The goal of any work out is burning fat. And while 30 minutes biking, weight training or swimming jump starts your body’s fat-burning process, experts say there are a few tricks you can incorporate in your daily exercise routine to burn more fat each and every time you work out.
Frequency counts for fat burning
“Above all, the most important element to fat loss is the frequency of exercise bouts during the week rather than a focus on a single workout,” says Scott Danberg, MS, director of fitness at the Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa in Aventura, Florida. “Commitment to a daily 30-minute routine can be far more effective than an every-other-day routine that lasts 60 minutes.” That’s because, overall, these shorter but daily routines often total a greater amount of exercise time for the entire week. Plus, shorter workouts mean you can work out harder. “That’s really important because the more intense your routine, the more fat you burn throughout the day,” says Danberg
Pump it up
Harness the power of adding strength training, also called resistance training, using free weights, exercise bands, or machines, to your daily aerobic workout. “Muscles burn fat calories and maintaining muscle mass with strength training will allow your metabolism to hum along at a higher, fat-burning rate,” says Danberg.
Set a new rate
“Challenge your heart rate during an aerobic workout by adding resistance and or speed,” says Jen Cassetty, MS, ASMC, CSCS, a fitness expert and trainer in New York City. This is most easily accomplished by wearing ankle weights when jogging, biking, walking or on the stair machine. “Start by using 3 to 5 lb. weights on each ankle and walk, jog, etc. slowly for 5 to 10 minutes. Increase your speed for 1 to 3 minutes, and then decrease your speed for 5 to 10 minutes. Continue slowly decreasing until you come to a stop,” says Cassetty.
Go for the gold
Olympians have tapped into several tricks to burn fat and maintain the lean muscle mass needed to train at the highest level of competition. Aniela and Jerzy Gregorek fitness coaches in LA, world weightlifting champions and founders and head coaches of the UCLA weightlifting incorporate these gold medal-winning tricks to stay at the height of their sport and “churn the burn.”
- Speed lift. Use light hand weights and do several (about 15) quick repetitions. This type of exercise not only builds more muscle and burns more fat, but when done with the right breathing techniques, helps to produce chemicals that enhance weight loss.
- Use “Olympic breathing.” This is a technique adapted from Olympic weightlifting training. Inhale before the rep, hold your breath while doing rapid repetitions, and then exhale. This is not recommended when lifting heavy weights.
- Do quick explosive movements. When you do repetitive endurance exercise, such as jogging on a treadmill or stationary biking, you end up burning muscle for energy and wear out your joints. Instead, do wind sprints, fast pedaling, or speed lifting–making use of quick, explosive movements. Such power workouts ramp up your metabolism and burn fat instead of muscle.
Just move – even when not exercising
Danberg says staying active throughout the day – not just during your workout – will increase the fat calories you burn. “The secret is to avoid being an exerciser who is relatively sedentary before and after a workout,” he says. If you’re at work, get up from your desk chair every hour or so and walk around the office. Or climb the stairs at home for 10 minutes a few times a day. “Just getting up is beneficial. While talking on the phone stand, move in place or walk over to a window. Every step counts,” says Danberg.