The science behind fitness and health is wild, crazy and ever changing. One minute a study supports a particular claim, then next it's the worst thing you could humanly do to or for yourself. Sometimes you'll even find the same questions looming around the industry with mixed reviews, perspectives and findings. In efforts to calm the maddess, each week here at MensFitness.com we'll scour the Internet, tap into forums and ask our friends on Facebook and Twitter about what question in fitness we can get some firm answers to.
This week, we take a look at the industry's suggestion on how to burn the most fat through exercise.
Q: What are the most effective workouts for fat loss, both including cardio and weights? What workouts wouldn't be ideal for fat loss?
A: The old adage “muscle burns fat” is absolutely true. While some are afraid that lifting weights and engaging in strength training makes one bulky and is only for bodybuilders, they are ignoring the great advantages that strength training can bring. The fact is that increased muscle density improves one’s metabolism. When an individual engages in strength training, the body goes through something called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). This is a state that helps the body restore to a resting state which requires processes like cell replenishment, hormone balancing, and others. Also, as a result of an elevated consumption of your body’s fuel, fat stores and free fatty acids are broken down. Studies show that EPOC can last up to 38 hours after your workout. A comprehensive total body strength training program that includes exercises like squats and deadlifts will help the individual engage in fat loss.
As far as cardio exercises, most people default to a long form, rhythmic cardio exercise like jogging. However, this is both time consuming and not as effective as another form of cardio: sprinting. Sprints, and other short anaerobic exercises, promote fat loss by keeping the individuals body going through EPOC, which we know helps the body burn its fat. In terms of fat loss, sprints are simply both more efficient and effective than long distance running. Try searching for an image of a marathon runner versus a sprinter and notice the great difference in body types.