The Best Type of Cardio for Fat Loss

For  those of you that don’t already know, this past May I graduated with my Master’s Degree in exercise physiology from Illinois State ( Go Redbirds!) and also completed my undergraduate degree in exercise science. My thesis topic was spent looking at how dietary intake/composition effects fuel metabolism during increasing intensity aerobic exercise. In layman’s terms I was studying how the percent of macronutrient breakdown effected what fuel (carb, fat, sometimes protein) individuals were burning during increasing intensity exercise. So after reading a sh** ton of research this is the consensus that I came to!


What is the best type of cardio for fat loss?

This is a very common question and topic that I, and I’m sure every trainer has been asked from clients and individuals that are trying to lose weight. So, what is the secret? Which type of cardio is best for someone trying to burn fat? As always, there is no clear cut answers for questions like these. Especially when it comes to weight loss. There is no black and white answer for an entire population, and a lot of gray areas but there are a variety of factors that need to be taken into consideration in order to best answer this question.


Is cardio your best option?

Typically, the goal when someone is trying to lose weight, is to lose as much weight as possible in the quickest amount of time. While this ideal, it’s not optimal for your body composition or health. Participating in any type of exercise program will result in an energy expenditure (calories burned) and weight loss will follow when the energy expended is greater than the energy consumed (total calories consumed). So,  what type of exercise results in the greatest caloric burn? Again, there is a lot of research that shows cardio is best, and then there is a lot of research that shows weight training is better.

After completing a literature review on the effects of resistance training programs vs. aerobic (cardio) training programs on body composition in women. I found that more studies showed greater body composition changes, (meaning their muscle mass increased while fat mass decreased) in women that were first in a caloric deficit and that consistently participated ( anywhere from 6 weeks to 12 months) in a resistance training program 4-6 days per week that incorporated strength rep ranges of 4-6 reps, hypertrophy rep ranges of 8-12 reps, and endurance rep ranges of 15-20 reps. Compared to women that JUST did cardio 4-5 days per week. Not to say that cardio isn’t an option as tool for weight loss. These findings merely suggest that greater body composition changes are seen when a resistance training program is implemented using a variety of rep ranges. Cardio can also be used as a tool to increase an individuals energy expenditure.


…….But Taylor you’ve typed a whole entire paragraph and you STILL haven’t answered my question! Here it is….. are you ready?

What is the best type of cardio for fat loss you asked?

IT DEPENDS ….and were back to that gray area again


HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

When the goal is to try, and maintain as much muscle as possible research shows that HIIT is best. HIIT training includes short burst of high intensity exercise that increases your heart rate (80-90% of heart rate max) and is followed by a short period of rest and then is repeated for however many intervals. Although, during high intensity activity the body burns mainly carbohydrate as fuel, the overall caloric burn ends up being greater than if you did a low intensity workout. Meaning, if the two were performed for an equal amount of time you end up burning more calories during a HIIT workout because your intensity level is much higher. Then, there is also EPOC (Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption) that plays a role in caloric expenditure, also known as the after burn. Not going to go into much detail because this is a topic for another article in itself.  During any type of high intensity exercise, there is a greater EPOC compared to low intensity exercise thus resulting in a greater caloric burn.



On this graph, GREEN represents fat and BLUE represents carbohydrate. As you can see as exercise intensity increases grams of carbohydrate burned increase and grams of fat decrease. Vise versa. Grams of fat burned increases when intensity is lower and grams of carbohydrate decrease. (Exercise Physiology


Steady State or LISS (Low Intensity Steady State)

During low intensity steady state exercise and during rest, the body mainly uses fat as fuel source. Yay I answered your question! But keep reading…….

Steady state exercise includes activities such as endurance running, biking, swimming, walking, hiking, rowing…etc. Usually heart rate is anywhere between (40%-60%) of HR max). This type of cardio is great for individuals that already have endurance built up and enjoy participating in endurance activities. It is also a low impact activity so its great for all ages. As I stated in the HIIT section, in order to burn as much calories you do during high intensity activities, you would need to do LISS activities for a longer period of time to equate to the same overall calorie burn.


So what is the overall consensus?

As always it depends on the goals of the individuals and their personal preference. Incorporating resistance training rather than just cardio alone for fat loss will result in greater body composition changes. But including cardio is a great tool for weight loss and increasing caloric burn especially if the scale isn’t moving down much. HIIT cardio is more beneficial you are looking for the best “bang for your buck”, the workout is shorter and results in greater energy expenditure. But steady state is great in that the main fuel burned is fat. This type of cardio just needs to be performed for a longer amount of time to create a higher energy expenditure. Including both into your training program can be beneficial for your fat loss goals!


I am very passionate about what I do! If you would like to work together you can check out my Online Coaching page and fill out a form and I will be in contact with you ASAP!

Stay fit!



Romijn JA, Coyle EF, Sidossis LS, et al. Regulation of endogenous fat and carbohydrate metabolism in relation to exercise intensity and duration. Am J Physiol. 1993;265(3 Pt 1):E380-391.

Coyle EF. Substrate utilization during exercise in active people. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995;61(4 Suppl):968S-979S.

Jeukendrup AE. High-carbohydrate versus high-fat diets in endurance sports. In. Vol 51: Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur; 2003:17-23.

Mcardle, W. D. (2014). Exercise physiology: nutrition energy and human performance. Lippincott Williams And W.


Dark Chocolate Blueberry Protein Pancake Recipe

There’s nothing like waking up on Saturday mornings to the smell of freshly made pancakes. This recipe provides natural whole grains from oat and wheat flour, more protein per serving, and mouth-watering taste in each bite! Here is one of my favorite pancake recipes!

Dark Chocolate Blueberry Protein Pancake

Prep time: 5 min| Cook time: 10-15 min| Servings: 1 (about 5 pancakes)

Nutritional Facts: For  ½ cup mix (Not including toppings):

Total Calories: 272 kcal

Protein: 26.4 g 

Carbohydrates: 36.3g

Fat: 4.9g


  • ½ cup Power Cakes Dark Chocolate Flapjack mix by Kodiak Cakes
  • 1 cup water, or until preferred consistency
  • 1/3 cup Blueberries
  • ½ scoop (15.5 g) PEScience Vanilla Gourmet Select Protein
  • Optional Toppings (not included in macros): Light Whip Cream, Sugar Free Syrup, Nuts n’ More Hazelnut spread (TO DIE FOR)


  1. Preheat griddle or metal pan on low heat
  2. Measure out ½ cup Kodiak Cake mix and Vanilla Select protein into a mixing bowl and whisk together
  3. Next while stirring the mix add water until preferred consistency
  4. Wash off the blueberries under cold water and add them to the pancake mix. Stir until they are all mixed in!
  5. Spray entire pan with cooking spray (I use zero cal. butter flavor) and use ¼ measuring cup to make the perfect size pancake! Let it sit for about 2-3 minutes each side
  6. Flip them on a plate and add desired toppings! Pictured: Walden Farms Zero Calorie Syrup, Fat Free Whip Cream, and JIF Dark Chocolate Powdered Peanut Butter





The Best Post-Workout Nutrition for Recovery

During a workout you expend energy by using up the fuel in your muscle known as glycogen stores, as well as breaking down your muscle fibers. So, the goal for post workout nutrition is to repair those damaged muscle fibers and refill your glycogen stores as quick as possible. This leads to a decrease in muscle soreness, and increased muscle mass, which will result in overall better performance during your workouts. Here are a couple of tips I recommend for the most optimal results when it comes to post workout!



1. Protein Source

The most important compound for muscle repair and regeneration is protein, also known as an amino acid. The best type of amino acids to eat after a workout are called BCAA’s (Branch Chained Amino Acids); which include these three amino acids Leucine, Isolucine, and Valine. These amino acids can be found in Whey protein powders and foods such as eggs, lean meats like chicken, and fish. You can also find BCAA’s in nuts and beans. Depending on your schedule figure out what type of protein would be best for you to eat after a workout! If you use protein powder make sure the product includes BCAA’s (Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine) in the ingredients list or on the label. PEScience’s (my personal fav!) Select Protein product is a great option since it includes hydrolyzed whey protein, casein protein, and BCAA’s.



2. Include a simple carbohydrate

Eating your protein source with a simple carbohydrate that is nutrient dense gets the protein to the muscle cell quicker and the rebuilding process is able to start. This is because simple carbohydrate are easier to breakdown during the digestion process compared to complex carbs, so simple carbs enter into circulation quicker and also allows the protein to get to the muscle cell at a quicker and faster rate. There are a variety of simple carbohydrates like glucose, lactose, maltose, and sucralose. These can be found in fruits, milk, white bread,bagels, pasta, and some veggies.




3. Nutrient Timing

Although the muscle repair process can last up to about 72 hours post workout the most crucial hours to repair damages tissue is 0-1 hour after a workout, but obviously the quicker the better. So after you are done working out a small snack the includes BCAA’s and a simple carb are best. You also want to get in a fully balanced meal that includes carbohydrates, protein, and fat about an hour or two after your post workout snack. This will keep providing fuel to your muscles during the repair process, so it is important to disperse your protein intake throughout the day for the best recovery.



Try some of these tips for your next post workout meal and see if you notice a difference in your recovery time!

Beef Pot Roast


Winter is here and it’s time to bust out the slow cooker for some home cooked comfort meals! Slow cookers also known as crock pots are a great for Saturday and Sunday dinners and even week nights when you’re busy at work and running errands throughout the day. Prep time is minimal and the meals are delicious! All you have to do is throw all of your ingredients into the pot and let it sit for and your meal is ready within a matter of hours! Try this fall beef pot roast slower cooker recipe sometime this week!

Prep time: 10-15 min| Cook time: Avg. 3 ½  hours | Servings: 6-8
Nutritional Facts:
Calories for 1 ½ cups of Beef Pot Roast:
Total Calories: 343 kcal
Protein: 38g, Carbohydrates:34 g, Fat: 7 g


  • 2 lbs. beef roast
  • 6 red potatoes cut in fourths
  • 1 ½ cups of baby carrots
  • ½ onion, quartered and pulled apart
  • 1 ½ cup of beef broth
  • 1 package of vegetable soup mix
  • Extras: You can top this with cauliflower mashed potatoes (Pictured) They are better than they sound I SWEAR! I prefer the Green Giant brand the cheddar bacon flavor is pretty on point!


  1. You can cut the pot roast into small cubes (which is what prefer to do) or place the whole entire pot roast into the slow cooker. Then add and surround the roast with the baby carrots, chopped red potatoes and onions.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk and mix the beef broth and vegetable soup mix together and pour into the slow cooker.
  3. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours and ENJOY!


You Aren’t Just A Number: Defining Scale Weight

After only being in the fitness industry full time for about a year now  the questions I get asked about mostly have to do with body weight and nutrition. I work with mainly general population older adults and athletes. Most of my older female clients are trying to lose weight while my males clients are 70/30. With 70% wanting to add weight and 30% wanting to lose weight. The biggest inconsistently between all my clients are their weigh-ins. they do weigh in but its on a different scale on different days and different times under different circumstances. Which doesn’t provide an accurate representation of where their actual weight is. Whether you’re trying to gain weight and add muscle mass, lose weight, or maintain your current weight, the scale can be a pretty perplexing mind game for a lot of individuals. For the sake of this article let’s say you are trying to lose weight.


You’ve been tracking your calories and have also been in a caloric deficit for about a week now. Things are going very smoothly and you’ve steadily lost 2-3 pounds the very first week of your diet. Seeing the number on the scale continually decrease through the week gives you justification that you are doing well. You start the second week of your diet. You step on the scale… you gained 2 pounds. Throughout the week your weight fluctuates between + 5 lbs. How could this happen? You’ve  been sticking to your diet AND working out. What in the H*** is going on! It seemed to be working the first week, so how could you have gained weight while being consistent with your program? This is where the confusion and frustration begins with most weight loss clients. So, what really is going on?


  1. Establishing an Intervention

Individuals that are just starting a diet will most likely continually lose weight quicker and a bit more easily in the beginning stages of a diet. The number on the scale continually decreases because their body is now in a caloric deficit after being in a surplus for awhile. If your body is used to consuming a certain amount of calories and then the number of calories is decreased on top of increasing physical activity you will see a bigger initial loss because your body is adapting to its new deficit state.


  1. Carbohydrate Intake

For every 1g of carbohydrate about 3g of water will follow, this isn’t an exact measurement, but just know that with carbohydrate intake there is increased water retention that follows. Again typically when staring a diet individuals will lower their carbohydrate intake and they will see rapid weight loss 3-5 pounds or even more due to decreased water retention in the body. Decreased water retention= decrease in weight


  1.   Stress and Sleep

Stress is associated with increased cortisol levels. So when you are stressed your body responds by telling the adrenal gland to release cortisol. When cortisol levels are elevated your body retains more water. AKA water retention= increased numbers on the scale. Same situation with sleep, not getting enough sleep increases stress which increases cortisol levels and water retention and again numbers on the scale increase even though you are still hitting your numbers and following your plan.


  1. Time of weigh-in

Consistently weighing in at the same time of day right when you wake up in the morning will provide the most accurate results for your weigh-in. Weighing in on the same scale each day will also provide more accurate results, rather than using multiple scales like using the one in your upstairs bathroom, the gym, your downstairs, bathroom, etc.. which will only cause inaccurate results and an obsessive relationship with the scale. will also impact your weight, stick to one scale.


  1. Food babiesssss

Depending on your last meal your weight will be affected. If you haven’t gone to the bathroom recently… if ya know what I mean, stool weight can also increase the numbers on the scale due to bulk of the stool and water retention.



These are some of the reasons you may see unexplained weight fluctuations when using the scale as a measuring tool wether your goal is to increase or decrease. It can be frustrating to see the number go in a different direction than you want, which is why weekly averages are more important to look at when looking at a body weight trend.


Personally, I like to use multiple measuring tools because it will help with the sanity of not being so fixated on a number, which shouldn’t define your progress or happiness. On top of daily weigh-ins some other options you can try are measuring your hip, waist, arm, and leg circumference. Progress pictures are a great tool to use to see the differences in body composition as well.

JUST TO BE CLEAR these factors can be taken into consideration only if you have been sticking to your plan, these are not excuses for not hitting your caloric intake and accidentally eating more than you should have or not getting in your workouts. Losing or gaining weight in a healthy way is a time-consuming and slow process, it takes a lot of patience, dedication, and consistency in order to be successful!


I am very passionate about what I do! If you would like to work together you can check out my Online Coaching page and fill out a form and I will be in contact with you ASAP!

Stay fit!