned twice as much body fat as people that did walking at a 3.0 pace. So if you are looking to have that body you’ve always wanted, put in the extra work and it will pay off.
- Nick Cupp, CPT
Nick Cupp is a Certified Personal Trainer at iN8 Fitness (weight loss programs, personal training, rehabilitation) in Lake Mary, FL. He attended the University of Central Florida where he majored in Sports and Exercise Science. He is certified as a trainer through AFAA. Call our Lake Mary office today at 407-302-5161 to see how we can help you meet your weight loss and wellness goals!