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Article Contributor: Amira
Cardio training in Dubai is a well-known method of losing weight. But, does doing too my cardio mean you are losing muscle too instead of shredding fat for a more defined physique?
Amira, a professional female personal trainer from Dubai explains why too much cardio can set you back in your fat loss training goals.
In 2008, I started training for long distance running in Dubai, half and full marathons. By 2010 my running mileage had increased and some weeks I used to run up to 70 KM.
Despite twenty hours per week of endurance training, time spent mostly in the so-called “fat burning zone”, I barely lost any fat and definitely lost muscle, even with a controlled diet plan and a couple of weight training sessions per week.
When I looked at my photos crossing the finish line, I looked soft and I could hardly see any of my muscles definitions. As soon as I was done with a race, I started gradually easing into my weight training and I have noticed that I could only tone up if I cut down on my endurance training.
Similarly during the holy month of Ramadan, when I am fasting, I had to cut down on my cardio and I had to either do weight or cardio training, I ended up doing weight training 3-4 times a week (obviously I am addicted to the iron) and one small cardio session.
By the end of the month I became noticeably toned and to my surprise, my fat content had decreased.
This solidified my belief that steady-state aerobics is absolutely ineffective for fat loss. Long, steady-state endurance is not the answer for a defined, lean physique, and it’s a waste of time if your goal is long-term fat loss.
Endurance work is only the answer if your goal is to compete in an endurance event, not if you want to actually look your best. If you want to lose fat but not look like a soft endurance athlete, metabolic interval training is the way to go.
That was almost 10 years ago. Have I changed my mind? And what have I learned since then as a qualified fitness professional, and yes, as a woman who still competes in endurance events?
Absolutely not, Get off the treadmill, stop spinning your wheels, and push yourself in the gym if you want to lose some serious fat.
Two years ago, I took a break from endurance training and I lifted consistently three to four days a week along with a metabolic workout one to two times a week and an occasional short, hilly run. I maintained the body you see in the picture.
Without changing my diet (and in fact staying very conscious of what I was eating), only shifting my training from mostly lifting to include more steady state aerobics, my body would shift to my “endurance body” with less muscle and more fat as a percentage. Interestingly, my weight didn’t change much, my body composition was just responding to the activity I was doing.
I enjoy competing and love crossing a finish line. Unfortunately, looking back, my body composition around race time has once again confirmed my original statement: the more steady state aerobic exercise I do, the softer my appearance seems to be.
There are a few things this could be attributed to, other than just the fact that I was doing more steady state cardio, including:
1. By doing more steady state cardio, I end up doing less strength training. Is it necessarily the cardio that’s the problem, or just not strength training/metabolic interval training as much?
2. The strength training I’m doing could be suffering in quality and recovery since I usually head out for a run either the morning of, directly following, or on the opposite day when I could be recovering from my lifting session.
3. Increased appetite from doing more steady state cardio. I’m pretty careful about tracking my intake, but we won’t rule this out as maybe I do end up hungrier and make up for the extra calories burned in my food intake. And of course the carb-loading process 1-2 weeks before the race.
Here’s the catch: your body quickly adapts to steady state aerobic activity, decreasing the amount of calories you burn with each walk/run, making you more and more efficient at the activity.
This is the goal if you’re training for an endurance event – to be super efficient using the least amount of energy (calories) possible to complete the distance. You want just the opposite if you’re trying to lose fat.
According to a recent study relating to interval training and fat loss which can be found here interval training does show significant fat loss training results.
Here are three types you can do for high-intensity interval training:
Incorporating Kettlebells, sandbags, free weights and slides in your interval training in Dubai will help you burn fats and challenge your body constantly.
Also, a huge bonus of using sandbags and slides would be that they are having a lower impact than other aerobic options, like running or jumping rope. Easier on your body and more effective!
I always ensure to end my private sessions with 10-15 minutes of metabolic training in addition to weight training. Similarly with group sessions using metabolic training is the most efficient way for fat loss.
At the end of the day, nothing beats the burn of a good metabolic workout.
If you’re getting ready for a photo shoot, a beach body reveal, or want to look like a physique competitor with chiseled abs, skip your run for a few weeks and make strength training and interval training your priority.
Mix in a heart rate monitor, kettlebells, and sandbags and see if you reach the same conclusion I have.
For effective fat loss without losing too much muscle when training in Dubai
If you need to find a female personal trainer in Dubai who can help you train harder to achieve improved results Amira can help.