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LEHERSELF SparkPoints: (5,341)
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12/2/11 2:46 A

It's not necessarily an issue of which one causes more weight/fat loss. Of the studies I've read, both low and high intensity exercise has been found to be effective for weight loss and health/fitness improvement. The big difference is that intense workouts achieve the same effects in less time.

For instance, in the Tabata study, they found that subjects made similar fitness gains with 5 days of short duration high intensity interval training and one day of steady state training, as subjects did doing steady state training 6 days a week. The substantial difference was that the high intensity interval training took less than half as much time per day. (It also provided greater increase in anaerobic capacity).

So really, which type of training you choose depends more on personal preference, specific goals, and your time constraints. If you enjoy an easier pace and don't mind working out longer, do that. If you like short and sweet, make sure it's also intense. Alternately, do some of both and you get the best of both worlds.

ETA: SparkPeople has an article up about this:

Edited by: LEHERSELF at: 12/2/2011 (14:35)
UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
12/1/11 1:21 P

As you've already pointed out, you're asking purely from a calories burned perspective. For weight loss alone (disregarding other health benefits of certain types of exercises) it is best to do whichever burns the most calories.

Which reports the highest calorie burn for you? That is the one that's going to have the most effect on weight loss.

However, that is for Cardio only, and cardio should be the minimum of your concerns if you're losing fat, it's the least effective thing you can do.

In order, diet and strength training are both more effective than cardio for losing fat.

Cardio is essential to include for a healthy heart. But if you're wanting to find out "how best to lose weight quickly", then watch what you eat, and do good quality strength training. Keep the cardio for "general fun and fitness".

CHEETARA79 SparkPoints: (105,618)
Fitness Minutes: (105,568)
Posts: 3,830
12/1/11 10:04 A

I think interval training is better than either of those options. But you've gotten a lot of good advice here too! Whatever you stick with and enjoy is best, bottom line.

SCTK519 Posts: 2,086
11/30/11 10:58 P

I think both can be beneficial...just depends on how much time you have to workout.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,430
11/30/11 9:20 P

The best workout is the one that you keep doing regularly. Making a regular habit of exercise is what burns the most calories in the long term. So you definitely want to think about the sustainability of whatever way you choose to work out.

But assuming you believe you can stick with either approach, I would recommend the shorter, more intense route, for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, you will get better results from a program that includes BOTH strength training AND cardio, than a program that uses just one of these. Go for the shorter cardio workout, and use the time saved to include a strength training workout as well.

Secondly, even assuming the calorie burn effect is a wash, there are health and fitness benefits to getting your heart rate higher.

You may want to take a look at the Ask the Experts section on the 'fat burning zone" myth at


11/30/11 11:52 A

Just trying to get opinions on maximizing a workout in the fitness and exercise forum.

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (194,549)
Fitness Minutes: (289,963)
Posts: 26,851
11/30/11 11:39 A

You are going to get a lot of different answers because it depends on the person and their goals. Some experts say that working out at the higher intensity for a shorter period of time is better. However, that kind of intensity (even at 30mins) is not sustainable. Have you ever tried to sustain a 30 minute workout at 85% of max ? It's not easy even for a fit person. It means you are breathless for the entire 30 minutes, no recovery. that's not something someone who's new to exercise should be doing. That's not something a fit person should be doing every day either.

Someone who is easing into a regular exercise routine really should start at lower intensities first. Their strength and endurance will increase with time and regular practice.

Could you do an hour ? Sure, you could take a Zumba class (that's say 60-75% of max) for an hour. Zumba is a fabulous workout. You could take spinning for an hour. Depending on the class, that's 60-85% of max. you could take a walk too. 60-70% of max.

What you do for exercise doesn't matter as much as the consistency. Your exercise routine must be sustainable. Because if you give up, that's no good. If you want to take the weight off and keep it off, you must be active in some way for your entire life.

Also, the PP is quite correct. You can't outrun a bad diet with exercise, UNLESS you're on the Biggest Loser and can exercise for 4-6 hours a day. When it comes to weight loss, what matters most is what we eat. Exercise is the icing on the cake, pardon the pun.

Edited by: ARCHIMEDESII at: 11/30/2011 (11:41)
11/30/11 11:31 A

I meant as far as calories burned.

LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 25,363
11/30/11 11:29 A

Weight loss is 80% nutrition... so that is BEST for weight loss!

I guess my question is what do you mean by "better' in regards to exercise.
More effort?
More time?

11/30/11 11:26 A

For weight loss, is it better to do an 60 mins at 75-85%MHR or 30 mins at 85-95%MHR? Googled this and got a variety of answers. Anyone want to weigh in? (HA!)

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