How to Lose Fat Faster by Increasing Your Aerobic Capacity


I am going to admit something.

For the past 6 months, I’ve been stuck with 10 more pounds of body fat than I would like. Now that I’m more than 1/2 way through my 40’s, fat loss has become a bit more complex.

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It was so much easier a decade ago:

At 35 I injured my back before a beach vacation in Mexico.

I had 10 pounds to lose, but couldn’t do any cardio because it was almost too painful to stand. I got really lean with a strict diet and minimal weight lifting over the course of 60 days.

Now that I’m 49, diet and lifting alone don’t cut it… simply adding in walking doesn’t get the job done either.

Unless it is a specific type of steady state cardio done to improve VO2 max.

Hitting a fat loss plateau is frustrating.

  • You drop your calories down.
  • Workout 3-5 times per week.
  • Do a bit of cardio.
  • You still aren’t losing weight?

I have a REALLY good idea of what your problem could be. It’s an overlooked aspect of training in many workout programs.

raising your VO2 max with cardio

Raising your VO2 Max (Aerobic Capacity).

Back in 2010, I wrote an article on my old blog about a fascinating new study on fat burning.

This study compared fat loss differences between individuals at different fitness levels (as measured by VO2 Max).

The finding: People with a higher VO2 Max burned more fat and got more out of exercising than people who were less fit.

US News summed it up well in this quote:

“After running on a treadmill for 10 minutes, people who were relatively more fit had a 98 percent increase in the breakdown of stored fat, sugar, and amino acids, while less-fit people had only a 48 percent increase.

The very fit had the biggest difference of all. Blood samples taken from 25 people before and after they ran the 2006 Boston Marathon found a 1,128 percent increase in some key metabolites.”

Aerobically fit people have an easier time burning body fat.

You don’t just have to stick to traditional cardio to increase VO2 Max and get aerobically fit.

CrossFit is an example of an activity that drastically raises VO2 Max.

Crossfit to improve vo2 max

There are two CrossFit gyms within a mile of my house.

Pretty much every time I drive by I see nothing but ripped young people. It definitely gets results!

I just believe the injury risk is too high for some people. 

My cardio course is aimed at greatly increasing VO2 Max using nothing but cardio machines in a commercial gym.

You certainly don’t have to train in a commercial gym.

I just like having access to a large variety of equipment.

So why have I been stuck with 10 pounds of body fat to lose?

It is absolutely because I let myself get out of shape aerobically. I have stopped using the principles I teach in my cardio course about increasing VO2 Max.

If you over 40 and want to be lean, you cannot afford to have a low VO2 Max.

increase vo2 max with running

Younger people have hormonal advantages that you simply don’t have anymore.

Increasing your VO2 Max is how you make up for this hormonal gap.

Again, it doesn’t have to be on a cardio machine (although that is what I prefer most of the time).

It can be accomplished with weights, body weight, jump rope, etc.

When I bring up the term aerobic capacity (VO2 Max) a lot of people picture a marathon runner with little muscle mass or muscle definition.

Doing extended daily sessions of intense cardio, day-after-day and year-after-year will definitely burn muscle.

That is NOT the strategy I’m going to discuss here.

I’m going to outline a way to increase your VO2 Max with a higher than normal volume of cardio intervals for 8 weeks, with the ability to maintain that level of conditioning with just 1-2 cardio sessions per week.

How much work does it take to increase your VO2 Max?

how do you increase your vo2 max

Well, there is what is called an “easy adaptation phase” that happens at around 8 weeks of doing VO2 Max training 3-4 times per week.

Improving past this point to your highest potential can take a much more sustained effort over a period of 8 to 18 months.

Maintaining VO2 Max?

Peak aerobic power can be maintained even when training is reduced by two-thirds.

There are studies showing that runners and swimmers have cut training back by 60%, 21 days before a competition with no decline in VO2 Max.

Speaking of studies…

For those who enjoy scientific studies, here is a link to a monster 648 page book covering all of this.

Don’t have time to read 648 pages?

This post will only take 3-5 minutes to read.

What type of effort increases VO2 Max?

intense intervals to raise aerobic capacity

You can increase aerobic capacity simply by doing an activity like running or biking often, or you can use intervals.

Researchers have found that 2-3 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic effort that is followed by 1-2 minutes active rest is what really challenges your VO2 Max system.

Here’s a sample VO2 Max cardio machine workout:

  • 5 minute jog to where you are moderately challenging your aerobic capacity.
  • 2 minutes of walking.
  • 3 minutes fast jog/running pace.
  • Alternate 2 minutes of walking with a 3 minute fast jog/running pace for 30-40 minutes.

Why long intervals?

Anytime you perform an activity that makes you breathe hard afterward it is potentially increasing your VO2 Max.

Short intense intervals cause you to breathe hard afterward, but the limiting factor is normally your anaerobic and lactate system.

SHORT intervals help to increase VO2 max, but not as directly as LONG intervals.

To maintain muscle, I recommend a mix of short and long intervals.

Both of these work your VO2 Max, but spending too much of your time doing longer aerobic work can burn a bit of muscle.

My advice is to limit the longer interval sessions to 1-2 times per week and mix in 3-4 days of shorter intervals (or metabolic conditioning work with weights, body weight circuits, etc.)

For two months do 4-5 interval sessions per week

how much hiit for weight loss

Make sure at least one of these is of the longer variety (like the one I outlined above).

Once two months are up it has been shown that aerobic conditioning can be maintained with just one solid 30-40 minute VO2 Max session per week.

At this point, you can just maintain your aerobic conditioning.

With an improved VO2 Max, your body should be able to get more fat burning love from resistance training, walking, etc.

Warning: Your body might hold onto a little bit of extra water during the 2 months of frequent intervals. This is a cortisol response from pushing hard.

Once you dial back cardio, your body will release excess water and will reveal your full sexiness.

What if this VO2 Max stuff barely makes a difference?

That is a possibility.

Most of this stuff is an inexact science. Seriously…we still have so much to learn when it comes to the human body.

The worst case scenario?

You will burn a bunch of calories over the next two months and if your diet is reasonable should be at least 5 pounds lighter.

You will also be able to go hiking and do other activities without being out of breath and feel like you want to puke.

You will actually be fit, not just look fit.

*NEW* Visual Impact Fat Loss Boost Diet
For 15 years I've helped fashion models get lean for photoshoots. Use my plan to Lose 5-10 pounds of PURE body fat in 14 days.

What a novel concept.


-Rusty Moore

As a former fitness coach to fashion models, I can teach you how to increase muscle definition without adding size.

Click Here to check out my premium courses.