Should I kill myself on cardio to lose fat? Should I eat 1,200 calories a day? Should I do HIIT everyday? There seems to be a lot of confusion around what types of workouts are best for burning fat, so let’s shed some light on that. I first want to mention that you by no means need a gym membership to lose weight. I know a lot of people do not have access to a full gym, or even have the money for a monthly membership. At home workouts, when done correctly, can be just as effective, if not more! So before you go thinking you don’t have the resources, think again!
The number one thing to remember when wanting to shed body fat is that in order to do so you need to be in a caloric deficit. Meaning you need to be eating less calories in a day than you burn! But, what is the best way to burn them?
With experience both with myself and my clients, I find that mixture of everything is going to be the best option. You need go make sure you are strength training, cardiovascular training and high intensity training!
Strength training is important because believe it or not, muscle burns more calories than fat! So if you spend time actually building muscle and working on strength, you are essentially allowing yourself to burn more calories at rest. This is because the body has to work harder to innervate and fuel muscle than it does fat, and therefore using more energy (calories) in a given day, even at rest! With strength training, you can also be working your cardiovascular system as well. Circuit training is a great way to do this! You can keep your body moving from exercise to exercise and use multiple muscle groups at once. This is going to help burn more calories because more of your body is working at once!
Most people think that the harder they work, the better the results, Which, is true in strength training, but not necessarily just cardiovascular training. If you hop onto a cardio machine to do your workout and you are running at a quick pace, or are working so hard you cannot talk, you are actually not tapping into your fat storage. Your fat burning zone is actually at a moderate intensity. Meaning you should be able to hold a conversation while doing your cardio in order for it to be burning fat rather than carbohydrates.
HIIT is what most people are using these days to burn fat. A lot of studies are showing the benefits of this type of training not only on fat loss, but also to increase performance. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is using different ratios of work to rest to tap into the body’s fat storage quicker, and burn more calories all day because of EPOC. EPOC is excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Which means after a HIIT session, your body takes a few hours to fully recover from the intense exercise, and therefore burning more calories throughout the day trying to get back to baseline. HIIT can be tricky though. Just doing intervals is not enough. You should be pushing yourself to MAXIMUM CAPACITY during your work periods that you need 2-3 minutes to recover. This is going to be the most beneficial type of HIIT training that can be done in a shorter period of time but have a huge impact on fat loss.
All of these types of workouts can be done at-home! Resistance training can be done with dumbbells, bands, body weight, kettlebells etc. Cardiovascular work can be done in the form of plyometrics, walking, jogging etc. and HIIT training can also be done with plyometrics! There are no limitations when it comes to being able to create an exercise routine, at home workouts can be just as effective as gym workouts!