In an effort to shed those pounds, many people shy away from weight training but the truth is, lifting weights is one of the best things you can do. Alongside burning calories during the workout, weight training can also increase your muscle mass. It’s then that the real weight loss benefits occur.
The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn completing an activity, in comparison to someone with less muscle completing the same activity. Introduce weight training into your fitness programme and you will be able to burn more calories through less exercise, due to your increased muscle mass - win win.
Keep your workouts short
You probably already like the look of this point just from the title, and Danish scientists have in fact found that cutting down exercise sessions could help you lose more weight. Their study divided sedentary, unfit Danish men in their 20s and 30s into three groups. One were given daily workouts where they burnt 600 calories, another group exercised daily until they burnt 300 calories, while the third group were used as the controls and continued with their usual inactive routines.
The results found that the group of men who completed the moderate daily workouts lost more weight at the end of the study (an average of seven pounds) than those who worked out for longer. Although the scientists were a little unclear as to why the results showed this, they indicated that it was because the group who worked out for longer consumed more calories to help their bodies recover and were less active throughout the day as a result of their exercise.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and it also helps you exercise less and lose more! A study by Iowa University found that ursolic acid - a natural compound found in apple skins - actually increased the amount of muscle in mice. The study also found that ursolic acid increased the amount of brown fat in the mice tested. Both of these increases are known for their ability to burn more calories.
The mice on a high fat diet that were given the ursolic acid were less obese than those that were not given the compound found in apple skins. Therefore researchers came to the conclusion that ursolic acid could help to burn calories and reduce obesity. Apples could be the key to exercising less and losing more.
If you find yourself pondering the question, ‘how much should I exercise to lose weight’ then you will be interested to know that the answer could lie in completing short, high-intensity workouts. In comparison to moderate exercise, high intensity training can result in a greater calorie expenditure and therefore mean that you exercise less but lose more weight.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is one method which involves short periods of anaerobic exercise with less intensive recovery periods. With HIIT training, the body continues to burn calories after the session has finished as your muscles recover from the high-intensity workout and replenish their glycogen stores - so the weight loss gains are further increased.
If you really want to make the most of your training sessions, then you need to crank it up a gear. Speed is king when it comes to exercising less and losing more. Although it might be more tempting to go for a gentle jog around a route you have completed countless times, your body will soon grow used to the challenge and your fitness progress will plateau.
So, rather than taking a steady approach to your training, introduce some interval sessions to really step up your weight loss. Interval sessions are fantastic as when you work harder in the sprint sessions, so do your muscles and additional chemicals are produced to cope with the extra oxygen your body processes. To complete this process, your body uses more energy and therefore burns more calories.