November is our fat loss challenge month so I thought I would tackle possibly the number 1 most frequently asked question in the fitness industry. What is the best way to lose fat? Well the number 1 answer is as follows: everybody is slightly different. This at first doesn't seem like much help, but actually it is very helpful. Just because it works for your friend doesn't mean it will work well for you. Don't be afraid to try different things. That being said there are some guidelines that are really good to follow and understand.
1. The more muscle groups involved in an activity, the more calories the exerciser will burn. Cross country skiing versus walking for example.
2. While it is true that low intensity exercise burns a higher percentage of fat, this is not the full story. 60 minutes of high intensity exercise will burn more calories than 60 minutes of low intensity exercise. From a fat loss perspective this is important. Typically the more calories you burn, the more fat you stand to lose.
3. The more aerobically fit you are the higher the percentage of fat your body will use as fuel during exercise. This is important and indicates that improving your aerobic ability has fat loss value. Include some longer and lower intensity exercise. Some people respond well to more of this, others less.
4. Most research points to endurance exercise having a greater impact on fat loss than strength training. What is interesting however is studies that look at the combination of endurance training and strength training have even better fat loss outcomes.
Don't be afraid to try out different forms of exercise. Training at high intensity is important, but having some relatively easier days has merit. When trying to lose fat don't stick to only one type of exercise. Lift weights (full body lifts with large muscle groups are best) and do endurance training. Work on getting fitter so you can work harder during your sessions and therefore burn more calories. Also remember that exercise alone is never as effective and combining exercise and proper diet/nutrition.