If you’re ready to begin a fat loss workout plan as you embark on self-improvement, kudos to you. There are still far too many people who are under the delusion that significant fat loss can be had while avoiding exercise. The most successful ‘fat-burners’ look at this idea with a kind of saddened amusement.
Any reasonable fat loss workout has so many extra benefits – increased energy, greater breath flow, increased self-confidence – that it’s amazing that so many people avoid it. Others just don’t really know where to start, or are overwhelmed by misinformation.
I’ve dedicated myself to finding out exactly what kind of fat loss workouts are done by the most successful people, people who have taken the initiative to lose 50 to 100 pounds or more because they could no longer stand being overweight.
Here, in a nutshell, is what I have discovered:
- They have fun with cardio. Some kind of sustained, aerobic exercise is essential to fat loss. This is because when you are engaged in a physical activity, the initial period of exertion is spent depleting glycogen (carbohydrates stored in your body) and not fat. The burning of the fat happens only after this depletion has occurred. This means that 15 minutes of an aerobic exercise (running, spinning, elliptical training, etc) is not a good enough fat loss workout to actually start burning much fat. 30 minutes is good, and 45 minutes is great.
But how does someone motivate themselves to commit to such an intense fat loss workout, and for 5 days a week? They choose the kind of exercise that they enjoy the most. If you have a gym membership, you have many effective methods to choose from: using a treadmill, a stationary bike, an elliptical machine, a rowing machine, a cross- country ski machine, a stair-climber, etc. These are all effective means of aerobic exercise. If you don’t have a gym membership, you may want to invest in a piece of equipment, or take up jogging. There are always ways to do these things when you have the motivation.
- They work their way up. Please don’t get the impression that you must be able to do a 30 minute fat loss workout as soon as you begin. This is not realistic, and you need to be aware of the importance of the adjustment period. This point is so crucial because many who aren’t aware of it end up quitting in frustration; they think fat loss ‘should’ be this or that, and fall back into the depths of shame and self-loathing.
Starting your fat loss workouts at 5 minute intervals is perfectly fine. What you’re aiming for at the start is getting your body used to moving continuously and at an adequate intensity (60 – 80% of maximum heart rate) for a pre-determined period of time. Think of the ongoing satisfaction you get when you can perform an aerobic activity for just 1 minute longer each week! As your satisfaction is ongoing, so will be your motivation.
- They pump iron to pump the metabolism. Aerobic activity is an immediate means of burning fat. Weight training burns fat in a less direct – but even more appealing – way. As you gain muscle, the lean body mass that you accumulate gives a boost to your metabolism. In a nutshell, this means that you increase your body’s ability to burn more calories at rest, even while you sleep. Although not everyone knows the relationship of building muscle to losing fat, the most successful do – the overwhelming majority of them include weight training in their fat loss workouts.
So, now that we know the basics of the type of exercise to perform in a fat loss workout, let’s look at quantity. At first, you’re going to want to ease into it and listen closely to your body to see how long you can go and on how many days per week without getting nauseous, light-headed or injuring yourself. At the same time, you’re going to want to have a longer-term goal, a point where you know that each and every time you engage in a fat loss workout that you’re getting beyond the glycogen burning stage and into intense fat-burning.
In the long-term, a good number to eventually shoot for in any given fat loss workout is a 45-minute period of continuous aerobic exercise. If this seems like too overwhelming a number, no problem – put it at 25 minutes or so. When you get to that point, you may very well feel that it’s not enough and you want to challenge yourself to go further.
At the beginning, you may want to workout aerobically 3 or 4 days of the week, but as you adapt a great number to shoot for is in the 4 – 6 days a week range. In addition, doing a free-weight workout 2 or 3 days a week will give you that exhilarating spark to your metabolism. Weight training workouts will usually last about 30 minutes or so, but you can begin at 10 minutes and you’re still doing yourself a world of good more than without any weight training at all.
Finally, one common misconception about fat loss is that you can do specific exercises to target specific trouble spots, like performing crunches to lose fat around the midsection. Having just read the information in this article, it should be clear that this won’t work, as getting to the fat-burning stage would take 30 minutes of continuous crunches or so to get past the glycogen-burning stage.
You now have the most important information needed to get started with a fat-loss workout regimen. Keep a long-term goal in mind while going easy on yourself in the beginning and you will reach the success you seek.