Burning fat and losing weight is one of the most desired goals for January’s New Year’s Resolutions lists. Achieving this is something that requires several lifestyle changes, namely nutritional changes and including exercise in your daily routine. The combination of the right foods and the right exercise will increase the amount of fat your body burns for fuel and therefore the amount of fat you lose each week.
One the first things you should come to grips with is that your body will choose where the fat is removed. In other words, spot reducing is just not possible. It is possible to spot tone and have muscles in one area that are more toned than others, but you can’t choose where the fat will disappear from, no matter how hard you do those glute lift exercises.
And, it is important to be realistic about your goals. Some people have an easier time of losing fat from the body while others struggle longer to lose the same amount. You may achieve the same goal weight and measurements but it could take you longer than it takes your best friend. Another factor that is important to recognize is that although the muscles might be toned, you may have lost enough elasticity to the skin that it still may appear as if you are flabby.
The exercises that work to burn more fat from your body are twofold. The first are cardiovascular exercises, or those that are repetitive without using weight to strength training. These can include swimming, walking, running, ellipitical trainers, hoola hooping and biking. It is important to remember that working out for greater than 40 minute can increase the amount of cortisol your body secretes and therefore increases the amount of fat your body produces.
Cortisol is released as you move past cardiovascular activity for greater than 40 minutes.(1) Cortisol is a hormone that is necessary for fight or flight, but when not used immediately will cause fat to be laid down in the body for use as fuel later when you are either starving or in danger mode.
Another type of exercise that works to improve your overall balance of muscle and your ability to work well are plyometric exercises. These are a type of exercise that make the muscles exert maximum force in as short a period of time as possible. Basketball players use plyometrics get their bodies to jump higher. It increases muscular power and explosiveness and was originally developed to increase the potential of Olympic athletes.
And finally, you must incorporate weight training or strength training to keep your muscles burning calories all day and to develop lean muscle mass that improves your balance and reduces potential for lower back pain. Men may be more interested in gaining bulk and women in developing a lean and toned muscle mass – and weight training will do both.
Some women may be concerned about gaining bulk, but realistically it is the testosterone in the male body that increases the muscle mass. Women can gain mass, but it often requires a lot of time, work and supplementation. A rule of thumb to follow is low reps with high weight to build bulk and high reps with lower weights to build a lean and toned appearance.
(1) Journal of Strength Conditioning research: Effect of Exercise at Three Exercise Intensities on Salivary Cortisol
University of New Mexico: The Role of Cortisol in Concurrent Training
Womens Health: The 5 Minute Fat-Blasting Workout
Health: The 8 Best Fat-Blasters
Lean it UP: the 10 best exercises to burn fat and lose weight fast
Fitness Magazine: Fat Burning Workouts
Fitness: Torch Fat Fast: the 10 minute plyometric workout