Burn more fat during your workouts

Darren Ellis

Darren Ellis MSc, coaches youth, world champs and regular people in real world, effective strength training and nutrition to improve fitness, sport performance and body composition.  Check out his old school gym at www.Crossfit.co.nz

What type of exercise do you think of when it come to burning bodyfat?  You thought cardio right?

That is usually the answer, so don't feel bad. Even most personal trainers usually guess, "crunches", or "cardio" as the best method. This may come as a shock, but none of those work best, or even work at all!


The truth of the matter is that cardio is not the best way to burn fat by a long shot.

I know it’s hard to believe.  Just take a look inside of any big gym to see row upon row of cardio machines, often with a queue of people waiting to get on them.  But look a little closer and you’ll notice that almost everyone using them is overweight. "Well that's why they are at the gym!" you say.  True enough, but ask them how long they've been a member, and then how much fat they've lost.  The answer is likely "One year, and none"

In fact, the only people I know who have successfully lost a significant amount of fat through cardio alone are those that were competitive runners or triathletes, training for hours every day.

The real key to losing fat fast is intensity.  Increase the overall intensity of your workouts by adding resistance training and increasing the intensity of your cardio by switching to interval training.

There’s no denying that steady cardio does burn fat – bodybuilders use it successfully to lean up for competition; however, as well as their regular training they perform up to two hours of cardio every day!  Most men and women with jobs and lives outside of the gym simply don’t have the time for hours of exercise, and thus can’t depend on slow cardio workouts to get lean.

Just to clarify that last paragraph - If you are not a bodybuilder or triathlete, then you can't get in shape using a bodybuilder's or triathlete's program.

If you want to get maximum fat burning results in minimum workout time you need to do this:

Give your warmup a facelift

Let me guess, you warm up by riding the stationary bike for 5 minutes right?  Why not supercharge that time and start burning fat right away?  Run through this light bodyweight circuit 2-3 times for 5-10 reps per exercise, and not only will you have burnt a bit more fat than cycling, but you’ll be better prepared for the workout to follow, as well as injury proofing your joints.

•    Squats
•    Pushups
•    Situps
•    Lunges
•    T-rotation (pushup position, lift one hand and point to the ceiling)
•    Mountain climber (sprinter stance, switch feet with a quick jump)

Burn fat by lifting weights

It’s true; building muscle helps you to burn fat – where do you think your fat is burned anyway?  That’s right, in the muscle, so the more you have, the leaner you get.

Try this basic routine three times a week if you’re new to it.

•    Dumbbell Squats
•    Inverted Row
•    Dumbbell Walking Lunge
•    Pushup
•    Perform 12-15 reps of each exercise as a circuit 3-5 times.  Take as little rest as possible between exercises.  Rest 60-90 seconds after each circuit.  If you are a more advanced trainee, add in exercises such as hig rep cleans and deadlifts, box jumps, burpees and pushpresses.

Circuit training using big-muscle-group exercises offer a serious metabolism boost. What that means is your body will burn body fat for HOURS after your workout has finished. Slow cardio only has fat burning benefits during the workout.

Intervals get you fitter and leaner, faster

After your resistance training, finish with 10-20 minutes of interval training.  Interval training is simply periods of all-out effort followed by easy recovery.  Choose a cardio machine, or get outside and swim/bike/cycle/run.  Perform a quick warmup, then do a few intervals, followed by an easy cool-down. You don't need a lot of intervals to get great fat burning results, and don’t forget they are pretty tough, so start off with 5-8 sets of 30 seconds effort, with 60 seconds of rest.  As you get fitter, add sets and experiment with both shorter and longer intervals.

There you have it – 3 ways to supercharge your workouts for maximum fat burning.  Stick to your schedule, you'll be in and out of the gym in 45 minutes.  Compare that to what most people do, which is run, jog, cycle or use the cardio machines for 45 minutes straight. Sure, that will burn calories, but it doesn't build a better body.

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  • New Member says
    Choice, Cardio smokes he he he he
  • Nos4R2D2 says
    Great tips! I have saved this article and will share with friends.

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