In general, scientific data indicates that the amount of energy expended after an aerobic workout tends to be very small.2 The number of calories burned during the recovery is dependent upon the intensity of the workout.3 Conventional aerobic exercise is very effective at burning body fat only during the activity itself. So for those needing to lose excess body fat, and only use aerobics to accomplish this objective, training frequency must increase. But, here’s the twist which I’m going to let you in on--a secret I discovered in 1974 that experts today are just now claiming to be the breakthrough in aerobic science. Lets now look at the real differences between the sprinter and the aerobicizer as mentioned at the onset of this article.
A sprinter’s training and competition requires a series of explosive performances--the 100 meter dash record for instance is less than 10 seconds, and these athletes are lean, muscular and healthy. In training, a sprinter will perform a sprint drill, rest, conduct another sprint drill, followed with another rest period, and repeat that cycle until the workout requirements have been fulfilled for that day. In comparison, an aerobic athlete may train for the same time period as the sprinter [or anaerobic athlete] but instead of having plenty of non-active time, aerobic workouts are continuous, with no rest intervals.
But if aerobicizers train nonstop throughout the entire duration of their workouts; supposedly burning calories without hesitation, why do so many of them have difficulty retaining lean muscle tissue and keeping fatty storages under control?
To answer and explain, conventional aerobics do not stress the muscular system; primary stress is to the heart and lungs. Energy is used (or burned up) to perform the workout but little is needed in post recovery as the body is not traumatized to the degree of the anaerobics.
Anaerobic activities (like the sprinter example) emphasize the muscular system to a high degree. Intensity percentages begin at 75% and escalate to 100%. The bulk of true anaerobic training lies between 75% - 90% of Maximum ability; this is "The Anaerobic Range". Training for anaerobics utilizes carbohydrates as fuel, mostly ignoring oxygen and fat during the workout itself. During anaerobic training micro traumas are experienced to the muscles as anaerobic, or explosive movements, tear tissue on a microscopic level. The body’s own defense mechanism to these types of injuries repairs the damage to rebuild and strengthen the lean tissue compartments of the body.
However; here’s the amazing breakthrough, the post-workout reparation of damaged tissues that have been inflicted by anaerobics stimulates metabolism for several days after each workout utilizing many energy sources, including fat, to fuel tissue remodeling! This is how the sprinter has an easier time staying leaner than his aerobic cousin. Additionally, lean tissue is metabolically active meaning it burns more calories, even at rest. So those who strive to attain a higher degree of quality lean tissue will have an easier time keeping fat off their body’s.
Here’s my secret: To get the best of both worlds; the aerobic conditioning for your heart and lungs, and the anaerobic development of quality lean tissue, I suggest that many of your aerobic sessions be conducted with interval intensities. For instance, if you are walking, begin your workout with a comfortable pace then, after you feel warmed up, accelerate to a power walk or even a slow jog or run until you have difficulty breathing. Maintain that [accelerated] pace until you’ve had enough then decelerate back to a pace you can endure comfortably. Continue these comfortable/explosive intervals until the duration of your workout has expired. In essence, you’ll be fluctuating in and out of both the aerobic and anaerobic ranges all within the same workout.