Although cardio will burn more calories, weight training is where it’s at if you want to zap the fat. Resistance exercises that involve major muscle groups and your own body weight, like lunges, squats, press-ups, planks, dead lifts, jumping jacks, burpees and the dreaded tricep dip, are all brilliant for building muscle and tone. And if you want to hit the weight training area of the gym to tackle some clean and jerk lifts, the heavier the weight, the greater the impact. The real beauty of weight training is that you burn fat during the workout and you continue to burn fat for several hours afterwards as well, because of the effect the workout has on your metabolism (which is increased by up to 20 per cent). So what is not to love about that?
The origins of circuit training date back to the 1950’s, when it was designed as a workout to combine high intensity cardio and resistance training. The idea is to alternate exercises, with a brief rest period in between, which focus on different muscle groups. The interval training nature of the workout will keep your heart rate up and burn that fat. So the best classes will combine aerobic intervals (like a stationary bike, skipping or a treadmill sprint), with weight training elements (weight-lifting or bodyweight resistance exercises like squats, press-ups etc). You’ll definitely get a sweat on and the weight should fall off.
Now here’s a thing you might not have expected to see on the list, but skating is terrific for blasting fat. The side to side movement of your legs, thighs and bottom is tremendous for toning problem areas. Your core also gets its own super workout as it tries to keep everything stable and together to stop you falling over! Plus you can burn over 400 calories in just half an hour by interval skating (one minute hard skating followed by one minute slow). Go on, give it a go. The amount of calories and fat you burn off means you can treat yourself to a hot chocolate afterwards.
Pounding the highways and byways of your local area is another great way of zapping fat. It’s a high impact cardio exercise which focuses on your legs, core and bottom, which also happen to be the biggest calorie and fat burning areas of your body. If you fancy a really tough workout then hit the hills. Hill running is perfect for fat burning because it’s super hard work which involves your whole body (arm pumping becomes essential here). And it’s another form of interval training (you run up the hill then jog back down and start all over again).
Strap on the gloves, start throwing some punches and watch the fat fall off. Anyone who has trained for a fight will tell you how much toning, strengthening and fitness you can build in the ring. But it’s not just about hitting a punch bag or a person really hard, it’s the training around the sport that’s so effective too. Staying light on your feet, being constantly on the move and throwing punches involves a whole body workout, which is why it kick starts your metabolism so effectively. And remember that skipping, which is most pro boxers favourite exercise, is another tool in the fat burner’s arsenal. An interval session with a skipping rope can make grown men cry. So get down the gym and get the gloves on. You won’t regret it.