Losing Body Fat: Best Methods that Melt Fat the Fastest
One of the most requested fitness goals I encounter in my job as a personal trainer is how to lose body fat & get in shape. Not only do clients want to eliminate the body fat, they want it done as quickly as possible. I always recommend some form of aerobic exercise to combat body fat loss & achieve the best possible body transformation. The wide range of activities & different methods available today is enough to be very confusing. When it comes to eliminating excess body fat there are certain aerobic exercises that work better than others.
Which methods are best for aerobic exercise & what is the best way to lose fat through cardio routines? Aerobic exercise by its nature uses fat as a primary fuel source, while carbohydrates & proteins also get used, but at a much smaller amount. Because of the fat burning potential aerobic exercise offers it is a "must include" when it comes to body fat loss. In this article, I cover several types of cardio exercise. I also explain the benefits of each & when to apply each method to maximize your fat burning potential.
Benefits of Aerobic Exercise
All forms of aerobic exercise provide very similar benefits. However, high intensity & low intensity methods each have their own specific benefits as it relates to the function of each method.
Overall, aerobic exercises have the following benefits regardless of the method used.
- Strengthen lung function.
- Increase red blood cells which enables more oxygen throughout the body.
- Strengthen the heart muscle for better pumping efficiency.
- Reduces stress & increases mental wellness.
- Overall increased blood circulation.
Low Intensity Aerobics
- Easier on the joints making it ideal for beginners that are obese or unfit.
- Burns fat directly instead of total calories & can be done for longer sessions.
- Used to recover from more intensive training.
High Intensity Aerobics
- Burns more total calories and more total fat as a result.
- Increases metabolism during & after training.
- Increases fitness with endurance, strength & athletic performance.
- Helps prevent osteoporosis.
Deciding on the intensity level for cardio exercise depends on your current level. If you are a beginner and have a lot of body fat to lose then start with low intensity exercises and work your way up from there. Otherwise I recommend going for the high intensity workouts as they will ultimately give you better results faster.
Training Methods & Advantages
When choosing the types of cardio exercises, consider that some exercises are going to be naturally higher in intensity than others. Some are suitable for specific training events like sports, while others are best for fat loss & physical conditioning. The key here is to choose something that targets your goals & be consistent. It is important that you find something enjoyable so you will stick with it.
Walking, at one time, was considered one of the best exercises for fat burning. However, it is now considered one of the least effective aerobic activity. Although it is a great choice for beginners who are obese & unfit, walking is not the best form of exercise for losing weight.
Why? because in a measure of results over time, walking will produce the least result over a period of time versus many of the other cardio exercises. It is such a low intensity exercise that it doesn't get your heart rate up high enough to do much good. Cycling in fact for 15 minutes will out perform a 45 minute walk at a moderate pace.
When to Walk?
Walking is appropriate in the following ways:
- Fat burning method in the obese, especially when you cannot use any other form of exercise.
- Low Impact activity for people with injuries
- As a moderate activity to promote recovery from a high intensity training session.
Cycling works the hip flexors, hamstrings, quadriceps & soles muscles(calves) to give a great lower body workout. It can be done on a stationary bike to focus solely on fat burning, or on the road. Cycling is a cardio activity that is suitable for anyone because the intensity level can be changed to work no matter your fitness level. It is also an ideal activity when doing HIIT cardio (see below) because the resistance level can be quickly changed from high to low. Many bodybuilders like cycling to give greater separation & definition in the quadricep muscles.
Cycling is appropriate for the following:
- Low Impact, High Intensity body fat burning method.
- Great option for athletic performance and improving fitness for sports.
- Can help bodybuilders carve detail into the quads.
Rowing on a row machine is probably one of the best all around cardio activities because it gives a total body workout. It is a great high intensity activity that is also low impact to protect joint damage & it targets all of the major muscles of the body. Finally rowing is a better option than walking or cycling as it burns a lot more calories per hour than other aerobic exercises.
Rowing is appropriate for the following:
- Burn a higher number of calories than other cardio activities.
- Total body workout vs lower body workout.
- Low impact, high intensity for increased fat burning.
High Intensity Interval Training has been around for some time now and is considered one of the most effective ways to burn body fat. It is my go to method that I recommend to my clients. As most can attest to, HIIT provides a very intensive cardio session that gives results in a fraction of the time of a normal cardio session.
As the name implies, HIIT combines a high intensity cardio component with very high intensity cardio component to create a workout that maximizes fat burning and increases the metabolic rate that can last over a 24 hour period afterwards. By alternating between high intensity and very high intensity intervals(usually 30 seconds to 1 minute) the body is not able to adapt like it is in a steady state cardio session. Because of this constant flux, the body is forced to burn more fuel (Fat) to compensate.
HIIT cardio is perfect for:
- Raising fat burning hormones like epinephrine & norepinephrine.
- Suppressing insulin levels
- Raising the metabolic rate much more than other cardio methods.
Anyone that is looking to get into great shape and lose body fat I highly recommend they consider starting an aerobic exercise program sooner rather than later. The type of training and the method used will be different depending on the person and your goals. The key to success is to chose something that you will do & one that gives you the best results.
As always, if you need help with your weight loss journey or any fitness needs and are in the Wilmington, NC area I would be glad to consult with you. Fee free to contact me at Fit4Life