For many people the initial goal is to reduce their body fat with particular emphasis on belly fat. There are some exercises which will improve your fitness in the long term but these are not always the exercises to increase body fat burn. We will now take a look at four training exercises for you to try which will significantly reduce your body fat content with particular emphasis around the belly area.
Interval training is not as complex as the description would suggest, it is simply bouts of high intensity/low intensity exercises which is alternated over a period of time. There is evidence to suggest that this type of training burns fat at a faster rate than typical cardiovascular training methods. This is done by encouraging the body to produce more growth hormone and adrenaline which are described as “fat burners”. In simple terms there are two ways to improve your cardiovascular fitness which are delivery of more oxygen to the heart and lungs or more efficient utilisation of oxygen at muscle level.
A simple exercise involves peddling on a fitness bike at a rate which is around 20% greater than your normal speed. If you can do this for between 30 and 60 seconds it is then time to bring the rate down to half of the “traditional level”. This put your body into rest mode and then the intensity which follows encourages your body to make better use of oxygen supplies at muscle level, thereby reducing the work required by your heart to pump oxygen around the body. It will obviously depend upon your basic level of fitness but it is advisable to do these 30 to 60 second bouts of high-intensity and low intensity training between 6 to 10 times.
There is also evidence that cardiovascular exercises will actually continue burning fat well after you have stopped which is obviously a great benefit to those looking to burn fat.
While running is seen by many as a more basic training method to reduce fat, increase muscle depth and improve fitness, you will benefit significantly more from this type of exercise if you are able to add intermittent sprint periods. We’re not necessarily talking about large sprints, anything between 10 and 20 yards, run at full pace will get your heart pumping, oxygen flowing and then bring it back down to normal running pace. Interestingly, if you are able to vary the type of terrain on which you run and sprint this will help your core. Running up hills will also reduce the chances of injury and also open up your hips thereby bringing more areas of your body into play.
When looking at intermittent sprinting it is imperative that you are warmed up prior to the run because there is a real danger of pulling hamstring muscles and tendons. Those who have tried intermittent sprinting as a means of increasing their fat burn will tell you that the next day you will feel tightness in your abdomen as your muscles are broken down and rebuilt. It is advisable to mix sprinting and running with general gym work so as not to focus on one particular area of your body and increase the chances of injury. Rest days are vital.
Joining two high-intensity exercises
While there are many different ways of maximising fat loss and keeping your heart rate high, one interesting tactic is to use two exercises which work opposing muscle groups. For example a dumbbell reverse lunge and a pull up on a bar will use very different muscle sets. If you carry out one set of reverse lunge exercises and then one set of pullups, your arms and back will rest during the lunges and your legs will rest during the pullups. In effect this is an intensity workout with built-in rest period for different muscles although it is also imperative that you take an actual rest period from both exercises. The rest period brings your body down to a normal activity levels so that when you do return to the intensity training, involving the two particular exercises, you get the maximum benefit. As with all types of intensity training, it is vital that these exercises are carried out at “high-intensity” which is well above your traditional level of exercise.
It is worth reiterating the fact that when doing this type of opposing muscle exercises it is vital that one set of muscles effectively has a rest period when switching to the second exercise and vice versa. The rest period must also be enough to ensure that you are able to carry out a predetermined number of sets of each exercise and do not stop halfway through.
Intense physical and mental workout
Working out in the gym can be a very lonely exercise and when you are carrying out intense exercises it can be difficult to stay motivated. One very interesting method used to maintain motivation, and also high-intensity is to pick two opposing exercises, such as a kettle bell swing and push-ups. Start with six repetitions of each, then five, then four (doing one repetition at a time then moving to the next alternate exercise)…… As with the double intensity training, the fact that you are focusing on two exercises which impact very different muscle groups effectively gives each group a rest after each exercise. If you can get into a rhythm with these particular exercises then the momentum very often takes over and helps you complete what are extremely useful repetitions.
As you become more used to this intense physical and mental workout you can add one or two additional exercises to make it more challenging, more stimulating and more motivational. In many ways this particular exercise, counting down from six repetitions to one repetition, assists greatly with motivation and mind focus. The vast majority of people who begin a new exercise regime often talk of the mental and motivational challenges as much as the physical aspects.