Long bouts of cardio the worst way to lose weight fast.
Recent studies have shown, cardiovascular training is not the best solution for adipose tissue sparing (fat loss). If you want to improved your cardiovascular performance and endurance then run until your hearts content. If you want to shed those extra pounds and get lean, well you better include some hard-core strength training principles into your daily or weekly routine.
Long bouts of cardiovascular training does little for growth hormone stimulation and testosterone production, which is the key element for skeletal muscle stimulation and fat utilization. With steady state cardiovascular training the body does not burn as much fat in the most efficient way. You'll discover that you are becoming more physically fit and able to increase your tolerance for longer bouts of physical activity, but it does little for muscle development and fat burning.
On average, an hour's worth of jogging or cycling barely burns 500 calories. Even high intensity aerobics for an hour just surpasses 500 calories on average. The intensity in which you work plays a crucial role in caloric expenditure. Further more , steady state cardio is a really poor, time consuming tool and it will take nearly twice as long to get the results you need.
So where should your focus be if you want to lose fat and not vital muscle?
1. Focus on Nutritional Adherence:
Nutrition is the pillar of performance. This means tailoring your diet to support the types of activities you will be engaging in. Foods that provide the optimum levels of proper micro and macro nutrients that are essential for health, life and fitness. Once you get a handle on this vital aspect of the game, you will be better prepared to move forward with the fitness components.
2. Resistance training:
Short intense bouts of sincere resistive training will accelerate your bodies ability to catabolize fat as fuel. If this is your desired needs, drastically cut back on the cardio and put strength building at the core of your workouts. Light weights and high reps will net far superior results than steady state cardio. Recent studies have shown greater production and stimulation of growth hormones with lighter resistive loads with components of failure training.
Again, I'm in no way sweeping the benefits of cardiovascular exercises under the rug. If you are looking to lose a significant amount of weight related to fat, then I urge you to steer clear of long bouts of cardio. Rather, use cardio sparingly for warm-ups or as a recovery tool. Just know that if you are serious about dramatically changing your body composition, resistance training is going to be your best course of action over cardio.