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Best Exercise for Fat Loss

Best-exercise-for-fat-lossWhat is the best exercise for fat loss: Exercise is not the key to fat loss, diet and the right nutrition are. However if you’re on one of the Paleo Works programs or consuming a similar caveman style diet, high intensity intermittent exercise is the best exercise for fat burn, to improve fitness and can accelerate weight loss, though only when associated with the correct nutrition. This point is key.

What is high intensity intermittent exercise?  Periods of brief intensive exercise interspersed with periods of relative rest.  Not for the faint-hearted true but take a look at this study on the effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women..impressive !

And what we are looking for is the best exercise for fat loss: a method of exercise that delivers.

Cycling, rowing , running, swimming all adapt well to this form of training and all can take place outdoors away from the gym however if you are not fit, very overweight but generally well, it makes sense to build up a basic level of fitness before you start.

Walking is great and gets you out doors, you can build on that, resistance training will strengthen and tone your body.  Build up the intensity to include some light jogging, cycling and soon you will know you ‘[e ready to do more and then work with your body – it’s not rocket science!

How does it work?

It’s simple..intersperse relative rest periods with intense “sprint” periods.  The length of these sprint periods can be built up over time but a  programme might look like this:

Running:

Warm-Up: jog for a couple of minutes then…

Sprint: long and hard at high intensity: push hard for ten seconds

Jog in relative rest for 30 seconds

Pick up the pace again and sprint: long and hard for ten seconds

Back down again gentle jog for 30 seconds

And repeat this cycle for between 6 and 10 sprints

Cool Down with some gentle jogging.

Audrey-HepburnExercising in this way is truly exhilarating.  Try it and see.  Start with one of these sessions per week the build upon the number of sessions and then build up and vary the intensity of the sessions:  How?

Increase the number of sprints, extending the time of the sprints, putting more effort into the sprints, shortening your rest time lengthening the session times – the beauty of this exercise is it is free and it works with you, (outdoors, fresh air) and it is amazing fun with the kids (who love to operate the stop watch and challenge us)

Feel free to adapt this to cycling and rowing: warm up sprint hard on your bike, relative rest, pick up the pace again, sprint hard (12-15 seconds to start) relative rest  (45 seconds) and don’t forget to cool down at the other end.  There are endless variations.  Play with it and see.  And the good news?  You are shredding more fat in less time than any other exercise.  And best of all, anecdotal evidence suggests that this type of exercise does not cause an increase in appetite.

In this way we feel we are moving like our ancestors connecting with our past, tuning into our bodies, working our bodies naturally and feeling alive.

And the science?  A review of High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss concludes that:

“the effect of regular aerobic exercise on body fat is negligible, read The Truth About Exercise; however, other forms of exercise may have a greater impact on body composition. For example, emerging research examining high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) indicates that it may be more effective at reducing subcutaneous and abdominal body fat than other types of exercise. The mechanisms underlying the fat reduction induced by HIIE, however, are undetermined. Regular HIIE has been shown to significantly increase both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. HIIE also significantly lowers insulin resistance and results in a number of skeletal muscle adaptations that result in enhanced skeletal muscle fat oxidation and improved glucose tolerance.”

This then is the best exercise for fat loss.

Try it and see, tell us what you feel exercising in this way?  We welcome your feedback and to hear of your experiences.

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The Truth About Exercise

Gym-HellWhether needing to lose weight or just desiring to be a little leaner, the advice is the same. Eat less, exercise more! Simple,, right? Well it seems not and looks like we’ve all been pretty well brain washed by the propaganda put out by the media and governments alike. It’s time to reveal ‘the truth about exercise’ and it’s role in weight loss.

Adding aerobic exercise to a restrictive diet rarely works for the long-term shedding of fat….ever wondered why?

There is no doubt that exercise can be beneficial for general health and well-being.  Resistance exercise will also enhance the strength and appearance of your body but fat loss?

Exercise-for-weight -lossWatch television shows such as Obese: a Year to Save My Life or the biggest loser and the like, you will come away with the notion that the best form of exercise for fat loss is “aerobic” activity that is any form of exercise that can be sustained for long periods: running, jogging, cycling, walking, body pump. zumba.  The theory is that exercise will increase the amount of calories burned by the body and that this combined with a restrictive diet will result in weight loss, this is of course wrong as shown by BBC 2 Horizon programme – The Truth About Exercise.

This conventional wisdom is yet another diet myth and certainly needs challenging. The following review Long Term Effectiveness of Diet plus Exercise versus Diet Only For Weight Loss takes into account several studies and concludes that in each case, regular exercise (specifically including aerobic exercise into the diet plan 30 minutes for 4 -5 day per week) had only a tiny impact, a total average additional fat loss of no more than 1 kg over the year per person.

Let’s look a little deeper.  Take 30 minutes of jogging at a good steady pace.  This will burn 300 calories over the half hour.  Surfing the internet over the same period of time will burn approximately 50 calories.  The additional calorie burn through physicalPaleo-diet-and-exercise activity is therefore 250 calories per day and over the week, 5 days of exercise equates to 1,250 calories.  Hoping that each calorie burnt is fat and hoping too that the additional exercise will not make you hungry and eat more and noting that to lose one pound of fat you have to burn 3,500 calories: over the week you will have lost a third of a pound of fat.  Is the trade-off worth it?

However one of the most obvious problems for losing weight through aerobic exercise is the fact that the exercise itself can bring on hunger.  Go home from the gym and eat a couple of digestive biscuits or drink a pint of beer on the way home and the hard work is undone.  Many others are caught in the trap of using food as a reward following effort and it can be hard to break free from this habit particularly if the exercise is not something you would choose to do.

Prolonged exercise can increase your stress levels which will lead to increased levels of the stess hormone cortisol in your body.  Raised cortisol levels will predispose the body to fat gain.  Look out for a new post we are currently writing on the effect of raised cortisol levels on the body.  Finally, pushing yourself aerobically at the gym can be exhausting particularly if you are very overweight.  The natural consequence of which is that you will be more sedentary during the day than you might otherwise have been and give yourself more opportunities to eat (if sitting in front of the television is one of your eating triggers).

Wait a minute…look at any marathon runner or long distance cyclist: they’re not fat!  Exercise must make you thin!  Well no..current research suggests that those of us who are more naturally fit and lean are more likely to take up these sports..kind of obvious really?  Some of us accumulate fat first and then become more sedentary thus the effort of running a marathon is less appealing.

Aerobic exercise is terrific for elevating mood and will help reduce the risk of chronic disease.  It is not however advocated for fat loss.

So there you have it, the truth about exercise and weight loss. Did you know that there is a form of exercise that is genuinely effective for fat loss?  What do you think this it is?

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