It seems on trend these days for babes to be reaching for the barbells and medicine balls,

over spending hours on end on the treadmill.


Calories vs Fat Burn

High Intensity Vs Low Intensity


So whats the difference between the latest craze with high intensity workouts compared to lower intensity sessions? The amount of fat burn and calories!


Kick-and-punch, ball-to-the-floor, high-intensity workouts like Tabata Threat and Goddess Warrior, mainly burn calories from carbs stored in your muscles, called glycogen. Low-intensity workouts, where you can still breathe and have a chit chat, burn mostly calories from fat. Which is why you will have such a high calorie burn after a Goddess Warrior class, compared to the high fat burn percentage after a Pure Strength Class! So which one is best for weight loss, building muscle and boosting our fitness levels? The answer is both!

Its important to mix up your workout routine with High Intensity and Low Intensity sessions as it enables the body to perform at its peak and then recover properly. Performing high-intensity training all of the time keeps your levels of the stress hormone cortisol elevated, leading to fat retention and muscle breakdown. So mixing in some low intensity sessions is very important for your recovery.


Which one gets the best results with your weight loss and toning? The answer is both.

If your main goal is to burn fat and build more muscle, we recommend adding more strength workouts into your program.

First, know that strength training (lifting weights) zaps glycogen stores.  Glycogen is needed for the power to lift the weights and recover – it’s anaerobic.  That’s one reason why we recommend our clients do a 20- to 30-minute cardio session after lifting weights.  The fuel to complete the post-resistance training cardio session comes primarily from fat fuel.  If you do the cardio before you lift weights, then you deplete the glycogen stores that will give your muscles enough power to lift the weights.  The muscles don’t draw the fuel from fat for short bursts of energy.

Another solution is to exercise first thing in the morning before you eat.  You don’t have the glycogen stores available and you’ll tap into that reserve of fat fuel much faster.  But make sure to eat after exercise… replenish your carbs and protein.

While working out at a lower intensity or in a fasted state will allow you to burn a greater proportion of calories from fat, sweating it out at a higher intensity means burning more calories overall.  For example, 20 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training will burn twice as much than a low intensity run).


Calories vs Fat Burn

Strength Training Benefits

Which leads us to Calories. If your main goal is to lose weight, its the number of calories that you burn overall that matters. It doesn’t matter if they are from carbs or fat, because after you burn a ton of calories from stored carbs during intense exercise, your body goes into overdrive to replace those carbs and repair your muscles. How does it do that? By breaking down fat and burning even more calories (the after burn effect).

And don’t even think about trying to smash out high-intensity workouts on an empty stomach to burn both fat and calories. In a fasted state, you will feel like you are working insanely hard, but the actual amount of calories you burn will be really-low. Carbs are your body’s fastest form of energy. By fueling up with carbs before your workouts, you have more energy to burn those calories.


For best results, we recommend doing high-intensity training three or four times per week followed by 2-3 lower intensity workouts. Mixing in some low-intensity routines will help prevent injuries and will enable your body to recover properly.

On those lower intensity days, go for an active walk with a friend, hit up a yoga class, do a heavy weighted slow strength session with more rest!

Have we convinced you to come down for a sweat sesh in our ZCF HIIT Studio in Cromer?
Get in touch today for a free 7 day trial pass!

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