Consider the following:
- 1 in 3 people are overweight or obese
- Strength training burns fat faster than cardio, interval training and other forms of exercise
Applying those 2 facts, there is a good chance that you may be looking to trim some fat from your body. If so, an understanding of how different types of exercise lead to health and wellness is required.
- Cardiovascular exercises are those which you can perform for a prolonged period of time. They elevate your heart rate, and keep it up. Dance aerobics, jogging, and running on a treadmill are all forms of aerobic exercise.
- Interval training requires altering your rate of speed and intensity. You sprint or do push-ups at your highest intensity for 30 seconds, then follow that up with 90 seconds of jogging or resting. You follow that process for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Strength training requires pushing or lifting weights through space. This could be as simple as curling a set of dumbbells, or performing body weight exercises. Strength training often involves cyclical forms of exercises, performed in sets of a certain number of repetitions.
The way strength training outperforms other traditional exercises in the fat burning department has to do with Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). Very little of this occurs after cardio exercise. You do burn calories and fat while you are enjoying a cardio workout, but this stops shortly after your exercise is over.
Interval training is much better than cardio exercises at burning calories and fat after your workout is over. Your metabolism functions at a higher rate for hours and hours after your interval training session. Unlike many cardio sessions, which can go for 45 minutes or over an hour, interval training sessions are recommended for 30 minutes or less.
Weight training, especially those movements that work multiple muscle groups, are even better than interval training for long-term fat loss and calorie burning. Health professionals now understand that after a weight training session, you can expect to burn calories for anywhere from 24 to 38 hours after you have finished your workout!
The long-term weight loss benefits come from a metabolism boost, and the fact that you are building muscle. Muscle burns a lot of fat, even when you are just sitting around. As your muscles are repairing over the next day or day and a half after you strength train, they require fuel to repair themselves. This comes from your fat cells, and the process burns calories as well. Choose weight training over other forms of exercise for maximum fat burning potential.
If you’re hitting the treadmill every day and are not seeing the numbers you want on the scale, then you are not alone! Plenty of people exercise regularly and yet they still cannot seem to shed the pounds. There could be a couple of reasons for this. True, a person could have a genetic issue – there are a variety of genetic issues that can make harder for a person to shed fat – but these genetic conditions are rare and it is far more likely that it is an issue with your diet or exercise, so let’s explore some of these issues a bit more in-depth.
1) You’re doing the wrong kind of exercise
Sure, you may be exercising regularly, but are you doing the right kind of exercise? While cardio is an important part of any good exercise regimen, cardio alone is not really the best way to go about burning fat. High-intensity interval training is probably the best way for people to burn fat. If you aren’t familiar with high-intensity interval training, it’s an exercise regimen wherein a person alternates between high-intensity exercises (like sprinting or squatting) for a small period of time and then switches to a lighter exercise for a small period, and then continues switching until the 15-minute session is over.
2) You aren’t cutting enough calories out of your diet
When you really break it down, losing fat is a simple process of calories in, calories out. The problem comes when people try to figure out just exactly how many calories they need to cut. You need to be careful when cutting calories. If you do not cut enough, you will not end up shedding enough fat, but if you cut too much, then you will not have enough energy to exercise regularly! Generally, you should aim to burn about 500 more calories than you consume each day. If you haven’t already gotten one of the many calorie tracking apps out there, you should get one immediately.
3) You’re not getting enough sleep
This may seem like an odd reason to be retaining fat, but believe it or not, sleep deprivation can really set back your weight loss efforts. There are two reasons for this. First off, sleep deprivation causes issues with the two hormones in your body that are responsible for controlling hunger (they are called ghrelin and leptin), which means you will be hungrier than you normally would be. Secondly, sleep deprivation causes your body to store more fat than it would under normal circumstances.
The truth is, sometimes you can be doing everything “right” and still struggle to see results. Remember, give it time! And don’t forget that you may actually be gaining pounds on the scale thanks to muscle, not fat!
If you’re struggling with belly fat, you’ve probably tried every diet possible. If those diets aren’t working for you it’s possible that the cause of your belly fat is really about your stress levels rather than your diet.
Stress isn’t always a bad thing. We need stress to help get through challenging experiences and to push us to do our best. But more and more we live in a world where stress becomes a chronic experience rather than something which happens once in a while.
When you experience chronic stress, your body begins producing a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that’s good when you’re experiencing a stressful situation. But when it’s produced all the time it begins to cause problems.
Cortisol causes your body to experience chronic inflammation and can direct fat stores directly to your belly. This situation can increase your risk of disease and it can cause you to age faster.
The good news is that you can reverse this problem by practicing stress reduction and management techniques. When you begin to soothe the inflammation in your body you can lose belly fat, reverse signs of aging, and reduce your risk of disease.
First, work to eliminate any stress that you can. For many people this means saying no to things to which you might usually say yes. Delegate any activities you can and clear your schedule as much as possible.
Next, learn to manage the stress that you can’t eliminate. Taking time to learn better time management and organization skills can cut back on stress. Daily meditation is also a good practice to help calm the stress that accumulates in your mind and body.
Another lifestyle factor that can greatly reduce cortisol levels is getting enough sleep. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep, but are getting far fewer. Make it a practice to go to bed at the same time each night to get into a sleep routine.
Cut off caffeine a few hours before bed and stop looking at electronic devices an hour or two before bed time. If you still have a hard time falling asleep, you might consider taking the supplement melatonin to help you rest better.
Exercise and a healthy diet also go a long way toward supporting your body when it’s under stress. Exercise, in particular, helps with stress management.
By reducing your stress you can reduce your cortisol levels and ultimately be able to get rid of belly fat.