You’ve finally decided to start working on your weight loss plan, but you don’t seem to know where to start. Don’t panic — it’s perfectly normal to be a little confused, especially given the amount of information you’ll come across while doing research. Losing body fat is a challenging journey, so you'll need to be equipped with the correct facts from the get-go.
Apart from the dietary changes you may need to make, a suitable workout regime should be your top priority. But how do you know which workout for fat loss will be the most effective in achieving your goals? Worry not; we’ll cover all the essentials in the following paragraphs. By the end, you’ll be all set to start your journey with peace of mind.
Myths About Fat Loss
You’ve probably heard numerous stories about miraculous workout plans and diets that’ll get you to your fitness goals in the blink of an eye. Sadly, many misconceptions are circulating online, and in this section, we’ll try to debunk the most common ones.
Although these urban myths might hold a portion of truth, things are never straightforward, as you were able to see. Next, we’ll tackle the most essential types of workouts that’ll make a big difference in your quest for fitness.
Is Cardio Important for Fat Loss?
You’re probably sick and tired of hearing about cardio, but there is a reason why these exercises are so popular. While they are an effective way to burn calories and lose weight, cardio activities have other important advantages. For instance, they help improve our heart and lung health and positively impact blood pressure levels.
Experts suggest that you need to determine the intensity of your workouts first. The more vigorous the exercise, the more calories you burn. However, we’re all different, so high-intensity exercises aren’t necessarily the best workouts to lose weight for you. Then, how does one determine exercise intensity on their own?
There are plenty of online calculators you can use, and most of them entail determining your resting and maximum heart rate and calculating your heart rate reserve. Vigorous exercises call for working out at 70%–85% of your max heart rate. Activities like biking, hiking, and running are good examples of cardio, but you can achieve your goals at the gym, too. If you’re struggling at first, start slowly, and you can ramp up the intensity later.
Can HIIT Help Burn Calories?
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, typically lasts 10–30 minutes and pairs short maximum-intensity exercises with longer resting periods. The main reason many opt for these workouts to lose weight is that they burn many calories. Trainers claim that a 20-minute HIIT session can expend the same amount of calories as a 40-minute cardio workout.
Moreover, intensive sessions push our bodies to work at their maximum for a short period. This activity causes the anaerobic system to produce ATP (short-term energy) stored in the muscles, as our primary source of it (oxygen) is unavailable. Then, to recuperate, the body needs extra oxygen after the workout. This process is known as post-exercise oxygen consumption and is said to affect our bodies up to 24 hours post-workout, increasing our metabolic rate.
Finally, most individuals get bored by the repetitiveness of cardio exercises, leading them to lose motivation. These impactful sessions can serve as an excellent little substitute you can do anytime, anywhere. You can perform short HIIT workouts to lose belly fat; no equipment necessary.
What Is the Role of Strength Training?
As its name suggests, strength training entails lifting heavy weights with the aim of building dense muscles. It is also an effective way to burn fat, as having bigger muscles can improve one’s resting metabolic rate, causing you to lose calories faster when you are not exercising. Therefore, cardio may be a great way to burn calories while you work out, but strength training will help make it continuous.
We know weights look intimidating, but there are other ways to build strength. Your own body can be the best piece of equipment. Body weight exercises are highly diverse, so you can find a few that work for you regardless of your fitness level. Moreover, you won’t even need to hit the gym, you can exercise from the comfort of your own home. And who knows, once you build up some strength, you might even decide to give good old weightlifting a try.
Starting a fitness regime from scratch isn’t easy, and a few hurdles are bound to happen along the way. However, once you find that sweet spot in your exercise routine, stick to it. The best way is to combine all three types of workouts we mentioned, as each has its own merits. Try cardio when you want to get your blood pumping. HIIT exercises are the way to go if you want something short and sweet. Then, wrap everything up with some classic strength training.
Pair all that with a balanced diet, and you'll be on the right track to your dream body. It's all about striking the right balance, so don’t forget to take some time to rest, too. There’s no need to go over the top and lose your motivation.