What is the optimal training intensity for weight loss?

This is a commonly miss understood topic and one which leaves many people scratching their heads.
With things like heart rate zones, fuel types burnt, distance and duration all being thrown into the mix it is easy to see how many people become confused with this, and many simply say its all too hard and exercise for the sake of exercising.
However the best way to summaries it is this:
For optimal weight loss results whilst training simply train as hard as YOU possibly can for as long as YOU possibly can.
Obviously this is a very individual thing as exercise history, injury and so on needs to be taken into account, hence why YOU are in control!
Higher intensity exercises has a much greater effect of the body’s metabolism, or rate of energy expenditure, not just whilst your training but in the post exercise recovery period also.
For example if you went on a half hour run and covered a distance of say 5 km you may burn x number of calories. If you then also went over the same identical course walking, but took one hour to cover that same distance, effectively you were working at half of the speed in that hour. You may have burnt the same amount of energy (or at least close to it) as in the 5 km run. However this does not mean that both activities are equal in their calorie burning effects.
Think about how you may feel in the following 15 minutes of your walk then an hour after your walk and so on. Probably much the same as before your walk yes? Then compare this to how you may feel after an increased intensity activity such as the run. You may very well be feeling the effects of this run for a good few hours after the run depending on just how intense your performance was.
So think of it this way. It is not necessarily the calories you burn whilst you are exercising that matter, but it is the additional calories you cause you body to burn throughout the following minutes and hours that will have greatest effect on calorie balance and therefore weight loss.
Remember however as with any form of exercise how you refuel after is just as important if not more important than how hard you have worked.
If you are a sports person looking for greatest performance then you need to ensure you replace all if not more than what you have spent to ensure your next training session you are back at your peak. However for weight loss you almost want to do the opposite, leaving your body in a somewhat calorie depleted state will cause it to have to obtain that needed energy from somewhere else, your stored body fat!
So what does all this mean to you? Again, regardless of who YOU are and how fit YOU are, train as hard as you can at you current fitness level allows you to for as long as you safely can. The only difference here between a 25 year old slightly over weight male and a 55 year old over weight female is the degree in which they will work, the method is the same.
Weight loss after all is as simple as energy in versus energy out, regardless of any other factor. A simple mathematic equation.
Now you know why your trainer has been flogging you every session even now that you are so much fitter!
So keep up the hard work!

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