Fat burning workouts, Inferno Workout, Fat Shreds, Fat Ignition Programme, Fat Incineration Workout… These are all the terms used by vloggers or bloggers to attract people to view/buy their programme. Well, while some of them seem to contain effective contents, most of them contains mainly abs workout, sometimes in circuits and these, believe me, speaking from personal experience, is NOT THE REAL WAY TO “BURN” FAT!
Let us start from the basic principle of burning fat : THE ONLY WAY TO BURN FAT IS BY ENTERING IN A HYPO-CALORIC STATE ( SPEND MORE CALORIE THAN YOU CONSUME)!!! Now that sounds simple… but it is somehow a little bit complicated to achieve. To enter in an effective HYPO-CALORIC STATE, two aspects should be considered: TRAINING AND NUTRITION.
COMPOUND MOVEMENTS VS ISOLATION MOVEMENTS
For that part there are two concepts you should understand:
-First, every movement your body makes causes use of calories- If you move a finger, you use calorie; you lift your arm up, you use calorie.
-Second, your body runs from energy generated from calories.When hypo-caloric state happens your body now takes produces energy from fats, causing fat loss.
Combining these two concepts, one conclusion can be made: THE MORE MOVEMENT YOU MAKE, THE MORE CALORIE YOU USE, UNTIL YOUR BODY ENTERS A HYPO-CALORIC STATE CAUSING YOU TO BURN FAT.
Therefore, the best way to burn more calories is to do exercises where several muscles are engaged(COMPOUND MOVEMENTS) instead of ISOLATION MOVEMENTS(crunch, spider curls, biceps curls, leg extensions). It’s not that these exercises are useless; they have their utility but not during a fat burning programme.
The logic is simple – during an isolation movement, let’s say, a crunch, you are training/moving only one muscle, in this context,your abs; whereas a compound movement engages several muscles in one single movement, such as Deadlift engages your legs, abs , obliques, glutes, hamstrings, back, arms(as denoted by the red zones in Fig.1). Logically speaking, deadlift is going to burn more calories than crunch, causing that you to reach hypo-caloric state faster,hence burn fat faster.
Some of the most effective compound movements are:
- Bench Press/Dumbbell Press
- Deadlift(all versions)
- Squat(all versions)
- Rowing(V-Bar Row, T-Bar Row,Dumbbell Row)
- Cross fit movements
- Leg Press
- Shoulder Press
There are much more I would be describing in future posts.
High intensity has been proven in several researches to be crucial for increasing calorie burned and fat loss as the amount of effort required to perform them are much more than normal intensity workouts. There are several techniques that can ”transform” a normal workout into a High Intensity workout. These include:
- Drop-Sets-Perform an exercise with a heavy weight and after failure is reached, take a lighter weight and continue that set post-failure until you reach failure again.You can drop the weight several times, depending on the level of intensity yu want to reach
- Reducing rest time between sets– These can be one of the MOST IMPORTANT aspects of increasing intensity as doing that would cause your body to deplete its calories faster. The optimal amount of rest should be between 45 sec-1 minute.
- High Intensity Workouts– These may include regular Sprints, Tabata Programme and HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training) ,among others.
Now let’s take a look at the nutrition aspect.
A CALORIE=A CALORIE
In planning your eating habits, you should consider ONE MAJOR RULE:
A CALORIE IS A CALORIE, WHETHER IT COMES FROM HEALTHY FOOD OR UNHEALTHY FOOD.
You eat a hamburger that has 300 Calories in it or you eat a healthy meal of 300 Calories consisting of brown rice, salad and chicken, your body would make no difference. It’s not like your body’s gonna say:”OMG!!Healthy food!!!Quick, shed all these love handles and that double chin.” Calories are calories, no matter the nature of their source.
It is true that the above statement is ”false” to a certain limit as the impact of each food you eat is different. For example if most of your calories come from unhealthy fats, you are likely to have cholesterol problems, if majority of your calorie come from vegetables, you are going to have a healthy body, if majority of your calorie come from protein, you are going to have faster muscle repairing…But for now let’s just keep it simple with the equation that a calorie is a calorie.
Steps involved to improve nutrition and lose fat:
- ”Scan” all the food that you are eating, if writing them down helps you, do it.
- Remove all the unhealthy food and try to replace them with a healthy meal/snack.Forget about the above equation for now. For example, if you were eating muffins or apple pie for tea break, try replacing them by fruits, nuts or dark chocolate.
- After Step 2 has been accomplish, try to further refine your nutrition. For example, if you were eating flavoured oatmeal in the morning, start eating plain oatmeal and do your flavouring yourself with nuts, protein powders, fruits…
In order for the above to really help you lose fat fast, you should do it in conjunction with rigorous training.
After you’ve accomplished Step 1-3 effectively and started training regularly, you should by now start seeing the results. However, if you want to shed down the fats further, the equation now comes into place as you have to ensure that you are eating healthy calories that do not exceed the amount the calorie you spend. This can be done in 2 ways: Reducing amount of calories you eat or Increasing the amount of calories you spend(train more). Personally, I prefer the second one as you would reap better results in terms of more muscle mass/endurance/toned muscle/strength…
Supplements are optional. The only supplement that I would only recommend would be protein powders, creatine and supplements to ensure the health of your joints(Hard training can sometimes impact on joints) but ,once again,these are OPTIONAL.