After the indulgence of the past weeks you might be wondering how do you burn those Christmas calories? The key to understanding how to ditch the pounds starts with an understanding of how the body functions.
We all know that exercise can help you to lose weight, but did you know that different types of exercise have different effects on the way your body burns calories? The secret to how do you burn those Christmas calories lies in knowing which types of exercise are most effective at zapping the fat.
The different effects on fat loss of various types of exercise is due to their effects on your metabolism. Your metabolism refers to the speed at which you burn calories, so the faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn.
There are two components to this – how many calories you burn when exercising, and how the exercise affects your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMR is a measure of the calories you burn simply staying alive, whatever your activity levels, and it turns out that some forms of exercise will elevate your BMR more than others – that means you burn more calories 24/7, 365. That’s right, with the right exercise you can burn more calories even when you are lying on the couch watching TV!
The best forms of exercise for increasing the BMR are strength training and interval training. Let’s look at each and see how they affect the BMR.
Strength training boosts the BMR is two ways. Firstly, hard strength training increases the body’s output of HGH – Human Growth Hormone. HGH has two key effects on the body – building muscle and burning fat, both of which help with weight loss. Secondly, when you train hard in this way you will add some muscle mass – again, this is good, because muscles burn calories. Adding just five pounds of muscle can help you to burn up to 150 extra calories per day.
In addition, hard workouts not only burn more calories while you are doing them, but keep your BMR elevated for hours afterwards.
The other form of training that influences the BMR in this way is interval training – where you alternate hard and easy intervals of between 30 and ninety seconds. Interval training can be done during almost any form of aerobic exercise, such as running, swimming, or on cardio machines.
Like strength training, interval training increases the body’s output of HGH, and it too keeps your BMR elevated for hours afterwards.
Both of these are hard workouts, but research is increasingly showing that tough workouts produce many more benefits than easy ones. So if you want to keep the weight off over the holidays, make sure that strength training and intervals are part of your program.
Article from slimming.co.uk January Newsletter
Picture courtesey of J S Creationzs from free digital photos.