ANAEROBIC v. AEROBIC TRAINING
The words 'aerobic' and 'anaerobic' refer to oxygen in exercise. In simple terms, aerobic means "with oxygen" and anaerobic "without oxygen". When it comes to enhancing our metabolism, research shows that the greatest benefits come from anaerobic training. In fact, science has proven high intensity training can burn NINE times the amount of body fat as low-intensity aerobic training did.
In the Tabata study, it was found that lower intensity exercise burns more fat but higher intensity exercise burned more total calories per minute which resulted in more overall fat loss. In reality, it's not about how much fat you burn during your workout. The harder we workout the more sugar we burn for fuel and this allow our body to burn more fat in the hours and days following our workout.
One of the great visual examples of this is found in runners. Compare the body of an endurance athlete to the body of a sprinter. Sprinters not only have more lean muscle throughout their body, but significantly less body fat. I've seen many overweight distance runners and walkers, but I've yet to see an overweight sprinter!
Which body is best for health and performance?
You don't have to be an Olympic runner to see that it's not about logging hours of exercise each day. It's quality over quantity. In the Gibala study, researchers took a large group of college students who were all in good health but were not in any athletics. Group A rode a bike at a steady-state for 90-120 minutes. The other group performed 20-30 seconds of cycling at maximum effort followed by four minutes of full recovery and they repeated this sequence 4-6 times for a total of 18-27 minutes. Both groups did this workout 3x per week for two weeks. In the end, they discovered that both groups achieved identical improvements in their endurance even though Group B had only exercised for 6-9 minutes total!
The other groundbreaking result was that the high-intensity group had by far the greatest weight loss. Which meant they had exercised less, got the same endurance results, and burned significantly more body fat. What a deal!
There's no magic formula here. Anaerobic exercise simply burns more muscle glycogen, or the sugar stores in your body. The more sugar you burn during your workouts, the more fat you'll burn afterwards.