You burn, ironically, a lower percentage of calories from fat when you’re training at a higher intensity (70 to 90 per cent of HRmax), says Marco Ferdinandi, Regional Fitness Operations Director, Personal Training, at the Pure Fitness chain. However, when trying to lose weight, it’s total calories expended which counts. And it’s a no brainer – over the same amount of time, you burn more with high intensity activities than with low intensity ones.
Training using a high-rep strategy can also help you lose the pounds. Such training targets your body’s aerobic system, inducing slow-burn of calories. However, don’t go for higher reps and heavier weights – you’ll risk injuring yourself, says Malik. Reduce your lifting weight to 20-30% of your body weight, over 5 sets,10-12 reps.
Alternatively, opt for timed sets of between 1-2 minutes of high-intensity exercise instead of counting reps, says Ferdinandi. Take shorter rest periods (45 seconds, maximum) before starting on your next set. This cycle of work-to-rest will boost the production of fat-burning hormones, get your heart rate up, and use more calories.
The more you can involve big body, all-encompassing movements the better, says Ferdinandi. If you’re an experienced lifter, do such movements with free weights, add Malik. These exercises will give your core a good workout – and use up more calories.
– Kettlebell movements
– Dumbbell cleans
– Plyometric jumps
– Medicine ball workouts
But for novice lifters, big-body moves may affect your form and posture, says Malik. So, for maximum benefits without injuring yourself, try isolated movements such as the chest press and the leg press instead. True, such exercises may require you to spend more time before you see any results. But rush through your fat-loss regime and you may end up blowing out a socket.
For people who dislike weights and the gym, you can achieve fat-burn with just about any cardio activity – from running, rowing or swimming. Do remember to train for at least 30 to 45 minutes (if your body is up for it, that is) says Malik, because fat-burn will only begin after this time-range. Opt for non-impact exercises (such as cycling) if you have existing injuries.
You may be trying to lose weight, but that doesn’t mean that you should starve yourself. Working out on an empty stomach affects your performance, making it harder for you to burn fat, says Ferdinandi. A post-workout meal is also important. Eat to replace the carbohydrates you’ve used up. And add some good quality protein like tofu to help your muscles recover and grow.