Stoking the furnace
Look at the cover of any lifestyle magazine today and the chances are that the two words “burning fat” will appear in some form or another. Its an obsession. Even those who don’t necessarily have a weight problem are drawn to articles that discuss fat burning and new strategies to do so more effectively. Fat – more specifically, body fat – has become a topic of increasing debate over the past 10, 20, 30 perhaps even 40 years, and today more than ever, we are constantly trying to find new and effective ways to “burn” fat off our bodies.
Fat is usually “burnt” off through exercise. There are also dietary approaches that claim to put the body into a “fat-burning” state, but generally, the term “burning” is more readily associated with exercise.
There have been many analogies used to define how body fat is burned off – one such analogy being to liken the body’s metabolic system to a “furnace” that needs to be “stoked” to increase its “fat burning” efficiency. This analogy implies that fat is burnt during a particular exercise activity – whilst the activity is being performed. This analogy has also fuelled other theories and mindsets, such as the longer the duration of an exercise activity the more fat will be “burned off” – i.e. the “I’ll-just-run a-few-more-miles-to-burn-off the-extra-slice-of-cake” way of thinking.
Unfortunately, this eat more/exercise more approach can spiral out of control with exercise becoming just a means to an end – almost creating a situation that can be seen as “exercise bulimia”.
This approach not only also leads to potential overtraining injuries, but is extremely time consuming, with some people exercising up to several hours a day to ensure that they continue to “burn fat”.
There is a far more sensible approach to burning fat…one that not only is far less time consuming, but also burns fat whilst at rest….long after the exercise session is finished.
Burning fat – From 10%-90%
As mentioned earlier, the traditional “fat burning mindset” is that body fat is burnt whilst performing a particular exercise activity (the preferred exercise activity usually being aerobic or cardio type exercise). However, even if an exercise activity is performed for 2 hours (e.g. 2 hours on the stationery bike) – which is a considerable amount of time – this still only represents just under 10% of the day. Also, with most aerobic type activity, the metabolic rate returns to normal just 1 hour after the exercise session is completed (the metabolism or metabolic rate being the single most important aspect that affects fat burning).
Surely it would be better to be able to burn fat for 70%-90% of the day? To somehow keep the metabolic rate elevated for as long as possible to ensure that fat was “burnt” long after the exercise session had finished?
Metabolism and Muscle
If you want to burn fat, you need muscle – it’s that simple. The more muscle, the more fat is burnt….whilst exercising and whilst at rest.
Now this does not mean that you need to become a competitive bodybuilder, or even become “musclebound”. But it does mean that you should consider reducing the cardio sessions and increasing or adding resistance training sessions to condition your muscles. To put it in perspective, for every pound of muscle, the body requires an extra 60-100 calories a day to maintain it at rest! Also, resistance workouts keep the body’s metabolic rate elevated for up to 15 hours after the exercise session is completed (assuming that the workout is relatively intense). Also, endurance cardio training makes muscles smaller, which means a less efficient fat-burning furnace in the long-term.
So now that we know that better conditioned and stronger muscles increase the body’s metabolic rate – which in turn leads to more efficient fat burning, how do we do this in 15 minutes?
Fat Burning in 15 Minutes
Please note the following: This exercise approach is very intense. If you are not used to exercise or exercising with resistance, then you should begin the routine with very light weights at first and take a 2-3 minute rest between each exercise. As you become fitter and stronger, you may gradually increase the weight and also gradually reduce the time between each exercise.
The following 2 routines are tough…very tough. There are several aspects that make this routine effective:
1) Each exercise uses several muscle groups – thus placing a higher energy demand on the body
2) Each exercise focuses on larger muscles – by using larger muscles, we also place higher energy demands on the body
3) The level of resistance required places 90-100% demand on each group of muscles (NB: beginners/intermediates must use lighter weight)
4) There is minimal – ideally zero – rest between sets creating a massive cardio and fat-burning effect that literally “fries” calories
5) Both routines are brief – and should not take longer than 15 minutes
The Metabolism Stoking Fat-Frying Routine
For each exercise of the following 2 routines, select a resistance load that allows you to complete no more than 10-12 smooth repetitions. If you can perform a 13th repetition, then the weight is too light (NB: Beginners & Intermediates to select a light weight and progress gradually).
Also, keep rest between each exercise as short as possible (ideally run to next exercise and start as soon as possible). Again, beginners & intermediates take longer rest periods between sets.
Chins or Pulldowns
Chins or Pulldowns
Repeat above 3 exercises 3 times with no rest between all 9 sets
Ted Frazer is a Wellness Expert with 20 years experience in weight loss and fitness counselling. Those interested in receiving Ted’s e-book “The Ultimate Diet Solution” for FREE – mail Ted at firstname.lastname@example.org – Put “Free Book” in subject box