by Ray | Comments Off on Fitness for fat fighting: the seven exercises that really will make you lose weight on Fitness for fat fighting: the seven exercises that really will make you lose weight
Running has been hailed as a fast route to many things — happiness, a longer life and reduced stress — but not, apparently, to weight loss. Last week a researcher revealed that many joggers find their efforts are in vain when it comes to shifting stubborn pounds. According to Mary Kennedy, a lifestyle and nutrition researcher at Harvard University, even those running 50 miles a week or more in training for a marathon might struggle to lose weight if their pace is too slow. To lose fat, Kennedy says, speed is key, and “just because you cross the finish line doesn’t mean you were running at a really vigorous pace seven days a week”.
In her small trial, Kennedy charted the progress of 64 volunteers who were running four days a week. Over three months, 75 per cent of the subjects neither lost nor gained any weight. And while about one in ten lost weight, an equal number put on several pounds. Of the seven runners who gained weight, six were women. “This idea that you’re going to run a marathon and the pounds are going to melt away is not realistic,” Kennedy says.
It’s certainly something that resonates with Julia Buckley, a personal trainer and the author of The Fat Burn Revolution (Bloomsbury, £16.99), who now has an impressively hard-worked torso but for years was among those who struggled to lose weight despite covering many miles in her trainers.
Ironically, Buckley says she was at her fattest when entering ultra-marathons (any race on foot longer than the marathon distance of 26.2 miles) several years ago. “I would lose a bit, but then it would creep back up,” she says. “I’d find myself increasing my running mileage and would lose a bit more weight, but then the same plateau would occur.”
Buckley says that only when she reduced jogging in favour of workouts geared towards explosive movement did her body shape transform. “I started to train more intensely and with weights in a way that would boost my metabolism and increase my strength,” she says.
Are all runners really wasting their time? Not necessarily, says John Brewer, a professor of sport and applied science at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. “Running burns somewhere in the region of 100 to 120 calories per mile,” Brewer says. “That means you would need to run 80 miles just to lose a kilogram of weight.”
However, picking up speed can mean that, proportionately, calorie-burn soars. “If you run for 30 minutes at a pace of ten minutes per mile, you will cover three miles and burn around 300 calories,” he says. “Run much faster at a six-minutes-per-mile pace, and you will not only cover five miles in the same duration but will use up 500 calories.”
It’s worth pointing out that some of the weight gained by subjects in the Harvard study is likely to come from lean muscle. Or from “refuelling” after a run. Appetite can soar after endurance sessions. Marathon runners report consuming mountains of carbs when they return ravenous after a long training run. However, lots of training miles isn’t a green light to eat as much as you like. “It’s very easy to eat more calories than you are expending when you run,” says Professer Brewer. “Physiologically, you don’t need as much food or as many energy products as you think.”
Dr Sarah Schenker, a nutritionist, agrees. “The concept of thinking you have to eat after running or exercising is not a good one,” she says. “If you are running for weight loss, there is no need to replace the calories you have just burnt off. It makes no sense and you should hold off until your next proper meal.”
What, then, does work for weight loss? “What you’re looking for is to drive up levels of hormones that accelerate fat-burning,” says Zana Morris, of The Library gym in London. “And the only way to do this is to work your whole body really hard.”
There are plenty of options that transform your shape, even running — if you are fast enough. So what are the exercises that are scientifically proven to result in fat loss?
Jogging long distances at plod pace might not be a route to slimness, but inject some sprints and it’s a different story. Replacing your regular run with shorter, faster bursts — anything from six seconds to a minute in duration — is one of the most effective routes to fat-burning. Scientists in Australia found that sprint training for 60 minutes a week burns the same amount of body fat in men as jogging for seven hours a week. Just eight-second bursts of sprinting (either outside or on the treadmill) repeated intermittently for 20 minutes helped overweight men to lose 2kg (4lb) of body fat over 12 weeks. There was a 17 per cent reduction in fat stored around their liver, kidneys and other organs that is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
Julia Buckley, a personal trainer, says that she ditched long, slow runs for “shorter distances at faster speeds” as part of her fat-burning plan. “You don’t need to cut out running altogether, just speed it up and cut the duration for weight loss,” she says.
Where to try it Try a treadmill workout in which the sprints are set out for you. V-tread at Virgin Active (virginactive.co.uk) or the Beat HIIT sessions at Fitness First, which incorporate a lot of treadmill sprints (fitnessfirst.co.uk).
Circuit training is back in vogue thanks to its ability to help you to slim down. A study in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse human performance laboratory found that circuit training using only your bodyweight for resistance could burn fat fast. For the study, 16 fit adults participated in a 20-minute bodyweight circuit, that included exercises such as push-ups, burpees, squats and lunges. According to John Porcari, the lead researcher and head of the university’s performance lab, the participants burnt an average of 15 calories per minute, nearly twice the rate expended during a long run.
Although CrossFit (a multidiscipline strength and conditioning class that began in America and is popular in gyms across the UK), British Military Fitness and the like have helped to popularise circuit training, a standard home circuit will more than suffice. Chris Jordan and Brett Klika, of the Human Performance Institute in Florida, devised the seven-minute circuit, a form of “high-intensity circuit training”, or HICT, that took New York by storm. It requires nothing more than a chair, a wall and your bodyweight for resistance, plus old-fashioned brute effort for results: 30 seconds each of jumping jacks, press-ups, wall sits, crunches, step-ups (on the chair), tricep dips (on the chair), squats, lunges, side plank, plank, high-knee running on the spot and press-ups with side rotation in quick succession, with only a five to ten-second breather. As you get fitter, the seven-minute workout can be repeated two to three times, but once a day with maximum effort will make a difference.
Where to try it CrossFit classes (find your nearest class atmap.crossfit.com), British Military Fitness (find classes atbritmilfit.com), Barry’s Bootcamp (based in London,barrysbootcamp.com) or one of the many seven-minute workout apps (there are lots available in the app/play stores).
Indoor rowing classes are the new spin studios in New York. Hard-bodied Jason Statham and Zac Efron are fans. According to studies carried out in the Work Physiology Lab at Ohio University, rowing for 20 minutes at a given perceived rate of exertion (say a six on a ten-point scale) burns 10 to 15 per cent more calories than running or swimming for the same time and difficulty. “This is because rowing engages more muscles than most other forms of aerobic exercise, thus burning more energy,” says Matt Roberts, a trainer who is a big fan of the activity. “Every stroke requires you to work the muscles in your calves, upper legs, buttocks, core, upper back and arms.” Only cross-country skiing comes close in terms of calorie-burn, which can be as high as 700 in an hour.
Where to try it Concept2, the indoor rowing machine manufacturer, is holding “Row Zone” classes at some gyms. Or you can log on to its website to try one of the free training programmes (three are uploaded every day, at varying difficulties) atconcept2.co.uk.
Fashionable hardcore group bike classes, such as Psycle and Cyclebeat, as well as spin classes in the gym, are said to burn up to 1,200 calories in a single session (normally 45 minutes long). Indoors or out, cycling can send fat-burning into overdrive, provided that you incorporate full-throttle sprints into your ride. Alternating between standing and sitting as you cycle, as most spin-style classes recommend, is also a good idea.
“Standing on a bike raises your heart rate so you burn more calories and also builds lean muscle in your shoulders, triceps, and core muscles,” Roberts says. “Outdoors, try to add short sprints between lampposts or bus stops to raise the intensity of your ride.”
Research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that two weeks of alternate-day interval training boosted cyclists’ fat-burning ability by 36 per cent. Outdoors, try hill climbing. Find a climb that takes five to ten minutes to reach the top and repeat two or three times.
Where to try it Spinning at Fitness First (fitnessfirst.co.uk), Psycle (psyclelondon.com), Cycle at Nuffield Gyms (nuffieldhealth.com), Les Mills Immersive Cycling at David Lloyd (davidlloyd.co.uk), Cyclebeat (cyclebeat.co.uk).
Zana Morris, a trainer to the well-heeled and time-poor, says high-intensity weight training “is the fastest way to boost strength, stamina and weight loss”, and her celebrity clients love the effects. It might seem contrary to suggest that pumping heavy weights will result in the pounds dropping off rather than your body bulking up, but the evidence is convincing. A trial at Harvard University published in the journal Obesity found that a group of healthy men who did 20 minutes of daily weight training had less increase in age-related belly fat than men who spent the same time doing aerobic exercise such as swimming and cycling.
A trial involving premenopausal women at the University of Pennsylvania showed that weight training twice a week prevented waistlines expanding, despite no dietary changes.
Originally posted 2015-09-24 13:28:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
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