How many calories are in that? How many calories should I eat each day? How many calories did I burn on that run? Is ‘calories in, calories out’ really how it works? What the heck are CALORIES?!
Calories are a subject of much debate and there are countless opinions on how to get them, where to get them, when to get them, and how to burn them. This blog focuses on the last one… How we BURN them. For more info about calories in general, check out the blog I wrote last year, “The C Word“.
Burning calories… Something most women love to hear! After a long run or a hard workout, “I just worked off that piece of cake” is a nice thought. But how does it really work?
The first thing we have to realize is the difference between Aerobic and Anaerobic training. In this article from LIVESTRONG.com, it explains the key differences. Below are the main points.
“Aerobic exercise occurs at an estimated 70 percent to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. It’s generally a steady-state activity that occurs for 12 minutes or longer, burning more calories from fat than glycogen. The body uses more slow-twitch muscle fibers, and muscles begin to produce higher amounts of lactic acid — one of the reasons why you might get cramps.”
“Anaerobic exercise occurs at an estimated 80 percent to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate. It’s generally a high-intensity activity that occurs in short bursts of less than two minutes long — often in team sports — burning calories mostly from glycogen. The body uses more fast-twitch muscle fibers. Muscles repeatedly recover by replenishing stores of adenosine tri-phosphate and creatine phosphate, which fuel muscle movements, and removing lactic acid between points, plays or other breaks in the action.”
So what’s the best?
- Aerobic Exercise burns more FAT calories
- Anaerobic Exercise burns a smaller percentage of fat calories, but a greater TOTAL number of calories
Here’s the real difference…
- “Anaerobic workouts create a longer post-workout calorie burn than other types of workouts, making them an even better way to burn calories.”
Because Anaerobic Exercise tends to happen for 2 minutes or less (think sprinting, Tabata workouts, 1 minute maxes, etc.) it’s simply impossible to workout at an Anaerobic level for a full hour. That is why, at Kaia, we mix Anaerobic exercise into nearly every workout we do.
It’s an old-fashioned school of thought to think we have to workout for 60 minutes non-stop. It’s certainly not bad for you (like a long run or bike ride) but the best results actually come from short/fast bursts followed by rests. Interval training not only burns more calories DURING the workout, but also makes you a “Calorie Burning Machine” after your workout! Who doesn’t LOVE that??
However, the key to success is actually hitting the ANAEROBIC level: 80 percent to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate. None of this works if you aren’t pushing yourself to that level of exertion. Short bursts of interval training at a lower heart rate will not have the same results (i.e. you will not be a calorie burning machine). So… It’s time to PUSH IT! When a workout calls for short bursts of intensity, really give it 100%. Being out of breath, covered in sweat (and maybe slightly nauseous) means you’re doing it right! In the moment, it might feel hard to push yourself to that level but remember the effects it has during AND after the workout! You KAN do it!
As we begin Week 4 of our BRIK session, be determined to become a CALORIE BURNING MACHINE! Hit every workout hard, give it everything you’ve got, and kick butt!
Happy Second Half of BRIK!!