What exercise or type of exercise is the best for burning fat?
A common question--usually regarding the choice between cardio, and weight lifting.
The answer is more complex. It's not just a choice between cardio and weight lifting, it also matters how you are programming your body, and how you are performing your exercises. Cardio-respiratory exercise burns calories NOW. Right now, in this moment, on the treadmill, you are burning calories. Weight lifting exercise burns less calories at the time of the workout, but your body continues to respond for the next 24 hours, repairing microscopic tears and making the muscles stronger. So either way, your are burning calories. Additionally, that muscle you built is metabolically active tissue...so it burns calories even at rest. Woo hoo!
Here's the rub. Abs are made in the kitchen. You really are what you eat. You can program your body to be a fat burning machine, or you can program it to store, store, store fat. We've been talking about crowding out the bad stuff, eating the good stuff, and making good choices, but why is this so important? If you choose non-nutritive, high calorie food-like products (they're not actually food, they are chemicals and have essentially no nutrient content--think Cheetos or white bread), you are telling your body to eat! You are literally starving, while loading your body with sugar! Over time, your body will store more fat, even if you are watching your calories--it's never registering true fullness, because your are not satiated. Your brain never got the message that you ate enough, because it didn't receive nutrition. If you are choosing high nutrient dense foods like fruits and vegetables, healthy fats (avocado, grass fed butter, coconut oil, olive oil) and high quality protein, your body will stop craving sugar and start burning fat. The message you are sending is "hey, I have plenty. You don't need to store that." You also aren't sending a boat load of sugar into your system (which gets stored as... you guessed it--FAT).
Back to the exercise, though, below are some tips to maximize your workout success:
1. Use total body exercises whenever possible. Squats with overhead presses, push ups, pull ups, pulley twists: anytime you can use your whole body, you are burning more calories, and being efficient about your workout. 2. Use exercises that make you stand, balance, and use free weights as much as possible. Pulleys are great, too. When I design a workout, I have to keep in mind any physical limitations, but I try to use free weights, balance, and standing exercises, whenever I can. Standing burns more than sitting, balancing uses your core as well as your lower body, and pulleys and free weights force you to work both sides equally, as well as incorporating a balancing aspect. 3. Utilize intervals to get your heart rate up. HIIT (High intensity interval training) is not for everyone (some do have limitations that preclude this), but many of you can incorporate some interval training into your cardio. The end result? You get better results, in less time. I use these in spin classes, and also in my FITT small group training. Say you are walking on the treadmill--start out walking, run for 1 minute, walk for a minute. Or on a bike, double your pedaling speed for 30 seconds, and reduce to normal for 30 seconds. Using intervals means you burn more calories in less time.
4. Change it UP! If you are doing the same exercises, in the same way, with the same weight, that you've done for the last year, you will get nothing new out of them. You need to change the workout every 6-8 weeks to keep getting maximal results. I do that automatically for my ongoing clients, but you can do it yourself, as well.
5. Longer workouts do NOT equal better or faster results. If you've been slaving away at the gym and your body isn't visibly changing, you can't do more of the same thing and expect a different result. When it comes to getting lean and fit, your body responds to quality over quantity. Well chosen exercises, and a well designed program will help with that.
Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini with Salsa Verde! Salsa Verde
3 anchovy fillets
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1 cup loosely packed mint leaves, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound eggplant, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 pound medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/2–inch-thick slices
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
SALSA VERDE Using a mortar and pestle, pound and mash the anchovies and garlic to a paste. Stir in the vinegar, then add the oil in a slow stream, stirring constantly. Add the herbs, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
GRILLED VEGETABLES Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the eggplant and zucchini slices on both sides with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables over moderate heat, turning once, until lightly charred and tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Arrange the vegetables on a serving platter. Spoon some of the salsa verde over the vegetables, and serve the remaining sauce on the side.
The salsa verde can be made 3 hours ahead.
My Schedule of classes! Come and join me for some fun group exercise classes! My fall schedule includes even more free classes, and some specialized small group trainings ($) as well.
Monday: Pump Up (just like Body Pump, but I choreograph myself) 6am, 11am Yoga (River Glen) at 6:30 pm Tuesday: Pilates, Pilates and Yoga! (Northshore) 8:15 am, 6pm, 7pm Wednesday: Burn and Firm, 6:10am (RG) Thursday: Pilates (NS) and Spin (RG), 8:15am, 9:15am Friday: Burn and Firm, 6:10 am (RG) Saturday: Spin and Core (RG), 9:15 am, 10 am
Small group trainings...so far, I have one person for each one... Wednesdays at 9am, FITT Fridays at 10 am, TRX Yoga fusion! (this is NEW) Saturdays at 11:30 am, FITT
I give you a calendar for the month. You log DAILY exercise for the entire month: this can be your trainings, small group trainings with me, classes, etc. You hand in your sheet to me on 9/30 and get entered into a drawing for a free 1/2 hour session with me:) The PDF link below will lead you to a calendar to print out. I will also have copies made by tomorrow!