How to do a Fat Burning Workout
Burning calories to look more toned and healthy is a goal for many people who exercise, but not every physical activity works for that purpose. To start burning accumulated fat, you need to speed up the metabolism. So instead of just burning glucose which is what happens when you do low intensity activities, you also need to start eliminating lipids that are stored in the body.
In addition to following a balanced, healthy diet, a fundamental aspect for reducing your fat percentage is to do regular physical activity. Do you want to know where to start? OneHowTo.com will explain how to do a fat burning workout and get the best results.
Weights vs. Cardio: Which is better?
There are so many factors that come into play when burning fat that there is no simple answer, but proper training combines both practices and we'll explain why.
Cardiovascular exercises are considered by many to be the panacea of fat loss, but this is not totally true. To start doing cardiovascular activities such as running, cycling, spinning, cross training or swimming, you should take into account the duration, pace and intensity of the activity. Low intensity cardiovascular activity only helps to burn glucose and lose calories, but does not burn fat.
To achieve the latter, it is essential that you implement a cardiovascular workout of high intensity intervals lasting more than 10 minutes. Training where you exercise for a few minutes at a moderate and then intense pace by alternating both, or where you maintain an intense pace for at least 20 minutes or half an hour will help to boost excess oxygen consumed after exercise (EPOC) once you finish training. Your muscles need oxygen to recover from physical activity. When exercise has been intense, more oxygen is consumed after you've finished which implies a higher intake of calories at rest. Your body will use calories that mainly come from fat deposits in the body.
Weights or resistance exercises
When it comes to weights or resistance exercises, they don't generate as high a consumption of calories as cardiovascular exercise. However, you can achieve an excess of oxygen consumed after exercise (EPOC) which is quite high, so they are considered essential in a fat burning workout routine.
Although weight training or resistance exercise burn calories and mainly consume glucose, once you've finished physical activity, the oxygen consumption is higher. So weight training burns more calories at rest which mainly come from lipid deposits, so this activity is essential for achieving a high and stable consumption of fat over time. After this activity, you can continue to burn calories for minutes or even hours, depending on the intensity of your training and fitness.
To achieve this, it is important that you perform exercises with low weight and high repetitions.
Start training with resistance exercises
This fat burning workout is a good place to start, however it is important to note that you must be healthy to do it, by slowly building up your physical strength and concentrating to reach your goals.
The keys to this resistance circuit are:
- Perform a circuit consisting of 10 exercises by doing 3 sets of 10 repetitions each without a rest. The aim of this is to maintain a rate of intensity.
- Choose an adequate weight. It is important that you find it hard to perform the exercise, which is not a simple task, but choose a weight where you can properly execute the movement.
- Combine exercises to work different muscle groups effectively, so you don't exhaust any particular muscle too much.
- Do this circuit 3 or 4 times a week and always leave a rest day in between.
The recommended resistance exercises are:
Squat to work your glutes. They tone the buttocks, thighs, hips and lower back, as they are one of the most complete leg exercises. Start doing squats with the weight of your own body, always ensuring that the buttocks are lower at the back and your knees do not exceed your toes. When you achieve some strength, you can squat with dumbells weighing 10, 12 or 15 kilos to increase the muscular workout.
With this complete exercise, you'll work the abdomen, external obliques, glutes, hamstrings and rectus femoris muscles, as well as gaining strength. Read this OneHowTo article for a full guide on how to do plank exercises correctly.
Pull-ups are one of the most complete exercises and are used for toning arms and back muscles by working the biceps, teres major, the lats, trapezius and rhomboids. To carry them out, you can use a bar or use a machine to help you in the gym. These allow you to develop the exercise with the help of weights in case you can't lift your own weight.
They are also called lunges and help to work the gluteus and quadriceps muscles, so boost leg toning. Like squats, it is important that when you lower the knee you never exceed the toes, thus avoiding injury. In this case, you must perform 30 repetitions per leg.
Whilst lying with your back on a mat with your hands behind your head and legs on your chest, you should try to touch your knee with the opposite elbow. Perform 30 repetitions on each side.
Press-ups work important muscles such as the pectorals, deltoids, shoulders and triceps, which make them a complete exercise. Taking care of your posture and performing the exercise properly is important. So if you're starting them for the first time, you can support your knees or use a fitball to support some of your weight. Once you gain some strength, you can perform the exercise with just your toes supporting you.
Continuing with exercises to tone the buttocks, lie on a mat on your back with your knees bent, support the arms and raise your hips and then back down to the starting position. Repeat 30 times.
Whether you're using a fitball, lying down on a mat or using the machine to train this area, do 30 repetitions of classic full abdominal sit-up in order to strengthen this susceptible area. If you can't manage a full sit-up, stick to crunches to work your upper abs.
Lateral leg lifts
To work the hip abductors and tone your legs, lateral leg lifts are the best choice. Lie sideways on a mat and lift the unsupported leg, then return to the starting position. Repeat 30 times on each leg.
This exercise will work the deltoids, pectoralis major, triceps and dorsal muscles. Whilst seated or lying on a bench, take a couple of weights, bend your arms up to chest height and raise them above your head, then return to the starting position. Remember to choose a weight that you find hard to work with. If it is very light, you won't properly achieve your goal of burning fat.
Finish your training with cardiovascular exercise
Once you have done your weights and resistance circuit, you will conclude your fat burning workout with cardiovascular exercise that will help you to burn calories and fat during physical activity. But it's not sufficient to walk at a moderate pace, so in order to achieve what you want, you should:
- Choose activities that allow you to maintain a constant intensity during exercise, such as cross-training or cycling 2 or 3 times a week. Throughout the entire exercise, your rhythm should be similar but you should always push yourself. You'll know you're working at the right intensity when you find it hard to make conversation while you exercise. Dedicate 45 minutes to these cardio sessions.
- Once or twice a week, perform sessions at high intensity intervals, where they should last about 25 minutes, never more than 30. You can use the treadmill, cross-trainer or bike. The idea is that you alternate the rhythm, first at moderate intensity for 2 minutes, then run or pedal at high speed for 30 seconds, then return to the previous rate and so on for 25 minutes. When it comes to the treadmill, you can also play with the incline so it takes more effort.
- Always perform cardio exercise after resistance exercises. This way you'll protect your muscles more, ensure proper toning and promote greater fat burning.
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