The INSIDER Summary:
• The best way to burn fat is by walking, not by doing intense cardio.
• The more intense the cardio you do, the lower the percentage of calories you burn from fat sources.
• More extreme cardio can also lead to more injuries and a larger appetite.
If you’re looking to burn fat, ditch the expensive spin classes and gruelling runs and try something a little more simple: walking.
Nutritionist and celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak, whose client list includes Kim Kardashian, Ariana Grande, and Lady Gaga, says that intense cardio isn’t the best way to a svelte figure.
In fact, for some people, cardio can prove to be somewhat counter-productive.
According to Pasternak, the more intense the cardio you do, the more calories per minute you’ll burn, however, a higher percentage of those calories will come from non fat sources than if you were engaging in less intense cardio (like walking).
In other words, yes, you’re burning a lot of calories, but not a lot of fat.
There’s one more thing that speaks against intense cardio: hunger.
Pasternak says that there’s a direct relationship between the intensity of cardio you do and your appetite. The more intense your cardio workout, the more hungry you’ll be afterwards, which can lead to you eating more than you normally would.
“You hear people after a spin class, they get out of there, and they’re ravenous. And they go have a gluten-free scone and a fresh-pressed, sugar-laden juice.”
And if that’s not enough to convince you, you’re also more likely to get injured doing more extreme cardio. According to Pasternak, repetitive stress syndrome, knee injuries, and back injuries are all risks that are associated with extreme cardio.
While he doesn’t necessarily advise against running or spin class, Pasternak adds that the average person who’s looking to trim fat might be somewhat daunted by the prospect of doing intense cardio every day.
Walking, on the other hand, is often viewed as a way more accessible method of exercise by people of all skill levels.
Pasternak, who has studied the eating habits of the healthiest countries in the world, says that while the diets of these countries differ greatly, they all do a lot of walking.
According to him, the average American walks 4,100 steps in a day, while the inhabitants of the world’s healthiest countries walk more than 10,000 steps a day.
Because of this, Pasternak gives all his clients a daily step goal that ranges anywhere from 10 to 14,000 steps per day.
“People want to know how do we get the prettiest bodies in the world in shape… This is how I do it. Not being sedentary.”