HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is one strategy you can use while bicycling to increase caloric burn.
Aerobic Exercise and Fat Loss Facts
Burning fat with dietary changes makes reaching your weight loss goals near impossible. To successfully burn fat and get healthy, the metabolism rate must increase over a sustained period of time. While anaerobic exercise technically helps burn more fat because it increases lean muscle mass faster. However, anaerobic exercise is not always the best option for some. But, aerobic exercise and fat loss do go hand-in-hand so perhaps starting with some cardio is the best option.
In fact, if exercising of any kind has not been part of your routine for many years, it’s better to start slow. Aerobic exercise both increases metabolism and caloric burn, it provides a great starting point for boosting activity levels.
By definition, aerobic exercise conditions the cardiovascular system and literally means “with oxygen”. When performing aerobic exercise, heart rate and breathing increase. Additionally, regular aerobic exercise improves the overall health of your heart, lungs and the circulatory system.
To be brutally honest, you really need to do about 300 minutes of aerobic exercise per week for sustained fat burning. Thus, you need to plan on about 60 minutes of aerobic exercise for 5 days each week for best results.
Best Aerobic Exercise for Sustained Fat Burning
Use Elliptical Machine to Burn Fat and Build Leg Muscles
An elliptical workout provides aerobic exercise and fat loss but without putting too much strain on your joints. At even a modest pace, one can burn 500-600 calories per hour.
However, to really increase fat burning, increase the incline. This provides more exercise for leg muscles, your glutes in particular. In addition, you can also increase the resistance as you get more used to sustained workouts.
Running at a Moderate, Comfortable Pace Burns Fat Also
When it comes to aerobic exercise and fat loss, running is one of your best options. Whether outdoors or on a treadmill, one burns upwards of 600-700 calories in one hour maintaining a 7-mph pace. However, at that pace, muscles will be taxed so you really need to be in decent shape to attempt such a pace.
However, starting at a slow pace or even a brisk walk also helps burn fat. Remember, you never want to try too much too fast when it comes to aerobic exercise. Start at a pace that is comfortable with you and it’s a good idea to consult with your physician before starting.
Although a stair climbing machine would be great, you can still burn plenty of calories going “low-tech”. The benefit of simply climbing up and down steps is that the activity uses far more muscles than walking alone. Thus, you build up more muscles which burn more calories at rest making fat burning much easier.
However, please be aware that climbing steps puts a lot weight and pressure on your joints. So if your activity levels have been low recently or if you have any kind of joint issues, then we don’t recommend this aerobic exercise to burn fat. Don’t worry, there are plenty of others that provide the health benefit and burn fat without so much strain on the body.
Going for a swim provides almost an ideal aerobic workout that maximizes fat burning. Simply treading water activates muscles and starts burning additional calories. Researchers estimate that you can burn 14-15 calories per minute of swimming, depending on the type of stroke you are using. For instance, breast strokes burn fewer calories than a butterfly stroke. Therefore, it’s a good idea to vary the types of stroke you use to workout different muscles and maximize fat burning.
Bicycling outdoors burns a significant amount of calories in 60 minutes while exercising several muscle groups. However, to burn up to 1000 calories per hour, one would have to cycle at intense and sometimes dangerous speeds.
Using stationary bikes at home or at the gym are a great and safer alternative. Unfortunately, simply jumping on the machine and merely pedaling won’t burn very much fat or provide sufficient exercise for your muscles. You need to pedal at an intense rate to really get the benefit but it’s well worth the effort if you are serious about eliminating fat.
Ideally, you would start with short intervals of intense pedaling. Start out maybe with 2-4 minutes of intense pedaling. Then, slow down for 4-5 minutes to give yourself a rest. As time progresses, increase the intervals as your body becomes more accustomed to the intervals of fast pedaling. Remember, you don’t have to go full on but rather start gradually and build up as you become more fit.
Additional Aerobic Exercises for Fat Loss
Although aerobic exercise and fat loss go hand in hand, some cardio options are not ideally suited for everyone. Some more intense aerobic exercises that really burn significant amounts of fat include:
- Jumping rope
- High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
We strongly recommend you consult with a physician before incorporating any of these more advanced exercises in your workout routine. They tend to cause significant strain on joints and should not be attempted by anyone who already isn’t in sound physical condition.
Simply increasing activity levels by incorporating aerobic exercise in your weekly routine is a great start. Overdoing it, on the other hand, may cause more harm than good and lead to injury or worse. There is no shame in starting with brisk walks and working your way up to jogging, swimming, or even climbing stairs.
Caloric Burn for 30-Minutes of Aerobic Excercise
Here are some general guidelines for how many calories you will burn for every 30 minutes of exercise you do for the following options:
- Hiking: 185 calories per 30 minutes
- Brisk Walk: 140 calories per 30 minutes
- Cycling at 10+ mph: 295+ calories (depends on terrain and your speed, using gears, etc)
- Running: 295+ calories (depending on terrain and average speed)
- Swimming: 255+ calories (depends on strokes you use and how fast you are swimming)
Concluding Thoughts on Aerobic Exercise and Fat Burning
Only changing your diet to burn fat is both unrealistic and unhealthy. Doctors and scientists recommend 5 hours of aerobic exercise each week for optimal cardiovascular health. Plus, in addition to living healthier, aerobic exercise helps boost metabolism rate and burn fat much faster than diet alone. In addition, some aerobic exercises build muscles rapidly. Muscle cells burn more calories at rest than fat cells. That increases your overall metabolism rate and helps you burn fat even faster.
Just remember: Start slow and don’t try to do too much too fast. And yes, it is always a good idea to consult with your physician before starting any new diet or exercise program.
Lastly, the right diet supplements can help you burn fat even faster while helping you transition to a healthier diet and lifestyle. The best diet supplements support metabolic health for long-term, sustained fat burning and weight loss.
Mike Dorfman is BS in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado. Mike’s has worked as a personal trainer for Gold’s Gym and helped many clients achieve their weight-loss and fitness goals.
To health first, weight-loss second. Mike and Tetrogen are here to help you make the transition to the healthier, happier, and thinner you!