We would all like to burn a little more fat when we exercise but it’s actually rather hard to
understand what the most effective fat burning exercises are to optimise your
workout. In recent years, research has shown that interval training workouts
have a much greater effect on your body’s ability to burn calories and fat than
more prolonged, less intense workouts like long distance running. High
intensity training is based on short blasts of hard, more intense exercise
alternated with short periods of rest or gentle activity. So, those 5k and 10k
runs you’ve been putting yourself through every week aren’t actually the most
effective way to burn fat or even to get fit and here’s why;
Interval workouts burn more calories and more fat, more quickly overall compared to longer, slower cardio. This is because
there is a greater increase in growth hormone and adrenaline, both of whichburn fat and help suppress appetite.
It also keeps you burning fat after your workout has finished, allowing for optimum calorie and fat burning.
Interval training helps your muscles use oxygen more efficiently, therefore the heart doesn’t have to pump as hard to make them
perform. This helps get you fitter quicker.
The general guide to stick to is 30-60 seconds of hard, intense work (either running, cycling or whatever you prefer) alternated
with 30-60 seconds of easier, gentler movement i.e. walking or gentle pedalling
but you mustn’t stop completely. It is important to keep active in some way
throughout the period of exercise. As this becomes easier (and you get fitter)
increase the length of the intense period and reduce the length of the rest
If you don’t reduce your exercise to ‘easy’ then you aren’t doing anything different from your regular cardio workout and you
will struggle to keep up the high intensity blasts.
You only need to do a 20 minute high intensity
fat burning workout 3 – 4 times a week to reap the benefits. It makes it much
easier to fit around your daily routine and work life.
Be warned however, you can’t out run a chocolate bar! Doing high intensity interval training isn’t
going to change your body shape if you continue to eat badly. In most cases,
even the best workouts can’t have an effect on the body without changing a bad
diet. For example, a young male performing 20 minutes of interval training will
only burn on average 139 calories. If you order pizza that night, which comes
in at around 300 calories per slice, then the training you are doing won’t make
a dent on your calorific intake. You would need to do the same level of
intensity training for 45 minutes to an hour to burn off that kind of calorie
consumption. Don’t starve yourself, the best thing is to eat healthily, cut out
processed foods and keep things like pizza, take out and sweets for a treat. Processed
foods can often leave you sluggish and foods that are high in sugar will give
you an energy slump so try and stick to natural sugars from fruits and
wholegrain produce for prolonged energy release to optimise your fat burning
workout. You will find improving your diet will give you more energy day to day
as well as for your workouts.