A quick guide to getting the most from your workout

Woman working outThe human body is a calorie burning machine and it get the fuel its needs from food. However, when the diet provides the body with more fuel than it needs the excess calories are stored as body fat.

Nobody wants that! But getting rid of unwanted body fat can be a difficult thing to do, even with diet and exercise, so it is important to make every effort to get the maximum calorie burning benefits during each and every workout.

But what are the best workouts for fat burning? We’ve put together a few suggestions below.

Cardio Intervals

Did you think the best way to burn calories on the treadmill was to find your pace and just keep plodding along for a while? Think again. Adding short sprints to your routine makes you burn extra calories because the muscles are forced to work harder without a sufficient supply of oxygen.

The process is called anaerobic conditioning and apart from creating a need for extra calories it encourages the muscles to perform better and grow bigger and stronger. Larger muscles burn more calories and some experts believe each pound of muscle tissue gained will require 30 to 100 extra calories per day. But the benefits of interval-type training do not end there, according to the American College of Sports Medicine; this type of training method may provide a metabolism boost that lasts up to 24 hours after training is ceased.

This kind of training can be adopted to fit most needs. Here are a few ideas:

  • Elliptical interval workout
  • Walk-run-walk-run . . . treadmill workout
  • Run-sprint-run-sprint . . . jogging session
  • A 30-minute interval exercise bike workout

Pumping-off the Pounds

Pumping IronPumping iron is a versatile exercise technique. It can help make you big and strong or just tone up the muscles and provide a nice firm body. As already stated earlier in this article, a little extra muscle is never a bad thing when you are trying to oust stubborn body fat. The other thing to remember is the weight lifting process requires energy, so calories are being burned during every rep and from the first set to the last and, according to the Mayo Clinic Website, every hour spent lifting weights burns 365 – 545 calories.

A few good fat blasting weight routines include:

  • Kettlebell workouts
  • A total-body video workout with dumbbells (10 mins+)
  • Pec Dec (3 x 15 rep sets)
  • Dumbbell lunges (4 x 15 rep sets)
  • Lateral Pulldowns (4 x 15 rep sets)
  • Barbell curls (3 x 15 rep sets)
  • Tricep extensions (3 x 12-15 rep sets)

Weight-free and Easy Workouts

You don’t need access to gym or expensive equipment to burn extra calories and lose weight. There are numerous forms of exercise that can be performed in the privacy of your own home or in a hotel room during a business trip or vacation.

  • Push upsPress Ups: Doing press ups is a good way to target the chest, biceps and triceps and, if the technique is done correctly (with a straight back), the back and abdominal muscles will also be targeted. So the humble press up can be very effective for improving core body strength. A little extra variety can be added by adopting different distances between the hands (wider to target the chest more, closer to really hit the triceps). It is also possible to use a stool or exercise ball to elevate the feet, forcing the shoulders and upper chest to work harder. Alternatively the really ambitious can add a little cardio to the routine by powering themselves away from the floor on each upwards push and clapping their hands between press ups.
  • Ab Crunches: Ab crunches are excelling for flattening the belly and improving core strength and, when done slowly, you can almost feel the calories burning as the muscles are put through their paces.
  • Squat Thrusts/Burpees: If you don’t work up a sweat and get out of breath while doing squat thrusts you are not doing them right. Begin by resuming the same position required to perform a press up, bring the feet in towards the shoulders and then thrust the feet back out into their original position. Using the same explosive technique bring them back to the squat position, thrust back out and keep going—the longer the better. The really fit and ambitious, who want to maximise the calorie burn involved, can do a variation called a burpee, and add a star jump after each squat. Burpees are one of the best fat burning exercises on the planet and, according to Just-Health.net, burpees burn 50% more calories than most other forms of strength exercise.

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