Calorie Count

How many calories should you burn to lose 3 lbs in a week?

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2008-05-10 14:06:48

If you depend on classic aerobic cardio for weight loss, you

probably spend 30 minutes on a machine trying to burn a set number

of calories. But does that work? Does burning 500 calories per day

cause you to lose 1 pound of fat per week? Well, according to

science, it should. But if it did, you probably wouldn't still be

reading this article. I used to write a column on fat loss myths

for Men's Fitness magazine. Here's a classic weight loss topic I

covered. Myth: I need to burn 500 calories each workout to lose

fat. Truth: Possibly one of the worst inventions for fat loss was

the calorie-counting monitor on treadmills, elliptical machines,

and stairmasters. Because of these, millions of men and women now

obsess about the number of calories burned per session. You've

probably even been one of those people, watching it creep up ever

so slowly during a slow-cardio session. All the while knowing that

you can wipe out a 30-minute, 300-calorie treadmill session with

one fell swoop of the Krispy Kreme hand. Too many people are

brainwashed into thinking that if they don't burn 300-500 calories

per session, then they won't lose fat. After all, that is what

you've been told time and time again in those fluffy

fitness/fashion magazines. The problems with this approach to fat

loss are numerous. First off, it's difficult to say if the calorie

counters are even accurate. A story on CBS news showed that cardio

machines overestimate calorie burning by up to 20%. Next, depending

on slow cardio for advanced fat loss is relatively useless and at

the very least, inefficient. It takes a long time for you to burn a

lot of calories and one study showed that men who only used cardio

training for weight loss ended up with a reduced resting

metabolism. You are basically undoing the calorie burning by

depending only on cardio. On the other hand, guys in the same study

that used strength training didn't suffer a reduced metabolic rate.

So what is the solution to burning fat in a faster, more efficient

method? The answer is to use strength and interval training to burn

fewer calories in less exercise time, but with a more intense form

of exercise. Your body will burn more calories after exercise (when

you use intervals) than it does after you do slow cardio and your

metabolism will stay high. Some experts refer to this as the

afterburn effect. How do you do intervals? Well, you could sprint

for 30 seconds and rest for 90 seconds and repeat that for 6 sets -

using the bike preferably or treadmill if you are experienced with

it. Within that short time frame the intervals will cause your

muscles to go crazy with activity (I call it a metabolic

turbulence). This crazy metabolism boost causes lots of calorie

burning after exercise to get your body back to normal. The result

is you would end up burning more fat and more calories in the

post-exercise period as your body tries to get things under

control. Now there is one time where you'd want to count calories,

but that is when you are counting up and determining how many

calories you eat per day. Again, you can wipe out an entire

workout's work in less than a minute simply by eating garbage.

Without some structure and discipline to your nutrition, there is

nothing that even my programs can do to help you lose fat. So

exercise nutrition control and interval training. These are the two

anti-calorie counting methods that will help you lose fat and get


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