5 Great Calorie Burning Exercises for Maxing Your Fat Loss
Sometimes, it feels like there are as many ways to exercise as leaves on the trees. Whether you're a yoga nut, an expert spinner, or a lifelong lifter, you've got a world of options. The trouble is, rather than being liberating, too much choice can result in workout paralysis.
While weight loss isn't the only fitness goal, it's a big deal for many gym goers. So, what's the best way to torch fat fast? If the priority is to blitz calories, which exercises are most valuable? Should you go cardio crazy or stick with bodyweight? Is it all about free weights and floor moves or does the elliptical reign supreme?
First, we've got to define value in the context of weight loss. The big difference between cardio and high intensity resistance training is Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). In short, resistance workouts don't end with your gym sesh. When muscles are trained, they continue to burn calories for the rest of the day - long after any exercise.
For this reason, cardio is a less effective choice. It burns more calories 'on the spot' but, without targeting the muscles, EPOC is limited. Muscle tissue, on the other hand, is beastly stuff. It requires a lot of oxygen and fuel from calories. So, for the fastest fat burn, work the major muscle groups. In short bursts (20-45 mins), exercise to exhaustion, with minimal pauses (10-30 secs).
Here are 5 calorie burning exercises and tips on maxing your fat burn:
1. Resistance Training (300-500 cals/hr)
Resistance (or weight) training encompasses a huge variety of exercises. Though, it's loosely defined as any action that lifts or pulls against a resistant force. It might be free weights, resistance bands, a machine or just the weight of your own body. Squats, burpees, lunges, push ups, crunches, sit ups and deadlifts are popular choices.
Max Burn: Swap single muscle moves (bicep curls) for ones that target multiple muscles (deadlifts). If possible, prolong the 'strain' stage. For instance, when doing push ups, lower your body to the floor slowly. When shoulder pressing, lift slower than you drop.
2. Kettlebell Circuits (500-850 cals/hr)
Technically, kettlebell circuits are another type of resistance training. They're so versatile, however, that it's possible to work the whole body with kettlebells alone. If you can't get to a step or bench, they can be used for incline exercises. They're also a safe way to add explosive movement to upper body workouts.
Max Burn: For a fat burn that lasts up to one and half days (really), keep circuits short and intense. Try switching rapidly between kettlebell swings, squats and push presses. Rest for no longer than 20 seconds per set. It's a tough routine, but it'll be over quickly.
3. Stair Climbing (400-650 cals/hr based on 70 steps per minute)
Stair climbing is, primarily, a cardio activity. However, if you do it fast enough, it becomes anaerobic exercise and burns more calories. It's got to be quick enough to make breathing difficult. You need to work to total exhaustion, in brief bursts, to find that sweet spot. Try running flat out for 20 seconds, followed by 40 seconds at half speed. Repeat.
Max Burn: Incorporate resistance training by holding a dumbbell in each hand during climbs.
4. Treadmill Running (550-850 cals/hr based on a 10min mile)
For a long time, running was touted as one of the best ways to lose weight. Now, we know steady state running - one speed for extended periods - burns relatively few calories for the time invested. So, if you're tied to the treadmill, vary your routines. Run up an incline or switch between flat out sprints (60 seconds) and walking (30 seconds).
Max Burn: If your gym allows, 'camp' out behind the treadmills. Bust out a resistance set. Then, jump straight on the machine for a 30-60 second sprint. Return to your resistance routine. Repeat. It's not easy, but it burns a lot of calories in a short space of time.
5. Stationary Bike (Spinning) (500-750 cals/hr)
Spinning is hugely popular right now. It's fast paced and more dynamic than treadmill and elliptical routines. Often, there's loud music and even a bit of a party atmosphere. While it burns more calories than running, it's still important to vary your technique. The more you 'shock' your body with irregular patterns, the harder it's got to work.
Max Burn: For a calorie burn that lasts all day (and then some), pedal flat out for 10 seconds. Follow with 50 seconds of rest. Repeat, but ADD 5 seconds to every sprint and TAKE AWAY 5 seconds from every rest.
If your primary goal is weight loss, these workouts will help you supercharge every sweat session. If you're a personal trainer guiding a client through a weight loss journey, they can be used to speed up results. Don't forget to include recovery periods! When muscles are in EPOC afterburn, you can get away with taking the next workout a bit easier.
For more advice on exercise and healthy weight loss, follow us at @AmavenHealth. Like, retweet and share your gym tips with our community.