Visit us on Google, leave a review or get a map of our location

Sprint Speed - Agility - Explosive Power - Strength - Sports Performance - Elite Fitness

Recent Updates

  1. Sprint Coaching

    May 23, 18 06:14 AM

    Sokudo Training offers Sydney sprint coaching services, and strength & conditioning in the Merrylands, Granville, Parramatta and Guildford area....

    Read More

  2. Sprint Training

    Apr 30, 18 06:41 AM

    Sprint training is a form of training applicable across a large range of domains for both the individual and the athlete....

    Read More

  3. Sokudo Training Challenges

    Apr 25, 18 08:20 AM

    Welcome to the Sokudo Training Challenges section. Here you will find benchmark challenges and fitness tests based on the Sokudo Training methods....

    Read More

High Intensity Versus Low Intensity

For Fat Loss

High intensity versus low intensity is a debate that has been battled for many years in the fitness industry. There are benefits to doing both. This article is a short examination of both methodologies with a slight slant towards one side, as you will discover.

How They Both Work to Help You Burn Fat

First of all lets look at sustained, low intensity exercise as a method for fat loss. When you perform an aerobic activity such as running, cycling, rowing, swimming etc. at a continuous pace you burn calories at an increased rate from that of at rest. These calories come from two sources, the first being glucose or glycogen, the second is fat. This is what we want when trying to lose or maintain body weight, fat burning.

The greatest percentage of energy comes from fat when performing at this rate. This is why many people believe that low intensity cardiovascular training is the only real way to burn fat. This is not true, however it is one method that does indeed work.

As a further benefit, low intensity exercise at a continuous pace causes adaptations to the body’s systems. These adaptations include increased fat burning efficiency through the creation of extra mitochondria and an increase in size of the same. Mitochondria are like tiny fat burning factories within a muscle cell designed to metabolise fat for use as fuel, hence increasing capacity for greater endurance performance and decreasing body fat at the same time. There are other adaptations but this is a primary one.

High intensity exercise such as intervals, strength training, high intensity circuits, fartlek training etc. is a little different in its fat burning mechanism. When you perform this form of training you burn calories from both sources, however the number of calories it takes is much greater than for that of low intensity, continuous exercise. The greatest percentage of fuel for high intensity training is sourced from glucose or glycogen, which are essentially carbohydrates. This doesn’t sound good, however it is not the full story.

During a high intensity session the body will actually burn more overall calories. Although a higher percentage comes from carbohydrate, the body will still utilise more fat due to the large difference in caloric expenditure. So essentially it is more time efficient for short term fat loss.

As a further benefit there is what is referred to as EPOC. This stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. This is when your body is burning extra energy for hours after the session has finished. This is what contributes to most results in a fat loss program. EPOC is greatly increased as intensity increases.

So What Should You Do? What are the Benefits of Each?

High intensity versus low intensity for fat loss is a hard one to come to a concrete distinction from. They both work, they just work in different ways. I always recommend to most people to do a mixture of both in the beginning with a focus on leaning towards the high intensity side.

Take a look at low intensity exercise. This is slow, steady and continuous. An effective aerobic training session would generally be at least 30-40 minutes and needs to be done very frequently to have any real benefit. This form of training works and can create great adaptations such as increased number and size of mitochondria. This results in the efficient use of fat as a fuel source, giving you a body that literally burns up fat even while at rest. However the downside is that endurance training can cause a loss of muscle mass. This loss of muscle mass will generally lead to decreased strength, speed, power, balance etc. Essentially you are left with a skinny, wasted body that can run a long distance at a moderate pace.

Now lets look at high intensity. This sort of training can be kept to very brief sessions, 20 minutes or less. This form of training is practical for most people because training frequency is decreased and the large volume needed to create a noticeable increase in mitochondria density during aerobic work becomes void.

High intensity training promotes maintenance and often increases in lean muscle mass, even if what you’re doing is not strength training. High intensity exercise also allows a corresponding increase in both aerobic and anaerobic capacity. By increasing muscle mass and work output a person is able to burn more fat in a given time frame, including at rest.

Putting it Into Practice

So what do you do? You know the facts about high intensity versus low intensity for fat loss but have no clue what would work for you. So if you have loads of time and are not worried about getting thin and decreasing performance in various areas then by all means take up endurance exercise. By doing high volume you are teaching your body to burn fat as a fuel source.

For most people high intensity makes a lot more sense, at least a program that contains at least some of it. High intensity intervals will promote a laboured recovery, which costs calories. Further, high intensity training generally includes building a certain amount of lean muscle tissue. This helps with more immediate increases in metabolism and the capacity to fit more work into a shorter time period.

This article on high intensity versus low intensity was written to provide contrast without bias in order to demonstrate how both modalities contribute to fat loss and overall fitness and performance.

High intensity versus low intensity for fat loss.

Contact Us

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

Please enter the word that you see below.


Return to our home page from high intensity versus low intensity.

Sydney Sprint Coach Blog
The Sydney Sprint Coach blog will keep you up to date with all changes made to subscribe now to keep yourself updated.
Sokudo Training System
The Sokudo Training system is a complete system of sprint training and high performance...
Sprint Workouts - Sprinting WOD
The sprint workouts section is designed not as a complete training program in itself, but as a section providing sprint workouts...
Sokudo Training Challenges
Welcome to the Sokudo Training Challenges section. Here you will find benchmark challenges and fitness tests based on the Sokudo Training methods....
Contact Sokudo Training
Contact Sokudo Training: Join Us Or Ask A Question
Sprint Training
Sprint training is a form of training applicable across a large range of domains for both the individual and the athlete....
Strength Training Hub
Welcome to the Sprint Ninja Strength Training Hub. The aim here is to give people an in-depth, working knowledge of strength and how to obtain it....
Sport and Exercise Science Articles
Welcome to the sport and exercise science articles section. Here you will find articles and information that explains the science behind fitness and performance training, how the body works....
Sport and Athletic Conditioning Articles
Welcome to the sport and athletic conditioning articles section. Here you will find articles pertaining to specific sports and athletic events....
Nutritional Guidelines
Nutritional guidelines are a confusing topic for most people. There is so much contradictory information available online....
Early childhood physical development
Early childhood physical development is just as important as childhood mental and psychological development...
Weight Loss Articles
Welcome to the weight loss articles section. Here you will find articles and information specifically targeted at weight loss/fat loss....
General Fitness Articles
Welcome to the general fitness articles section. Here you will find articles and information that applies to fitness as a whole but does not fall into other categories....
Power Training
Power training is often a very confused and confusing component of training, for both the general public and among coaches/trainers. ..
Psychology of Speed
The psychology of speed, an often underestimated aspect of the development of sprinting speed...
Ideal Fitness Program
The ideal fitness program is something people have been searching for ever since we discovered that regular and planned training can change the....
Training Objectives
This is a comprehensive set of guidelines, training objectives and an overall plan to be applied to all training programs...
Ten Components of Fitness
The ten components of fitness are the aspects of physical development that UNLEASHED Training aims to facilitate. Most programmes focus on only one or a small number of these fitness components...
Definition of Fitness
The definition of fitness is so difficult to pin down. I have searched for a definition for years, ever since I first started my studies in fitness, strength and conditioning. I have witnessed...
Art of Movement
The art of movement is something you will see discussed in many texts, in one way or another. This is a concept that was visited, studied and developed hundreds and even thousands of years ago...
Body Weight Exercises
The following is a list of body weight exercises used by Unleashed Training as part of the Evolve fitness program. This page includes just simple text descriptions of each exercise...
Body Weight Workouts
Welcome to the UNLEASHED body weight workouts. Here you will find workouts of all kinds in a mostly randomised manner....
Minimalist Fitness Programs
Minimalist fitness programs are simplified fitness programs that can be used for total development of one or more components of fitness. ..
Military Fitness Articles
Welcome to the military fitness articles section. Here you will find articles and information that applies to military fitness....