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Is Super Intense Exercise Necessary for Fat Loss?

The idea of “getting more done in less time” is proposed as the ultimate SOLUTION for fat loss and fitness. And really, what’s not to like?

Shorter and faster workouts = using your time better… if you’re workout is designed correctly, that is.

So while it may seem like super intense exercise is the golden ticket for losing tons of fat, there are a few key considerations that most people gloss over before they take up a program that falls under the “intense” umbrella.

#1 – Weight Loss is All About Calories-In vs. Calories-Out

Let’s say your body burns 2000 calories per day when at rest, and meanwhile, you currently consume 2200 calories daily. You’ll be adding on 200 calories worth of fat to your body every day (and one pound of fat is approximately 3500 calories).

In this scenario, if you want to lose weight, you need to somehow change these numbers so that you burn more calories than you consume.

You can take up a 3-times-per-week intense training program, making your body burn 2500 calories per day on average (meaning, you’ll burn off 300 calories worth of bodyfat each day, on average).

Or, you can take up the less efficient but less strenuous training program, still leading you to burn 300 calories worth of bodyfat each day.

Or, you can just reduce your calories to 1700 per day without exercising, and once again, you’ll burn off 300 calories worth of bodyfat each day.

Of course, exercise, especially intense exercise, will usually mean that your body will hold onto more muscle as you lose weight. However, the principle remains the same: weight loss is all about calories-in vs. calories-out.

#2 – Feeling “Spent” or Sore Is NOT Indicative of Workout Effectiveness

For some reason, plenty of people LOVE feeling like their workout “killed them”.

“Yeah man, I was lying on the floor for 10 minutes after that workout. It was great!

“I’m so sore today from yesterday’s workout. I feel like I really did a lot!”

Yet, when a workout only feels moderately challenging and doesn’t leave people sore, they think that it wasn’t effective or they didn’t “work hard enough.”

If your goal is to SOLELY MAKE YOURSELF BE IN PAIN, sure, you want your workouts to “kill” you.

But if your goal is to LOSE FAT AND IMPROVE YOUR FITNESS, there’s no reason that you need to feel beat-up and sore. When you train at a moderate or moderately-high intensity (let’s say for 45 minutes, 3 times per week), you’re still burning lots of calories, strengthening your muscles/joints/bones, and improving your cardiovascular capacity.

Despite your workouts not “killing you”, you’ll still improve your fitness and lose fat (provided you burn more calories than you consume).

#3 – Proper Program Design Becomes More Important to Prevent Injuries

The proper selection of movements, weights, sets/reps, and etc. becomes even more ESSENTIAL when it comes to intense workouts. This is because you’ll be more fatigued during these kinds of workouts. Fatigue = form break-down, which increases risk for injury.

Your program needs to be balanced so that it is intense enough, but not so crazy that it sends you to the doctor.

When the program is designed intelligently and is balanced, you end up reaping all of the benefits of intense training with minimal risk of injury.

Crossfit, one of the many training methodologies which makes intensity one of its defining features, runs into problems when it comes to proper program design and injury prevention.

Its programs typically feature a random selection of exercises, super high intensity, and a grueling pace.

This kind of programming would logically burn more calories and fat, right?

According to a recent study at the University of Rochester, researchers found there to be a 20% injury rate in their group of 386 Crossfit participants, all within a 6 month period.

The most frequent injuries were associated with too much intense training and improper planning.

Focus on Your Nutrition!!!

If fat loss your goal, following a properly-designed, moderately-high intensity program, will definitely help you burn more calories and get you closer to the body you want.

But if your diet is not on point, exercise can only help so much. You can GAIN FAT on a training program if you’re not eating properly.

Your diet is a HUGE part of the fat loss equation.

So if Fat Loss is YOUR GOAL…

Keep the following in mind:

  • No matter what exercise program you embark, losing fat is all about calories-in versus calories-out. So that means exercise is one half of the equation, and diet is the other half.
  • As much as people ENJOY feeling all beat-up by a workout, soreness and exhaustion is not a good method of measuring workout effectiveness. Your progress over-time is a better measure!
  • The more intense your workouts become, the more important it is to plan your workouts accordingly. This is because you want to reduce the chances of injury.

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