It's a common question I hear everyday... "What is the best way to burn fat and lose my spare tire?" People usually want to know what's better: aerobics or strength training, traditional cardio exercise or intervals. Cardio is definitely not the best means to burn fat, especially when compared to intervals: they are really a better fat burning workout.
And I think I can really say what's better and what not, after 15 years of experience in helping others, training for sports, training myself, having spent so many hours in the gym.
Now I'm addressing people of a certain type: all those who don't have much time to dedicate on this activity. I suppose you might not have 90 minutes every day at your disposal to spend working out. In fact, what magazines publish as information on how to get fit is very difficult to apply when you really cannot provide all this time and dedicate it to physical activity.
Even if we had these 6-8 hours per week for exercise, we wouldn't really need it. A triathlete might need that, but not someone that just wants to gain muscle and lose fat and boost their metabolism.
All that said, the most important thing about achieving a better body is...
Warm up with bodyweight exercises, then concentrate on building muscle by strength training supersets. You can finish your workout doing interval training: this will allow you to burn fat for a short time. My system is structured so that you can be in and out of the gym in 45 minutes, and do this only three times per week.
Warming up should take you no more than 5 minutes. Doing bodyweight exercises for 5 minutes is much more efficient than spending 5 minutes walking on a treadmill. The latter can only prepare you for more walking on a treadmill.
The second phase, the strength training supersets, can be divided into two exercises you perform back to back, with the minimum rest possible between each. Our workout time is thus cut, and we still have maximum results. In the 20 minutes provided for this we do basic exercises, which can sometimes include more bodyweight exercises, which is a function of the client's goal for muscle building.
The last phase is 18 minutes of interval training. We warm up for the six short intervals; the fitness level is adapted to the client's needs and desires, and the intense periods alternate with periods of low-intensity recovery. At the end, we do a cool-down. And that's all: not more than 45 minutes in all.
If you compare that workout to the way most people try to get fit - jog, run, cycle, or workout on the cardio machines for 45 minutes straight, you'll see that, while it may burn calories, it'll never build a better body.
And you shouldn't forget that there are three disadvantages of long slow cardio: you often get less than optimal results; it can prove an inefficient type of exercise, and it is potentially harmful, because of the risk of injuries.
So if you want to burn belly fat, the best way to do this is when you combine interval training and strength training. It's fast, it's fun, and most importantly - it works!
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