As Personal Trainers, weight loss and fat loss are THE most common goals our clients have, and while nutrition plays a large part in achieving this goal, so does exercise. So, we spoke with Alex Hendrick, Fitness Course Crusader for the Australian Institute of Fitness, SA, to find out what top five exercises we can recommend our clients, or do ourselves, that can help achieve this goal.
#1 High-Intensity Interval Training
HIIT was named one of the most popular forms of training for 2016 and for good reason. High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT has many benefits for the exerciser. It encompasses many short bouts of high-intensity effort with a small amount of rest in between and is best performed with traditional cardio exercises such as running, swimming, cycling and rowing. The beauty of this style of training is that it is very time efficient and puts the body under a good amount of stress.
This ‘stress’ takes the body time and energy to recover from which is when all the fat burning is done, YES, you continue to burn calories even after the workout! We also get most of the benefits that traditional long slow distance cardio brings to your heart and lungs in half the time. The secret benefit this form of training gives is that it increases the amount and size of your mitochondria. Mitochondria is the cell in the body responsible for oxidizing carbohydrates and fat. The more you have in your body, the more likely you will be able to use fat as a fuel source.
#2 Long Slow Distance Cardio
Traditionally, this form of exercise was the King for fat burning exercises. However, with recent findings it has been knocked off its mantle, only just sneaking into this list. The reason why this type of exercise was previously so popular was because of the fat burning zone you can enter when performing at a low to moderate intensity. However, this is relatively ineffectual to the other forms of exercise as all the calories are burnt during the workout. There is not a long recovery period, so the total amount of potential fat burnt is lower.
The reason why LSDC makes the list, is because one of the big adaptations to this type of training is the increase in Mitochondria. The pathway to create more of this fat burning organelle is different from HIIT which means these 2 forms of exercise supplement each other perfectly. If you were only to do one, you would miss out on the fat burning ability of the other. Furthermore, HIIT cannot be done all the time as the risk for injury is higher. LSD cardio can be performed more often and is also an excellent recovery option. So to summarise… Do Both!
#3 Resistance Training
Picking up heavy weights and putting them down has traditionally been a male dominant form of exercise. However, this trend is beginning to change, with more and more females hitting the dumbbells and barbells in their local gyms. The reason behind this stems from the significant effect building lean muscle has on fat burning in the body. Recovering from weight training requires a lot of energy, so the body will use stored fat deposits to help with this process.
Furthermore, muscle requires a lot more energy and effort for the body to maintain than fat. So by having more, you will increase your metabolic rate. The big compound movements are your best bang for the buck in regards to weight training and fat burning. The more muscles you use, the more energy required, the more calories burned.
#4 Circuit Training
Combining both resistance training and cardio, circuits are excellent ways to shed unwanted fat. Sports such as Crossfit and other franchise circuit classes are well known for their ability to increase fitness & strength to continually produce lean and athletic bodies. Exercise selection is critical when completing circuits, especially when performed at high intensity. As fatigue levels increase, the likelihood for poor technique becomes more likely.
This can lead to injuries, so one has to be mindful that they take the time to learn the exercises before they start participating in high-intensity circuits. However, they are a great option for diverse workouts and have great potential to burn lots of fat.
#5 Boxing/Martial Arts
If you are a Personal Trainer who does not offer Boxing as part of your services, your clients may be missing out on a very effective fat burning form of exercise. The full body muscle requirements to throwing a punch are extremely high. If done with good technique and high intensity, boxing sessions can rival any form of exercise for calories burnt. Plus, the added bonus is that most people really enjoy hitting something.
It can be a lot of fun to wallop some trainer pads or get stuck into a boxing bag. If you add kicking and other grappling techniques you can create some really diverse and challenging sessions. This is a great form of exercise for anyone who gets bored with lifting weights or traditional cardio.