The previous article already showed you 8 weight loss tips regarding nutrition. Now it’s time to learn some tricks to increase your calorie expenditure without much extra effort. The Holidays have started when I wrote this so it’s about time you learn some techniques to combat that newly gained layer of fat. Let’s go!
Number 1: Alternate between upper and lower body training
An interesting tip that I learned about a year ago is to alternate between upper body and lower body exercises. When you do things like pull ups or bench presses for your upper body, more blood flows to that area. If you do lower body exercises immediately after your upper body exercise, the blood has to be forced back to the lower part of your body. Going back to your chest and back requires your body to adjust again and this all costs extra energy. If you would simply train your upper body and lower body separately this wouldn’t be the case. Don’t expect to burn hundreds of extra calories per workout though, but it is a good tip to apply. Besides the extra calorie expenditure it also has the benefit of giving your muscles more time to recover after each exercise.
Number 2: Do circuit training
This specific style of training kind of makes use of the above mentioned technique where you alternate between exercises. You perform one set of three or more exercises in a row without rest. Then you take a short break and repeat this cycle for a couple of times. It’s very intense to keep up such high intensity and it allows you to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. Therefore it increases your weight loss progress. Again you can choose to alternate between upper and lower body exercises, but you could also alternate between different muscle groups.
Number 3: Supersets
A superset is a kind of circuit training but only with two different exercises. These exercises can be two for the same muscle or for two different muscle groups. Start with a bench press for example and immediately after that perform the dumbbell fly for your chest. The other option is to start with bench presses and then do an exercise for the opposing muscle, in this case your upper back. It saves time as well as increase the intensity of your training, burning more calories in the end.
Number 4: Split your workouts
Instead of going for one single workout of 60 to 90 minutes you could choose to split the workout. Part one can be done in the morning and the second part is finished in the evening. Not only does this allow you to train harder at the individual workouts, it also has the added benefit of staying active throughout the day. Sitting on your butt all day and only working out once is not nearly as effective to lose weight as to being active throughout the day. You should expect the workouts to take a little bit longer though as you have to do a warm up and cooling down for both workouts. Fortunately that also burns more calories, so it’s a double, no… triple win!
Number 5: High Intensity Interval Training
In my book ‘The complete, not so giant book of six-pack abs’ you can read a lot more about high intensity interval training (HIIT) and fat loss. For now it is enough for you to know that high intensity training is very effective to burn extra calories in a short amount of time. You can apply this training style to cardiovascular training or simply use it during weight lifting, for example during the squat. Increase the intensity of your workouts, not just the load. Instead of running one hour with weights on your ankles, dumbbells in your hands and a backpack filled with weight plates you should just run faster. I often hear about people trying to run with added weights, but that’s very bad for you. It increases the chance of getting injured. So for cardiovascular training: increase the intensity, not the load.
Number 6: Rope skipping
Do I need to say more about rope skipping than that it burns about 10-15 kcal per minute? It’s one of the most intense workouts out there and can easily help you to burn extra calories. If you skip rope for 20-30 minutes you can easily burn 200 to 300 kcal. That’s more than you can burn with running. Unfortunately most people cannot skip rope that long. In this case I’d like to refer back to tip 4: split your workouts. Skip rope for 10-15 minutes in the morning and another 10-15 minutes in the evening. That should do the trick in combination with muscle building exercises. Rope skipping for weight loss is very effective, I can assure you!
Number 7: Variation is the key to success
Variety of spice is life. That’s definitely true for exercising. Do not use the same workout over and over again. Many people who do not get any results constantly use the same workout, sometimes even for one or more years! The workout plans that I made and which are available in my shop all have a lot of variety in them. I always make plans for my clients that contain enough variety from a month to month basis. I do that because it’s proven to be most effective. You don’t need to change up your routine weekly, but every six to eight weeks is not a bad idea. Just switch up some exercises, add or remove sets and reps or change the intensity you’re working out with and your weight loss goal is closer than you think. An entire new plan every 6 to 12 weeks is also an option.
Number 8: Build muscle mass
I already gave some small hints throughout this post about the importance of gaining muscle mass. Having a good amount of muscle mass plays a crucial role in weight maintenance, looking leaner and losing fat. The book I wrote which comes out in my online shop January 2015 is partly dedicated to the importance of gaining muscle mass. My approach to losing fat is that of gaining muscle mass at the same time. Muscle is an active tissue and burns way more calories (and therefore indirectly fat) in rest. Those who try to lose weight by adjusting their diet plan are smart. Those who also increase their overall level of activity and add cardiovascular training to their weekly training routine are intelligent. But those training to gain muscle mass in combination with the two aforementioned to help their weight loss process are absolute geniuses!
That’s it for now. Enjoy your Holidays and don’t worry too much about messing up all the results you got the past few weeks. It is impossible to mess up everything in just a couple of days, but be careful not to overdo it either. I’ll keep you up to date on the book. Check out the previous post about weight loss with nutrition for more tips! My question to you is what weight loss methods have helped you out?