If you have been focused on getting rid of excess fat around your waistline, thighs and hips, you are one in a million. Most personal trainers are asked very frequently about the best way to accomplish this feat in the shortest amount of time and the answer is always the same: Cardiovascular exercise is necessary in order to burn fat. There are many beliefs that have become popular amongst exercise enthusiasts and professionals alike regarding what type of cardio burns more fat, the length of time you need to exercise in order to promote fat burning and more. Read the following tips to help you the next time you hit the treadmill or walking trail:
The source of your energy while exercising is predominantly from carbohydrates or fat. Your body relies on carbohydrate and fat as energy sources all of the time, but in different percentages depending on the activity and your level of fitness. When you are exercising at a high intensity, the main source of energy is carbohydrate and at a low intensity, fat is the predominate source. We have large stores of fat so low intensity work can be maintained for long periods. If you are an athlete, your body will shift to burning fat sooner than someone who is unfit. So from an energy efficiency point of view, it pays to be fit. However, to keep it simple and applicable to most people, none of this matters too much when it comes to weight loss. While there is a ‘fat burning zone’ that exists which relies on fitness levels and the duration and intensity of exercise, the most important factor for weight loss is energy expenditure (calories).
You will burn more calories if you exercise for a long period of time at a high intensity than if you cut your workout short and don’t challenge yourself or push your limit. So keep challenging your body with moderate to intense workouts most days of the week to burn calories regardless if the energy source is fat or carbs.
So which exercises will burn more calories? The ones that use your lower body muscles like walking, jogging, biking, and skiing to name a few. Your lower body muscles like your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps are larger muscles and will burn more calories than your upper body muscles. But keep in mind that higher intensity exercises will yield a higher number of calories burned. For example, if you are a 140 lb woman, a 30 minute brisk walk will burn about 126 calories but you will burn about 340 calories during a 30 minute run.
There is no such thing as ‘spot training’. There is no magic ‘fat wand’ that decides where you will diminish fatty tissues from your body. Genetics play a large part when it comes to how your body will change when you are working hard to lose weight. Your body will go through a transformation as an entire unit, not just one body part at a time. However you can definitely control which muscles get stronger, more toned or larger through strength training particular muscle groups. Re-size and strengthen your biceps, triceps, quadriceps or other muscles through consistent and challenging exercises using weights, bands, balls or even your own body weight.
Keep yourself motivated by changing the type of exercises you do to prevent boredom and set goals for yourself for pounds or inches lost. While there is a ‘fat burning zone’ for everyone that is unique, pay more attention to burning calories if your goal is to lose weight. Keep it simple by challenging yourself and pushing your limits instead of worrying about where the fat loss is occurring anatomically.
Thanks for reading! Have a healthy week!