Is Aerobic Exercise Right for You?

by : Troy Anderson

Copyright (c) 2008 Anderson Training Systems

There is a long standing myth that aerobic exercise, otherwise known as cardio in the inner sanctum that we call the gym or fitness center, is the absolute Holy Grail when it comes to losing weight.

It's very unfortunate that this MYTH is still being perpetuated since it is quite possibly the worst way to lose fat, other than camping out on the couch eating bon bons.

On top of that, an exercise program consisting solely of cardio or aerobic exercise is a nearly certain path to a plateau, frustration, and, in many cases, failure.

Although it all started with good intentions, let me paint you a little picture on why aerobic exercise by no means the end-all and be-all for weight loss. Imagine one of those mammoth, jacked-up, diesel-guzzling behemoths of an SUV being driven around your neighborhood by the stay-at-home mom with a single child.

Inefficient and quite possibly downright wasteful, right?

Now imagine one of those goofy-shaped, 80-mile-per-gallon, quiet, metallic lime green hybrids sneaking up on you at a more rapid rate driven by your Birkenstock-wearing, ultra-liberal neighbor.

A picture of efficiency, right?

The latter is exactly what slow, steady aerobic exercise program turns the body into when it comes to burning fat. When the name of the game is fast fat-loss, we want to be as inefficient as possible, a big 'ol diesel SUV with 35" wheels on it just for good measure.

So how do you safely dive into the world of fast-results exercise when you aren't exactly sure what to do and definitely don't want to get injured? Simple, really.

Move your body. Yup! Move in lots of different directions and angles. You will be surprised at how much effort it takes just to move your body. I do have a caveat, however.

Bodyweight exercise is a great tool, but if you are severely overweight (+50 lbs or more) the exercise circuit described below may be a little too challenging. You probably should use a very specific regimen that is customized to your needs and orthopedic conditions.

That being said, let's get into the good stuff. This is a little circuit that you can use and get a good sweat going. It can be performed on a daily basis and will provide an excellent beginning exercise stimulus.

- Planks - Start by lying on the floor. Lift your body up, and with forearms and feet as your points of support, hold this position by pulling in your stomach.

- Lunges - Take a step forward. Stop all forward momentum and lower yourself by bending the knee and hip of your front leg, trying to lower the front hip straight down. Concentrate on keeping your trunk centered over your hips.

- Push-ups - Start with your hands directly underneath your shoulders. From here lower your chest towards the floor, ideally reaching a level where your upper and lower arms form a 90 degree angle. Be sure not to sag at the hips or lower back as this will make the push-up impossible to do correctly.

Women, if you cannot do full push-ups, start in the same position but with your hands elevated on something like a countertop or chair. Gradually reduce the elevation as you become stronger.

- Inch worms - Squat down as if you were having to use the facilities in a foreign country. From this position, lean forward, place your hands on the floor, and walk out until your body is parallel to the floor.

- Get-ups - Start by lying on your back on the floor. The goal is to move into a standing upright position without having to use any other objects for assistance.

General instructions:

Complete the circuit 2-5 times.

Depending on your fitness level, spend 20-60 seconds on each exercise.

Be sure to increase the number of times you repeat each exercise or increase the amount of time spent performing each exercise every 2 weeks.

This little program can be done every day. And if you don't take the easy way out by continuing to do the same amount week after week, you will make consistent progress with both your level of fitness and amount of fat-loss.

hich, of course, is much better than the same hours spent on the treadmill or in aerobic classes, only to be rewarded with plateaus and frustrations.

So press on the gas and let the engine roar. Smoke the tires and watch your fat-burning machine speed down the fat-loss super highway with total body exercise.