There are so many misconceptions surrounding the best ways to exercise for fat loss. The legends at BodyScience wrote this article to help you to eliminate some confusion and help you improve your results!
Spot reducing fat from your stomach or thighs, for example, is impossible. The concept of targeted fat loss or spot reduction follows the false belief that training a specific muscle or muscle group will result in fat loss in that area of the body. There really is no better way to explain why spot reduction is a myth than by telling you that the only thing exercises actually target is muscles, not the fat that is covering those muscles.
So then how do you lose that fat from the specific spot you want to lose it from? Simple. You need to lose overall body fat. How? You create a caloric deficit through either your diet, exercise, or an ideally a combination of both.
If your goal is fat loss, going to town on the treadmill for hours a day isn’t the best way to achieve this. Yes, traditional cardio workouts will help to increase your calorie deficit (in addition to a healthy diet), which is essential for losing fat. But the most effective way to burn fat, increase your metabolism and improve your body composition is to build muscle.
And the best way to build muscle? Strength training! Having more lean muscle mass helps your body burn more calories at rest. Therefore, the most effective fat loss program will include a combination of strength training, cardio and a proper nutrition strategy.
This is my favourite! Many women are afraid to lift weights because they are afraid of getting bulky, and by that, they generally mean gaining a significant amount of muscle mass. It’s pretty hard for women to bulk up from a normal strength training routine because they don’t have nearly as much testosterone as men. Strength training is actually the most effective way to build muscle and lose fat and create sexy curves. Women who carry a lot of muscle have likely worked very hard for it over a significant amount of time.
Your body creates sweat to cool you off when your body temperature gets too high. How much you sweat depends on the number of sweat glands you have (more glands equal more sweat). Women tend to have more sweat glands than men, but men’s glands are more active, so they sweat more. The amount you sweat also depends on how hot it is, how intensely you’re exercising and what you are wearing.
The weight we lose through sweating is replenished as soon as we rehydrate. So don’t use the amount you sweat as an indicator as to the number of calories you’ve burned – worry about your training duration and intensity. If you do a 60-minute training session and don’t sweat at all, you have still burned the same amount of calories as if you sweat out an ocean.
If you think that doing a lot of reps with low weights will give you that shredded look, think again. Many think that performing higher reps with a lighter weight burns more fat and ‘tone’ the muscle, whereas lower reps with a heavier weight build muscle and make you look bulky.
The first thing you need to realize is that when you want to lose body fat, it is going to be primarily determined by your diet. That is, you need to be in a calorie deficit. Therefore, the only way that higher repetitions would allow you to lose fat is if you were burning more calories than you were consuming.
In order to stimulate your muscles in the most efficient manner, you need to give them a variety of stimuli in training, which means variation in reps, tempo, volume, frequency, different lifting techniques etc. The focus of your training should always be to lift heavier because to grow you have to progressively overload your muscles i.e. demand more of your muscles over time.
Therefore the best way to lose fat is to lift challenging weights using a variety of rep ranges and loads while in a calorie deficit!
Have you crawled out of bed and reluctantly performed your morning cardio while half asleep because you have been told that it burns more fat? I know I have. Well thankfully, you don’t have to anymore!
In a study for the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine, twenty young females, all healthy and with recent aerobic training experience (but not resistance training) were divided into two groups.
All participants were prescribed the same calorie-restricted diet along with the same steady-state cardio routine. The only variable was that one group (FED) would be given a shake before performing cardio, while the other (FASTED) would wait to consume the shake post-workout.
The results? Everyone lost fat, but it had nothing to do with fasting or not fasting. It seems what the participants benefitted from the most was the fact that all subjects were on calorie-restricted diets. Therefore, you can eat before you do cardio or eat after, as long as you are in a calorie deficit!
Want to get the best results in the most effective and efficient way possible? Then don’t fall into these traps! Remember, knowledge is power.
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