Fat loss boils down to efficiency. How efficient is your body at burning fat? A lot of that depends on what you eat, which is a topic for later, but also how efficient do you move? If you’re inefficient when you move you’re going to burn more calories. This is the key when you’re trying to burn more fat.
So when we’re on a fat loss kick, what do you do? Well, try doing a movement or activity that you really struggle with in order to increase your ability to burn fat. This really depends on who you are and what you’ve done in your life.
For me this activity is either ice skating or swimming. For one, ice skating engages my core like nobody’s business. I feel like Bambi on skates. Once I get going I’m okay, but it’s not the smooth, floating Ices Capades performance that you’re thinking about right now.
I’m constantly struggling for control over those little blades attached to my feet. And stopping, well let’s just say I hope there’s a wall nearby.
Pretty much the same principle applies with swimming activities. I sink like a rock, so crawling on the bottom of the pool like an alligator is more my style.
Treading water is a full body activity that burns so many calories after about 15 minutes spent in the water I’m smoked. Floating is not an option.
Think about an activity that you do that causes you a lot of sweat and problems with control? Feel like you’re working? Well, you are and you’re burning tons of calories trying to do it too.
What Else Works Really Well
One of the reasons weight training, sprinting, and other high intensity type activities work so well for people trying to cut bodyfat is that they’re always hard and challenging for the body. These type of activities are always causing your body to adapt, as long as you keep your intensity level high.
You simply can’t get super-efficient at them, at least not if you’re programming them right and making them challenging each time you workout (notice this doesn’t apply to the guy that goes to the gym, hits the bench press for 3x10 reps with 135, every single day, and then goes and does some bicep curls).
This inability to adapt or continuing to adapt to heavier loads, more volume, more speed, better technique, is what leads to losing tons and tons of bodyfat.
If your body is inefficient at an activity it’s going to burn more calories. Once it gets good at that activity though, it’s time to move onto something more challenging, which hopefully it never will by doing resistance training and sprinting activities. These should always be tough!
More Advanced Athletes and Fat Loss
Athletes can find this somewhat challenging, since they already do a lot of complex movements in their athletic careers, but take a cyclist for example. You want this cyclist to burn off a little more fat so they can get lighter and perform better in their cycling endeavors. What do you do? They’re already super aerobically oriented. True!
However, they are not conditioned for other modes of exercise other than cycling. Put them on a rower and have them row 500 meters. I guarantee they’ll find this somewhat of a challenge. They will recover quite rapidly, but overall they’re going to think you’ve just destroyed them. It’s not their mode of exercise.
While they’re super adapted to cycling hard for long distances and their cardiovascular and respiratory systems are quite up to the task, the muscles and coordination to do the rower are not up to par. This is how you can get athletes or advanced populations into burning more calories per unit of time. Just throw them on something they’re not adapted to already.
So in closing, want to burn more fat? Just do something that you suck at and when that get’s easy switch to something else. Find you’re not great at about anything sports oriented, well, it’s time to get started lifting those weights and doing some sprint training.
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Jesse “Captain Smash” Howland is the owner of SMASH’s Strength Lab, which offers targeted personal training to reach a variety of fitness and physique goals. A natural bodybuilder, competitive powerlifter, certified personal trainer, and nutrition coach, Jesse is often the go-to resource for personal training Ottawa. He studied Exercise Science at Oregon State University and even trained at the world famous Gold’s Gym. He’s a former US Army Captain with the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, a former blog writer at Veterans Fitness Career College, and former Chief Executive Officer at U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM). His workouts and personal training are army-inspired to help reach your weightloss, athletic, or physique goals.