Are you looking for an exercise routine that will maximize weight loss? Those hours you spend on the treadmill might not actually be the best solution to shedding extra pounds. Instead, research suggests that anaerobic exercise, which involves short, high intensity activities, results in greater fat loss in less time. That means you can lose more weight by exercising less if you utilize anaerobic techniques in your workouts.
The benefits of aerobic versus anaerobic in terms of weight loss are hotly debated with compelling evidence on both sides, but research suggests that anaerobic exercise may help you shed fat faster.
Anaerobic Exercise Basics
Anaerobic exercise involves short bursts of energy with high intensity. The most common examples of this are sprinting and weightlifting. An anaerobic activity is one that lasts from mere seconds to about two minutes. High intensity workouts such as sprinting increase your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which increases your metabolism, causing you to burn more calories.
Short Term versus Long Term Benefits
The word anaerobic literally means lack of oxygen. During high intensity, short burst workouts, there is less oxygen available. Because of this, your EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, will typically be higher after anaerobic exercise than after aerobic exercise, which uses more oxygen during the activity.
However, a recent study by BioMed Central examined the EPOC of groups of participants performing exercises of various intensities, and compared them to the fitness level of each participant. What they found was that as you become more fit, your EPOC after high intensity workouts actually decreases, but your EPOC after low intensity workouts remains more or less the same. Basically, the more fit you become, the less effective anaerobic exercises become at burning fat, while sustained low intensity workouts such as jogging do not decrease in efficacy.
If you are trying to lose weight, anaerobic exercise may help you achieve that goal faster than aerobic exercise. However, the more fit you become, the less fat you will lose for the same amount of effort. Aerobic exercise, on the other hand, will cause you to lose weight more slowly, but does not become less effective over time.
Applying Anaerobic Exercise to Your Routine
If you’re looking to lose weight fast, the quickest way to achieve that goal through exercise is an anaerobic routine. A high intensity workout will have diminishing returns for fat loss over time, but it will allow you spend less time in the gym by doing shorter, more intense workouts. This is especially valuable if you do not have much time to devote to working out.
Because anaerobic exercise becomes less effective for losing weight over time due to the decrease in your EPOC as you become more fit, you may want to start phasing in more aerobic exercise over time. That way you can continue to lose weight and increase your stamina even after you have become more fit.
It is important to remember that exercising, anaerobic or otherwise, is not a replacement for a healthy diet, but as long as you are eating right and paying attention to your nutritional needs, a schedule of anaerobic exercise can help you lose weight quickly.