If you have ever seen the same 230-pound man run for an hour on a treadmill 3 times a week and never get skinnier, there may be a good reason why. Maybe you are the 230-pounder that can’t get any lighter on the scales. In either case, research exists showing the superiority of strength and interval training to steady aerobic exercise for burning fat.
Hardcore runners will likely refute this point till their dying day. However, fitness specialist and former professional boxer Richard seymour recently presented a theory to the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Breaking several previously held ideas about fat loss. “It comes down to disrupting the body’s resting metabolic rate,” said Seymour. “Effective fat loss hinges on the post-workout ‘what happens?’” Long, steady endurance training does little to disturb the resting metabolic rate. With heavy lifting or intense running spurts, a greater demand is placed on the body than with an hour long jog. Heavy lifting, says Seymour, has been shown to increase the resting metabolic rate by 13% an hour after a workout, and by 4% sixteen hours after a workout.
In addition to increasing the amount of weight lifted, Seymour recommends taking rest times of 60 seconds or less to “create maximal metabolic disturbance.” A specific example he gave was to perform a heavy upper body exercise for less than a minute, then move to a heavy lower body exercise for less than a minute, then take 30-40 seconds of rest. This approach allows a total body workout that builds strength and burns fat simultaneously.
Take Away: Many will always prefer aerobic exercise to strength and interval training. Aerobics will always have their place, as they are great for increasing VO2 max and muscle endurance. If the goal is fat loss, however, heavy resistance with short rest time is a proven method with a clear advantage.
For individuals who want to burn fat, I end their sessions by having them complete a 4-station complex, take a minute rest and repeat 2-3 times. This is a great way to end a workout and leave yourself feeling exhausted.