Fat attack! – monthly feature in Health & Fitness magazine
March 26, 2015
The best ways to train for weight loss:
Once you have a good postural base (no injuries or specific weaknesses) metabolic resistance training (think circuit training with higher reps and less rest between different moves) is a hugely effective way to drop body fat. This combination of strength and cardio training works wonders if you want the best results in the shortest time. Just make sure you learn the correct technique before you speed things up – you need to keep your form as you move from one exercise to the next before you’ve fully recovered – otherwise you risk injury.
DO WHAT YOU’RE NOT GOOD AT
When you get good at doing something, you become more efficient, so you burn fewer calories doing the same thing. Great news if you’re training for long-distance events, but not what we’re after for shifting a few pounds. If you want rapid fat loss, pick activities you’re not good at and do them repeatedly. So go running if you don’t normally run, or do weight training instead of treadmill running, for example. Once you get good at them, switch to something else and do the same.
DO UPPER-LOWER SUPER-SETS
One of the best ways to burn fat is to do super-sets that alternate between your upper- and lower body. Think squats paired with chin-ups. This allows you to tax your musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems in a way that you couldn’t if you focused on just your upper or lower body. The muscles in your lower body can rest while you work the upper body and visa versa.
GET THE WEIGHT RIGHT
With higher-rep workouts, you still need to challenge your body within the given rep range. If a workout calls for 10 reps, for example, you should pick a weight you can do 10-12 reps with, not a weight you could do 25 reps with. This might seem obvious, but it’s a common mistake and big factor when it comes to results – or lack of them.
DO MORE IN LESS TIME
The best fat-loss workouts rev up your metabolic rate fastest. You need to stimulate as many muscles as possible, while also working your heart and lungs, in a way that’s even more intense than traditional cardio. Rather than counting reps, go for time. For example, try 40m of walking lunges, followed by five push-ups at the end, then sprint back to the start and repeat as many times as you can in 15 minutes.
3 MOVES FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Perhaps the perfect combination of strength and cardio training. Do a full squat to overhead press (hold dumbbells just in front of your shoulders and press them up, locking out your arms as you stand up).
These work the heart and just about every muscle in the body. Standing in front of a chin-up bar, do a burpee (from press-up position, jump your feet towards your hands, then jump up with arms up), pulling yourself up on the bar at the end (don’t worry if you can’t lift yourself all the way up). Lower and repeat.
Hill sprints or sled pulling
Brutally hard on the cardio system, but much friendlier on the joints. If you’re bored with hill sprints, try sled-pulling intervals. They mimic running action without the impact on your joints. If you pull far enough and have very short rest periods, this might be the most horrendous, but effective, exercise ever!
Personal trainer Jean-Claude Vacassin owns W10 Performance gym in West London. He has advised athletes, sports brands and film companies, as well as working in nutrition, functional medicine and rehabilitation.