Category: Exercise

Mixing Weights & Cardio: Maximize Your Fat-Burning Potential

fitnessLet’s be honest, the reason most of us join the gym – and the reason most of us keep going – is to burn fat. We try to eat healthy, but stress, bad eating habits or – worst of all – the convenience of less-than healthy alternatives keep us reliant on exercise to keep the pounds away.

We’re motivated to go to the gym. We’re even motivated to work out once we get there. But we don’t want to spend our entire day (or night) on the treadmill or in the spinning class. How do we get the biggest bang for our buck as the saying goes?

The answer is easier than you may have thought: mix up your routine.

Your body is designed to react to the stresses and strains it is put through and to become stronger as a result – basically to keep the next stressful even from hurting so much. You can see that in your muscles when you lift weights – what hurt a few weeks ago is now bearable. And you can see it in your cardio workouts as well – where you would have had to stop last month is just a mile marker today.

Your body learns. It’s not lazy, but it’s not stupid either. If it can expend less energy for the same result than it will. Our job is to keep one step ahead of our bodies – so that we keep exerting the maximum effort and burning the maximum amount of fat possible. But how can we do this?

By mixing weight training with our cardio. We know that a 30 minute cardio workout (stepping, climbing, running, aerobics) burns roughly twice the amount of calories that the same amount of time spent lifting weights, so why not just double up on the cardio time?

The answer is that strength training – either with free weights or with machines requires more effort than cardio, although for much shorter time periods. You exert a much higher percentage of energy to lift a weight over your head than you do in running a few steps. And by exerting large amounts of energy regularly over the course of your workout, you can elevate the overall fat-burning effectiveness of your exercises.

For instance, when your body exerts more than a 75% effort in doing anything, it has to call on more than simply carbohydrates to fuel the repeated effort. This means your body hits your fat cells for energy too. Whereas running at a good pace may not equal a 75% effort, lifting a heavy enough weight over your head will. And once your body has tapped into your fat stores for energy, you can keep it coming back for more by keeping your heart rate up (with cardio) and your effort percentage up (with strength training).

Most trainers recommend a circuit-style training program to maximize this fat-burning potential. In a typical circuit, you will warm up with 20 minutes or more of cardio and then alternate different cardio exercises with different strength exercises. The result is you keep your body reliant on burning fat for fuel and you keep it guessing so it can’t streamline the process.

So the next time you’re in the gym, don’t fall into you normal routine. Mix it up and keep your body guessing – all the way to your skinny jeans!

Read more: Find An Exercise Class That Fits What You Want

Find An Exercise Class That Fits What You Want

Exercise ClassMaking the decision to join a gym is an important one. Not all gyms are the same and if you want to stay motivated and reach your fitness goals, it is vital that you choose wisely. But keep in mind that the decision making process doesn’t end after you’ve gotten your membership activated. Picking the ideal exercise class is another decision you’ll have to deal with but it doesn’t have to be complicated as long as you stick to a program that is tailored towards your tastes.

One of the biggest and most common mistakes newbies make when it comes to exercise classes is picking one at random and just going with the flow – you can read on birthorderplus. If you have fitness goals that you want to reach, your best bet is to take a step back and find out exactly what you want from an exercise class and if that particular program is available to you at your local gym.

Because of the rise in numbers of people becoming more health-oriented, many gyms have developed a slew of exercise classes that involve everything from step aerobics to yoga and power cycling. Instead of looking at the list of classes available and picking one at random, plan ahead and pick a class that was made for you.

What does that mean exactly? For one thing, the exercise class you sign up for at the gym should be convenient and work with your schedule. Don’t pick an aerobics class that is early in the mornings if you work late at night or aren’t a morning person. Being able to make it to class on time and staying from beginning to end will increase your chances of success and getting the end results you want.

Not sure what kind of exercise class you can handle? If you’re a first time gym goer you’ll more than likely want to stick to beginner or intermediate level classes. It is also a good idea to think about your personality. Are you a super active person by nature or do you prefer to take things slow? Are you looking for a challenge or simply want to try something new?

These factors will all point you towards the appropriate exercise class at your gym. For example, if you’re a high energy person that loves to push themselves to the limit, try signing up for an exercise class that involves a sport like kickboxing. Or if you’d rather mellow out while improving your strength and tone, opt for a slower-paced yoga class.

According to comfort should also be another determining factor when choosing classes. Sit in on an exercise class and see how it’s run. Be observant: how does the instructor interact with the people in the class? Are the other gym goers in the class friendly, talkative or do they stay focused on what they’re doing? Regardless of what kind of class you end up joining, it should provide an atmosphere where you aren’t afraid to give it your all and push yourself.

Read more: Mixing Weights & Cardio: Maximize Your Fat-Burning Potential