So What's the best exercise for fat loss?
First of all let's establish exercise is not the key to fat loss, diet and the right nutrition are.
Wow now that's certainly a statement to put the cat amongst the pigeons. It's true though as you will see. Losing weight is not dependent on exercise! This is merely a tool fad diets use to force fat burn ( a temporary fix, with limited results).
Now don't get me wrong exercise does have it's uses. For instance if you're on one of the Paleo Works program or consuming a similar caveman style diet, high intensity intermittent exercise is the best exercise for fat burn, improve fitness and 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:
- 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.
ExhilaratingExercising 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.
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, 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."