What’s the most effective fat burning workout?
One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to burn fat (or lose weight, for that matter) is spending all their time on cardio machines.
Let’s be clear: cardio (low-intensity exercise like running or cycling) does activate fatty acids to burn as fuel rather than muscle glycogen. It is the best way to burn stored fat, far more effective than anaerobic exercises like resistance training.
The problem is that doing only cardio is actually going to have a negative impact on your metabolism. You’ll train your body to burn fat, but it can only burn so much fat—it’s trained to burn carbs, so it has a harder time with fat. This is why you burn far fewer calories during aerobic workouts than you do with anaerobic workouts.
Over time, your body adapts to the decreased energy demands. You end up burning fewer calories per day because your body realizes it only needs to utilize a certain amount of energy during your workouts. A slower metabolism, even one better able to burn fat, is the opposite of what you want.
So what’s the right way to work out? How can you kick your fat burning into high gear?
The answer: whole-body resistance training.
Sounds very specific, right? Let’s dig into it…
Whole-body resistance training is the most effective workout for one simple reason: it activates all the muscles in your body, meaning more energy is burned. The primary energy source is glycogen (and ATP energy), but once your body runs out of the 500 calories’ worth of energy it has stored, it then taps into body fat.
The result: better overall energy-burning, but specifically very effective fat-burning.
When you do whole-body resistance training, you also use up A LOT more energy than you would doing cardio or normal resistance training. This means your body has to adapt to produce more energy, so your metabolism is ratcheted up a notch.
Then there’s the fact that resistance training protects your muscle tissue, preventing the muscle loss common with low-intensity cardio.
Put that all together, and whole-body resistance training gives you:
Faster metabolism due to higher energy demands
Better fat-burning because you’re burning through your energy stores
Protection from muscle mass loss
That’s what I call damned effective!
How to Structure Your Whole-Body Resistance Training
Instead of focusing on one muscle (shoulders) or even one muscle group (arms, legs, etc.), whole-body resistance training recruits all of your muscles (or most of them) at a time. As mentioned above, this burns through energy stores highly effectively, thereby forcing your metabolism to adapt and increase to accommodate demands.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t focus on a single muscle or muscle group. In fact, your workout can be even MORE effective when you do!
Time to break that down…
Let’s say your daily workout is intended to focus on your chest. Obviously, you’re going to use exercises like Push-Ups and Bench Presses (with all their glorious varieties) to target your chest muscles.
But after you finish each set, you’ve got to give your muscles a break (1-5 minutes, depending on load) to recover. During that time, your heart rate will drop and you will burn far less energy than you could.
Now throw in a whole-body workout structure and see what happens!
You’ll still do your chest workouts, let’s say a set of Push-Ups. However, in the rest period between sets of Push-Ups, you can mix in a whole-body workout that doesn’t recruit your chest muscles—let’s say Bodyweight Inverted Rows, which hit your upper back, biceps, and shoulders.
When you finish the set of Rows, your chest muscles will have had time to recover, so you can slide right into that next set of Push-Ups without having to pause between sets.
However, you’ll have kept your heart rate up and burned through a lot of muscular energy during that set of Bodyweight Inverted Rows. When you finish your second set of Push-Ups, you’ll have given your shoulder, back, and bicep muscles a chance to recover, so you can slide right into the second set of Bodyweight Inverted Rows.
And then just repeat over and over again!
See how that works? You’re still getting that chest-focused workout, but you’re also mixing in movements that focus on the rest of your body. Not only does this lead to highly effective muscle-growth for all of your muscles (not just the one that’s the target of the day), but you keep your heart rate up and burn through energy like a beast.
This type of workout is not for the faint of heart, and it’s going to be as exhausting as any High Intensity Interval Training routine. But, if you can push through, you’ll find it is the single most effective fat-burning, metabolism-boosting, and muscle-building routine around!