Whether you long for a flat, toned tummy or you’d love to see your biceps bulge under your shirt, we all have areas of our body that we’d like to improve. In order to have visible muscle, you not only need to build the muscles you want to show off, you also need to reduce the layer of fat that covers them. Many people mistakenly believe that you can get a six-pack by doing thousands of crunches, but the reality is that you can’t target fat loss in specific parts of the body such as your lower back or belly fat. We all gain and lose bodyweight in certain areas of our bodies as opposed to others, and while we can’t target individual areas, we can lose weight and fat overall. A full body fat burning workout is the best way to achieve the look you’re going for, but what makes a body workout effective for fat loss? If you want to look and feel your best and burn fat and weight loss, follow these four secrets to a full body fat burning workout.
#1 Reconsider Cardio
The first place our minds go when we think about working out to lose weight is often cardio exercises like running, cycling, and using the elliptical that get your heart rate up. We know that our body uses carbohydrates for energy when it is working at a high intensity and burns fat for energy when working at a moderate intensity, so for years, the wisdom has been to workout at a moderate intensity if you want to lose weight. While it’s true that the body uses different macronutrients for fuel depending on the intensity of your workout, what this wisdom leaves out is that you won’t lose weight unless you burn more calories than you’re eating, no matter how much fat you burn. What’s the fastest way to burn calories? Work out at a high intensity. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should only perform high intensity activities like running. The best way to stay consistent with your workouts, lose weight, and hit your goals is to incorporate a variety of different types of cardio workouts into your routine and include a variety of different intensities. For some people, this might look like doing a high intensity cardio dance video one day and a yoga video the next, or going for a run one day and then going for a walk on the following day. The choice is yours!
#2 Incorporate Strength Training
Cardio is a great way to burn calories during your workout, but in order to maximize your fat loss, you want to keep that burn going all day. When you add more muscle to your upper body and lower body, your body burns more calories throughout the day. In fact, ten pounds of muscle burns about 50 calories in a day while resting, while ten pounds of fat burns about 20 calories per day. That means that by increasing the amount of muscle you have in any muscle group, you are also increasing your metabolism. When combined with a healthy diet and reduced calories, you’ll lose weight and burn fat even more quickly with your workout routine. Strength training is especially important the older we get because our metabolisms naturally slow down as we age. If the idea of doing strength training intimidates you, don’t worry – it doesn’t have to be scary. Of course, you can choose to hit the weight room at the gym or lift weights at home, but you don’t need to use weights in order to build muscle. There are many different body weight exercises that you can do to build muscle, including squats, lunges, push ups, and other movements that use simple equipment like a resistance band. The largest muscles burn the most calories, so make sure to focus on building lean muscle in your glutes, quads, chest, and abdomen if you want to lose weight.
#3 Try HIIT
If you’ve never tried high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, you might just find your new favorite full body fat burning workout once you do. HIIT is all the rage right now in fitness studios across America, but you don’t need to belong to a gym or take a group class in order to feel its effects. HIIT workouts are defined by performing intervals at a high intensity, such as sprinting for one minute, followed by a period of rest. The average HIIT workout is only 10 to 30 minutes long, so it’s an efficient way to exercise and burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. Depending on the length of the workout, HIIT can burn up to twice as many calories as the same time period of moderate intensity exercise, so it’s a great way to blast your fat cells. HIIT also keeps your metabolic rate high after exercise much more effectively than steady state forms of cardio or even weight training; one study showed that performing just two minutes of sprints increased the body’s metabolism over the course of a day the same amount as 30 minutes of running. Talk about an efficient way to get your workout in!
#4 Focus on Food
Unfortunately, exercise alone isn’t going to be enough to give you the body of your dreams; you’ll have to clean up your diet as well. You don’t need to go crazy cutting out different macronutrients like carbs or fat, but it is important to start adding more whole foods to your diet and cutting out the processed stuff that is high in sugar and simple carbs. Eating a lean source of protein at every meal, such as eggs, chicken, or fish, will help you add muscle mass from your workouts and also keep you full for longer. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is a great way to get the fiber you need and fill up on some low calorie snacks so that you don’t feel as hungry throughout the day. Make sure that when you’re choosing your carbohydrates that you choose whole grains wherever possible, as these take longer for the body to break down and provide a more stable source of energy to fuel your workouts.