There are a number of products and supplements on the market that promise weight-loss. Some have fantastic results, some unbelievable results, some work and some don’t. Some products work for one group of people and not the other. So what is the best way to lose extra weight in the form of fat?
Fitness and subsequently fat-loss is a three-edged sword, weight training, aerobics and nutrition. One is not more important than the other. One alone is not the answer.
You have to be careful about the amount of carbohydrates in your diet. Most people don’t realize that too much carbohydrate intake can inhibit the metabolization of fats for energy. This is caused by the excess production of insulin to metabolize the sugars. Excess insulin also inhibits the production of the growth hormone and the metabolization of fats for energy. So, fat-free or not, it may still get stored as fat. Without getting too much into nutrition here, just be advised that excess sugars are not the answer to weight loss.
Weight training requires energy to perform the actions. What you don’t burn, gets stored. Increases in muscle mass raise the basal metabolic rate (BMR) by about 50 calories per pound of muscle. So, fat burning occurs all day long even after the weight training session is over. Remember, muscle doesn’t build in the gym, it builds when you rest and mostly when you sleep during the muscle repair cycle. This type of exercise is anaerobic, meaning that oxygen is not utilized during the energy production cycle, therefore, fat is not burned since oxygen is required for fat burning. Circuit Training is somewhat aerobic.
Aerobics are also an important part of weight loss both directly and indirectly. During approximately the first 20 minutes of aerobic exercise, the body burns simple sugars and carbohydrates stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver. After the stores are depleted, then the fat stores are tapped for energy. This trains the body to utilize fat for energy. This type of exercise, as the name implies, is aerobic and requires oxygen to metabolize the fat for energy. Remember, what the body doesn’t do often, the body losses it’s ability to do efficiently. No aerobic exercise means the body’s ability to metabolize fat and it’s ability to supply oxygen to the muscles for work diminishes.
The easy way out that many people take is to reduce eating. This can be a bad move because the body will reduce the metabolic rate to conserve fat stores. This will cause, naturally, weight gain.
Read the supplement and weight-loss labels. Some contain mild herbal laxatives (fennel seeds, licorice root, etc.) Laxatives can be addictive in that they cause peristalsis (bowel activity) to slow down. This can be chronic and cause long lasting damage.
So, what’s the best way to lose weight? Watch the calories, weight train, do aerobics at least three times a week. Studies show that the ideal heart range for fat burning is around 50% to 60% of your maximum not 80% to 90% as most people believe. Running is a good form of aerobic exercise but can debilitate the joints.
However, walking at a brisk pace 3.5 to 4.5 miles per hour will bring the heart rate to about 50% to 60% of maximum and without the high impact damage. On a per mile basis, walking burns 80% of the calories that running does. You can also walk for longer periods and greater frequencies without risking joint damage.
Another low impact fat burning exercise is paddle boating. Hard to believe but you are using large muscle groups for a period of at least an hour or more. The benefit is that it is no impact and fun. Stationary bicycles with a set tension provide the same benefit but without the same fun element. Outdoor biking is fun but half the time you may be coasting. You might want to substitue one for the other so your workout doesn’t get boring.
The best type of aerobic exercise is naturally the one that you like to do best as they say. However, the exercise that you do least is the one that will burn the most fat because your body is not efficient at that particular exercise. Unless you’re in competition, you really don’t want to become efficient at any type of exercise if the goal is weight loss and cardiovascular training. This is true of any activity whether it be biking, swimming, etc.
Our bodies are unlike any other machines that become less efficient due to wear and tear. We can wear out our bodies mechanically from overuse but energy production will become more efficient. Remember, keep the body guessing.
Contributed by IFA (International Fitness Association)