“The fat burning zone” is just so NOT.
For the longest time cardio was promoted as the best form of exercise for general fitness, especially heart health. The treadmill, bike, stairmaster, and elliptical were (and often still are) the most in-demand equipment in the gym, and we still see people (unfortunately mostly women) walking or riding a stationary bike with a magazine propped on the console.
It’s true that about 50% of calories come from fat during low intensity training, and 35% of calories come from fat during high intensity workouts. BUT while you might burn a higher percentage of calories from fat at lower intensities, you also burn far fewer calories overall. So you burn more fat by working at a higher intensity because you burn more calories in less time, and WAY more in the same time!
If you love walking or running, slow bike rides, or zen rowing sessions, please don’t stop.
But you need to incorporate high Intensity interval training (HIIT) – a combination of resistance (weight) and velocity (speed) to generate power (something we lose as we age unless we train it), to improve performance, and enable us to go the distance.
How about strength training?
The #1 cause of death among women is heart disease.
Muscle affects metabolism and helps you burn more calories, and fat, even at rest. Challenge your body with strength training and your musculoskeletal system will get stronger with progressive overload.
Strength training for women, especially for women over 50, through menopause and beyond is key for daily function, bone health, even brain, and heart health.
Now, new research published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows that even if you do no actual “cardio,” pumping iron will strengthen your most important muscle—your heart—and protect you from having a cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke, or even dying from it.
Add only 1-2 strength training sessions each week, and a couple of high intensity sessions to help you reach your goals for health, performance, or weight loss.
What if you have only 20 minutes, 2 or three times a week?
Combine strength and cardio in one workout! Rowing and kettlebells are my favorites.
20 minutes, 2-3 times per week is the perfect amount of time for high intensity + strength training.
Here’s a kettlebell/rowing circuit that’s as high intensity as you make it, while at the same time challenging almost every muscle in your body.
Pick weight(s) that are appropriate for you. Hip hinge, push, pull, and rotation. Perform each move for 1 minute, and then repeat that circuit 2 times, resting for 2 minutes in between each set. Click for demo clips!
- Single arm swing x 30 seconds each side
- Single arm push press x 30 seconds each side
- Goblet squat x 60 seconds
- Single arm bent over row x 30 seconds each side
- Seated twist x 60 seconds
- Row x 60 seconds
Meet me to get strong.