As the weather starts cooling down and events like Thanksgiving and Halloween roll around, we have a tendency to start gaining an extra layer of fat. The annual weight gain not only looks bad but it can affect our fitness goals and fall racing plans. Below are the five vital components to effective weight loss. Follow these steps to lose those extra pounds and feel great this season.
1. Interval Training and Steady Pace Exercise
Study after study has shown that interval training is the most effective way to burn fat. While steady pace exercise may use a higher percentage of fat as an energy source, the same duration of exercise engaged in high intensity interval training (HIIT) burns far more calories and therefore more total calories from fat. The most common way to illustrate this is to ask which you'd prefer, 90 percent of your gross income or 10 percent of Oprah's?
Furthermore, HIIT has been shown to have a greater benefit on heart health and your overall cardiovascular system.
However, this doesn't mean that you should abandon steady pace exercise entirely. Slower pace exercise (like walking, skating, hiking or light jogging) is still recommended for beginners and as mentioned, it does burn fat effectively. It is also less draining, less likely to cause injuries and can be done more often than HIIT. Additionally, slow, steady paced exercise has several positive effects on your respiratory and circulatory systems that make more intense exercise possible.
2. Resistance Exercise
Cardiovascular exercise (running, aerobic classes, etc.) burns calories while you're engaged in that activity, but one of the benefits of resistance training is that your body continues to burn calories at an elevated level long after you've stopped exercising. Not only that, but when you add muscle to your body, that muscle mass burns more calories all day and night. When you burn more calories than you consume, fat loss occurs.
Use these four tips for doing resistance training with the intention of fat loss:
- Focus on the largest muscles of the body (legs, chest, back, shoulders).
- Try combining multiple muscle groups in each exercise.
- Select a routine that allows minimal rest between sets to keep your heart rate elevated.
- Always perform exercises to exhaustion (until you can't do any more repetitions).
This last point is crucial for fat loss. A lot of people choose a number, say 12 repetitions and they'll arbitrarily select a weight and perform 12 repetitions of a particular exercise then move on to the next. However, to maximize the effects of weight training, no matter what weight you select, you must do as many repetitions as you can.
In most cases, anywhere from eight to 12 repetitions is a good amount. If you're aiming for 12 reps, select a weight that is heavy enough that you simply can't do a 13th rep. The key is to keep going until you can't go any more. Then move on to the next exercise.