Most people that train to lose fat are doing it completely wrong. It is not their fault, though. There is too much bad information that does not allow people to reach their goals.
Steady state cardio, machines, and Prancersize are all modes of exercise that are not optimal for fat loss.
Machines have an important role in rehab/post op and body building for isolating certain muscles. Muscle isolation is not the best way to train.
Training for movements uses muscles in conjunction with each other. Isolating the muscles means that you are using fewer calories than training different movement patterns.
You also cannot train for mobility, stability, or coordination with machines. The stability is built in and stabilizing muscles never have to do their job.
The best way to resistance train for fat loss is to use compound movements. Squats, deadlifts, chin ups, pushups, and lunges will all get you better results than the abductor/adductor machine.
Unless you’re a bodybuilder that needs more biceps long head development, steer clear of the machines.
What about Cardio?
For a while, long slow distance cardio will create some results. We have to dive deeper and look at what happens when we chronically train aerobically.
An adaptation that the body makes in response to aerobic training is to become more efficient at getting the same result. This means using less oxygen as energy to fuel the workout.
This sounds like it could be a good idea and it is, for certain populations. Marathon runners, cyclists, swimmers, etc. all want maximize oxygen use. It will make them better at their sport. Those that are the most efficient will be the most successful.
While Prancersize is tragedy for humanity, efficiency is a disaster for fat loss. When we become efficient it takes less energy to do the same amount of work. This energy is in the form of calories. Efficient training= less calories burned.
A better technique to enhance your fat loss efforts on the cardio equipment is to go by way of intervals.
There are all types of intervals that can be used for different purposes but I am going to give you one to play around with. Use 30 seconds of hard effort with a 30 second recovery period (30:30).
Specifically, choose your preferred mode of training (bike, treadmill, elliptical). Perform a 5-10 minute warm up to get yourself ready for the bout of exercise. For 10 minutes, use the 30:30 interval. That will be alternating 10 sprints with an easier recovery.
THE KEY IS THAT IT SHOULD BE HARD. Honestly, this should make you hate life by the end of it. If not, you may have needed to up the intensity.
Finish this off with a cool down of 5-10 minutes of easy running/pedaling.
The benefit of using an interval protocol is that you are going to burn a greater number of calories in less time.
You will burn more calories by doing 20 minutes of intervals than by performing 45 minutes of steady state cardio. A high intensity interval like this will also help you use more calories throughout the day, while you are not even trying.
The work/rest ratio is not set in stone either. You could also use 20:40 to go harder with a longer rest period, example.
For the next 2 months, pick two days out of the week to do interval training instead of traditional cardio. The results will be surprising. Stick to the plan, try to eat better and you should have no problem shedding some weight.
Stop doing what everyone else is doing in the gym and start creating your own results.