Something you might not know about fat loss….Steady State versus Anaerobic State

Posted: August 15, 2011 by mrsghp in alwyn cosgrove, fat loss, kettlebell, Uncategorized
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Hello everyone.  I wish all of you well in your quest to become better individuals by healthy mind, body and soul.

Sorry it has been so long since I have posted.  You see, I don’t just blog all the time to be blogging.  I want my blog posts to have some meaning.  So when I am inspired to blog for any specific reason, then and only then do I get the word out to the masses.

Now to the good stuff.  So many of you out there feel that you HAVE to do cardio training to lose fat.  In all actuality this is not always necessarily true.  Many of you are missing out on the anaerobic and metabolic effects of resistance training and high intensity training.  I feel that part of this may be due to the fact that we (meaning Americans) LOVE to see the “calories burned” at the end of our workout.  Hence the love of getting on the treadmill or hooking ourselves up to a heart rate monitor.  BUT you are only taking in the “aerobic” measures towards caloric expenditure.  You are missing on a few other more important variables when determining what exercise means give you the most bang for your buck when working into a fat loss exercise program.

I want to thank Alwyn Cosgrove for bringing this study to my attention.  Alwyn is a fat loss EXPERT and has been doing it for quite some time now.  He has kept EVERY workout he has had his members perform and is up to date on ALL the research on fat loss.  So lets just say when Alwyn speaks, we (Nikki and I) listen.

A study in 2005 titled: “Misconceptions about aerobic and anaerobic energy expenditure” by Scott, CB and was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.  Here they performed a study which compared 3.5 minutes of aerobic exercise versus 3 x 15 second wind sprints.

When you look at the first set of data which only recorded the calories burned using the aerobic measure they came out to:

Aerobic exercise = 36 calories burned

Sprints = 4 calories burned

This is where most people stop the argument.  “SEE!”  “Steady state aerobic is better than sprinting or high intensity cause it burns more calories!”  Just a second my friend.

The next measurement they took was EPOC (Exercise Post Oxygen Consumpton).  Wikipedia defines EPOC as:

(EPOC, informally called afterburn) is a measurably increased rate of oxygen intake following strenuous activity intended to erase the body’s “oxygen debt.” In historical context the term “oxygen debt” was popularized to explain or perhaps attempt to quantify anaerobic energy expenditure, particularly as regards lactic acid/lactate metabolism; in fact, the term “oxygen debt” is still widely used to this day. Direct and indirect calorimeter experiments have, however, definitively disproven any association of lactate metabolism as causal to an elevated oxygen uptake.[1]

In recovery, oxygen (EPOC) is used in the processes that restore the body to a resting state and adapt it to the exercise just performed. These include: hormone balancing, replenishment of fuel stores, cellular repair, innervation and anabolism.

EPOC is accompanied by an elevated consumption of fuel. In response to exercise, fat stores are broken down and free fatty acids (FFA) are released into the blood. In recovery, the direct oxidation of free fatty acids as fuel and the energy consuming re-conversion of FFA’s back into fat stores both take place.[2][3][4]
When they now measured the total calories burned including EPOC and Aerobic it came to the following total:

Steady State Aerobic exercise = 36 calories burned

Sprints (mostly anaerobic) = 39 calories burned

That is a pretty big jump by the 15 second sprints in just the EPOC alone and by checking out the above definition, its pretty nice to see that the fat stores are broken down during EPOC.

Lastly they decided to check calories burned using an Anaerobic Measure.  When all was said and done with aerobic, EPOC, and anaerobic measures were calculated.  Here is the final score:

Steady State Aerobic exercise = 39 calories burned

Sprints (mostly anaerobic) = 65 calories burned

Now do you see why we push so much for high intensity cardio and anaerobic works like kettlebell swings and strength training?  Its the WHOLE affect that creates the type of response that you want when trying to lose fat.

I would love to see a study that promotes strength training,  circuit training, kettlebell swings and other types of anaerobic exercise to put up against the treadmill, stair stepper and elliptical steady state exercise.

  1. I have always thought that being balanced in exercise was the way to go say with diet. Three years ago I weighted 355 pounds so all I could do was walk and a little weight training. Now I am 190 and I walk, race walk, run, bike, swim, and still do weight training. When I walk/run and swim it do aerobic and anaerobic training.

  2. jason says:

    I would actually argue NEITHER high intensity or aerobic is optimum in and of itself as a weight management tool, as diet can slash calories and create deficit far better then either , and when protein is kept high along with resistance training to spare muscle loss , no cardio whatsoever is “necessary”. That being said there are other physiological benefits to BOTH steady state aerobics (such as hypertrophy of the left ventricle) and interval training (ranging from a variety of anatomical adaptations).
    Aerobic fitness does have it’s place although admittedly it’s not optimum as a fat loss activity. (then again neither is interval training)

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