Research has shown that an average British woman spends 31 years on a diet, and one entire year of her lifetime worrying about her weight and counting calories. This sounds rather grim, doesn’t it? Do you think this might be true for you as well? If the answer is yes, keep reading on. If you are way more keen on exercising than you are on dieting, it turns out there are plenty of easy tricks you could use to shed that extra kilos without the need to go too restrictive on your eating habits.
1. A morning warm-up
A simple but ingenious tip is to exercise in the morning, while still on an empty stomach. It may be a little hard to accomplish but it is definitely worth the effort, as research has shown that fasting, i.e. staying without food for a longer period of time, causes an increase in adrenalin levels and a drop in insulin levels. This prepares favourable conditions for fat to be broken down into energy.
2. Don’t go solo
If you prefer to exercise in traditional hours and in a traditional way, i.e. in the gym, you must have experienced a common problem which is the loneliness of solo workouts. Taking the same studio classes each week is pretty monotonous as well. The solution is simple: team up! Get yourself that extra motivation injection, and add diversity to your fitness habits by joining a basketball, volleyball, or even football club. What is more, the listed examples of sport disciplines will also help you burn fat as they include regular bursts of speed (interval workout).
3. Leave the man out
It is worth noting that teaming up is not a universal advice. If you have a habit of exercising together with your boyfriend, you’d better drop it. Men will always burn more calories than women as they weigh more, plus women, as prospective child bearers, are protected from excessive fat loss by Mother Nature herself. Why get depressed by futile comparisons? Going solo is definitely a better choice in this case.
4. Beware of the food alarm
Your body is not tricked easily, and after an intensive workout it immediately tries to regain lost amounts of energy by demanding a solid amount of food. The trick is it that it tries to lead you to perceive it as a well-deserved award. Do not let yourself be fooled by it and eat normally, just as you would without exercising. Don’t waste the effort you’ve just made.
5. Turn up the dial
There is yet another way in which the body is attempting to regenerate itself. It is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) and – attention please! – it leads to an extra calorie burn. According to research, an intensive interval training results in a greater EPOC than a steady paced cardio workout, so for best results try to alternate spells of maximum effort and rest. You may like to try the so-called Tabata format, which consists in 8 periods of 20-second full work-out followed by 10-second recovery.
6. Up and down
Speaking of alternating, it is also a good idea to switch between upper and lower body exercises. It helps burn even more calories as it makes your cardiovascular system work harder. This is because the heart is challenged to keep up with your training and manage to pump enough blood to both spheres of the body to deliver oxygen to keep the muscles fueled. This method has a name–Peripheral Action Training– and it offers an additional plus of allowing you to finish with the workout quicker as muscle groups get enough time to rest and it is easier to move from one exercise to another.
7. The power of harmony
Choosing exercises that engage entire muscle groups instead of only selected muscles is a good idea in itself, as they help you lose more fat due to the fact that they are more demanding. An exemplary workout of this type would be 15 repetitions of such exercises as squat, chest press, deadlift and lateral pull downs. You may give yourself a 2-3 minute break and go over the sequence once or a couple of times more if you wish.
8. Jump the fat out
Have you tried jump training already? Also known as plyometric exercises, it emerged in Eastern Europe as a form of athletic training in the 1970s. It is about stretching the muscles, and then rapidly contracting them. A similar type of motion is in tennis, volleyball or skiing, so if you are a fan of these, you will take to jump training as well. An additional incentive might be the fact that – surprise! – this type of training is very energetically demanding and therefore very effective when it comes to fat loss.
9. Get that mass working
Did you know that a kilogram of additional lean tissue can burn an extra 100 calories within 24 hours? The precious muscles can be built up by lifting heavier weights while making fewer repetitions. There is no need to worry about acquiring a masculine look – as women we don’t have enough testosterone to get really bulky unless we work on it very hard. The idea is well worth considering if you realize that a resistance training programme might enrich your body with as much as 3 kg of muscle, which will make you use up an extra 300 calories while simply carrying on with your normal activity. Over a year this will enable you to lose an impressive 14 kg of fat.
10. Don’t pull, bear
In fact, all activities involving weight-bearing, i.e. the ones where you have to support your weight (e.g. running, walking) , are good fat-burners. Certainly more so than activities where your weight is supported (swimming, cycling etc). Therefore, for optimum fat loss, it’s good to include them in your fitness plan as well.
11. Forget the insignificant
Forget arm exercises, especially – the truth is there’s absolutely no need to devote your time to them if you do more comprehensive exercises such as press-up, barbell chest press or incline dumbbell press. These will tone your triceps too, and exercises such as bent over barbell row or lateral pull-down are both targeting your back and forming your biceps. In other words, if you focus on bigger muscles, the small ones will benefit from that as well.
12. Forget exercise
Of course, we are only speaking of gym exercise here. It turns out you might actually skip your gym training sometimes as you are already doing a solid amount of exercise without even realizing it. Research has shown that during such activities as standing, moving, and even fidgeting there occurs a phenomenon termed non-exercise activity thermogenesis (incidentally, shortened to NEAT), which can bring about a calorie burn adding up to as much as 350 calories a day. This equals a moderately intense 60-minute gym class. Now, isn’t that a neat reason to choose to go talk to people face to face rather than by phone or mail? Even standing in queues can be beneficial. Even getting off a sofa on a TV night to move a bit… unless it’s to get a pack of crisps. Still, even doing that wouldn’t hurt since, as we’ve just shown, there is so many ways to quickly lose that fat anyway.