If you rely on classic aerobic cardio for weight loss, you’ll probably spend 30 minutes on a machine trying to burn a set number of calories. But does that work? Does burning 500 calories per day make you lose 1 pound of fat per week?

Well, according to science, it should. But if it did, you probably wouldn’t still be reading this article.

I used to write a column on fat loss myths for Men’s Fitness magazine. Here is a classic weight loss topic that I covered.

Myth: I need to burn 500 calories each workout to lose fat.

Possibly one of the worst inventions for fat loss was the calorie counting monitor on treadmills, ellipticals and stair climbers.

Because of this, millions of men and women are now obsessed with the number of calories burned per session. You’ve probably even been one of those people, seeing how it increases very slowly during a slow cardio session. All the while knowing that you can kill a 30-minute, 300-calorie treadmill session with a smack of Krispy Kreme.

Too many people are brainwashed into thinking that if they don’t burn 300-500 calories per session, they won’t lose fat. After all, that’s what you’ve been told over and over again in those fluffy fashion/fitness magazines.

The problems with this approach to fat loss are numerous. First of all, it’s hard to say if calorie counters are accurate. A story on CBS news showed that cardio machines overestimate calorie burn by up to 20%.

Then relying on slow cardio for advanced fat loss is relatively pointless and inefficient at best. It takes a long time to burn a lot of calories, and one study showed that men who only used cardio training to lose weight ended up with a reduced resting metabolism. You’re essentially undoing your calorie burn by relying on cardio alone. On the other hand, men in the same study who used strength training did not suffer from a reduced metabolic rate.

So what is the solution to burn fat faster and more efficiently? The answer is to use strength and interval training to burn fewer calories in less exercise time, but with a more intense form of exercise.

Your body will burn more calories after exercise (when using intervals) than after slow cardio, and your metabolism will stay high. Some experts refer to this as the afterburn effect. How do you do the intervals? Well you could run for 30 seconds and rest for 90 seconds and repeat that for 6 sets, preferably using the bike or treadmill if you are experienced with it.

Within that short period of time, the intervals will have your muscles going crazy with activity (I call it metabolic turbulence). This incredible metabolism boost causes a lot of calories to be burned after exercise to get your body back on track. The result is that you’ll end up burning more fat and more calories in the post-exercise period as your body tries to get things under control.

Now, there is a time when you would like to count calories, but that is when you are counting and determining how many calories you eat per day. Again, you can knock all the work out of a workout in less than a minute by simply eating junk. Without some structure and discipline in your nutrition, there is nothing my programs can do to help you lose fat.

So exercise nutrition control and interval training. These are the two anti-calorie counting methods that will help you lose fat and slim down.

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