By Raquel Sbrana (Cert IV Fitness/Group Exercise/Boxing & Kickboxing)
Our weight is determined by the amoutn of calories we consume each day, minus the calories our body expends each day. Exercise helps with weight loss by using up excess energy (calories) that would otherwise be stored as fat, and by increasing our metabolism.
Everything we do burns calories, including breathing, sleeping and digesting food. By adding exercise to the equation we give our bodies “something else” to do, resulting in a higher calorie expenditure.
FAST FACT: There are 9,000 calories in one single kilogram of fat.
Cardio is Key
There are two different types of cardiovascular exercise we will focus on: Low-intensity and high-intensity interval training (H.I.I.T.).
Low-intensity cardio is performed for 45 minutes or more at a time, at 65-75% of your maximum heart rate. The demand placed on your body to breathe and pump blood around your body from the heart to your working muscles is what will burn the calories. The higher demand we place on our body, the more calories we burn. The more calories we burn, the more weight we should lose.
FAST FACT: To work out your maximum heart rate calculate 220 minus your age.
Higher intensity cardio workouts burn a higher number of calories in a shorter amount of time, and have a positive effect on your metabolism. An example of H.I.I.T. training is completing a 60 second jog, followed by a 30 second sprint, repeated over a 15 minute period without stopping.
Keep Up Your Strength
Strength training is also a very important part of weight loss. Cardiovascular training alone will put your body into a catabolic state which means it will start to eat away at your muscle mass. This in turn lowers your metabolic rate. Strength training will increase your lean muscle mass and by doing so, you will increase your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) allowing your body to burn more calories at rest.
FAST FACT: Your BMR is the rate at which you burn calories while at total rest and accounts for 60-70% of the total calories you burn throughout the day.
Personal Trainer Tip
Mix up your routine with all 3 types of training as the key to ongoing weight loss is variety. Everyone’s training needs are going to differ, but there is no doubt that a great start to weight loss is to exercise a minimum of 3 times per week for at least 45 minutes per session.
There is no guarantee that physical exercise will achieve specific outcomes. Results will vary depending on personal commitment, genetics, nutrition and lifestyle factors.