These days many experts recommend an all or nothing style of training to see results. Fitness professionals might recommend HIIT, cross fit, low intensity running, yoga or cycling. These are all great and have a place when you’re trying to get fit but when you only focus on one type of training you may be doing yourself a disservice.
I’ve been a personal trainer for about 10 years and most of my clients see the best results when the foundation of their program is aerobic exercise. They tend to stick to this program and see results over the long term but if they only do aerobic training they will see minimal results.
When I design a program for clients I recommend that they follow an 80/20 program. 80% of the workouts will be at a low intensity and 20% will be at a high intensity. The high intensity workouts will allow you to progress at a steady pace without being burnt out or suffering from an injury.
Here is some reason you should use aerobic exercise for weight loss.
Many people that go to the gym will go hard for 2-4 weeks and push themselves hard. Many of these people end up giving up because they realize they can’t maintain the moderate to high intensity exercise every day. If you do all out workouts every time you hit the gym you will end up burnt out. This is because your body needs time to recover between workouts. Switching to aerobic training between your hard days will help you build your fitness faster without causing you to feel burnt out from the high intensity workouts.
Keep your calories in check
Working out daily is a great way to keep you in proper energy balance but as stated before it’s important to keep your workouts polarized to avoid feeling burnt out from your workouts. Building a workout program around aerobic training will allow you to work out more often which will keep you in proper energy balance every day. Yes, doing high intensity workouts will burn more calories and will boost your metabolism but working out this way isn’t realistic.
Many fitness pros are recommending active recovery the day after a hard workout. Working out at a low intensity the day after a hard workout may help combat soreness and will keep you in the game mentally. The way this works is that the increased blood flow will help with the healing process after the hard work out. The increased blood flow will help carry out some of the junk remaining in the sore muscles.
Besides active recovery doing light training between hard sessions will help with recovery between heavy weight lifting sets in the gym. I’ve always been a big weight lifter but when I got into marathon training I noticed that it became hard to raise my heart rate during heavy lifting sessions. Most of my marathon training was done at an aerobic level. This allows me to focus on my lifting in the offseason without getting tired during my weight training workouts.
Helps with stress
Going for a light jog, swim or bike ride is a great way to clear negative thoughts from your mind. As we talked about before working out hard all the time will over stress the body causing you to feel burnt out. Building an aerobic foundation will help you to minimize stress while building fitness. Stress management is a key factor when it comes to weight loss and going hard all the time may impact how you sleep and how you eat.
You’ll stick with the program
The biggest issue with any weight loss program is that most people won’t stick with it. Building your program around aerobic exercise will leave you feeling good and not trashed from every workout. This will make you want to stick with the program because when something feels good we tend to keep doing it.
When you finish a fitness program you don’t want to feel like wow that was intense I am so happy my program is over. A better way to build your program is to have a couple of hard workouts a week paired with a bunch of aerobic training. This will allow you to slowly build up your fitness level that will lead to a lifetime of better health. Building your fitness slow and steady with cycles is key to any weight loss or fitness program and if you try to go out to fast you’ll run out of energy before reaching your goal.
Being injured is a major reason that people give up on their fitness goals. Doing high intensity workouts may lead to higher risk of injury. Building a program around aerobic training will help minimize risk of injury allowing you to stick with your program.
When hurt, you might not be able to train hard but you might be able to train light. If you’ve already been training at a lower intensity, you’ll be able to change your fitness program to aerobic training until your body heals. It’s a lot harder to do that if you haven’t been doing low intensity work from the beginning.
You’ll get more out of your hard workouts
The last reason why you should build your program around aerobic training is that you’ll be able to crush your hard workouts. One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they go hard all the time which isn’t a hard workout at all it becomes a moderate workout all the time. Not quite increasing your fitness level. Focusing on hitting 1-2 hard workouts a week will allow you to focus and give the workout everything you got. This will improve your fitness level at a steady rate allowing you to lose weight faster, lift more and run faster.
Check out our blog on benefits of active recovery