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Weekly visits to the gym, low carb diets, yoga, aerobics – everyone today seems to be focused on losing weight and staying fit, be it for a better body shape or to ensure improved long-term health. Whether it’s just tummy fat or overall weight loss, sometimes you may find it difficult to lose weight no matter what you seem to do!

This is why you should know exactly how exercise helps you burn fat and what really happens to your body when you exercise.

What goes in must burn out!

This refers to the energy balance in your body – and the basic concept behind weight loss and weight gain. Simply put: if you consume more than your body burns (energy in more than energy out), then your body will store the excess calories as fat. In contrast, if your calorie intake is less than what your body needs for daily functioning (energy in is less than energy out), then you will lose weight. If your weight is healthy, then you need to take in the same amount that you burn everyday to keep the balance.

Facts on “the fat burning zone”!

The “fat burning zone” refers to the time zone where the intensity of training helps your body burn “more fat than sugar”. Usually, with moderate intensity exercise, the body burns a greater percentage of fat (50% of calories) than at higher intensities (35% of calories).

While the above is true, you shouldn’t be obsessed with the fat burning zone because the ultimate goal should be the total calories spent during workout.  For example, a 60 kg woman walking briskly for 60 minutes can burn up to 205 calories of which 72 are from fat, whereas jogging for 60 minutes can burn 380 calories of which 190 are from fat. A consistent exercise system that results in a shortage of 3,500 calories per week will help you lose ½ kg of your body weight. And with regular exercise, your weight loss will be mostly from fat.

The truth behind aerobic or weight training

A common misconception is that only aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging or cycling burns calories and fat, whereas strength training only builds muscles without burning calories. In fact, weight training for 45 minutes with a lot of repetition helps the body burn a significant amount of fat and calories, particularly in women, while simultaneously building muscles. And, you should know that each kilogram of muscle helps you burn an extra 50 calories a day while resting!

Does exercise before breakfast burn more fat?

A recent study suggests that if you want to lose weight, this may not be the best strategy. Mainly because exercising on an empty stomach may encourage overeating after exercising, especially foods that are calorie-rich and low in nutrients. Whereas a healthy breakfast or snack before exercise can actually reduce the need to snack impulsively.

Will stomach crunches remove belly fat?

Contrary to popular belief, that is not really true. This is because the muscles do not own the fat that surrounds them. When you workout, your body burns fat all over and some individuals are genetically prone to lose fat faster in some places rather than others.

In fact, stomach crunches will strengthen your stomach muscles, which could make your stomach look bulkier if you don’t work out regularly to burn the fat. That’s why the best advice for weight loss is to exercise moderately, 60-90 minutes most days of the week to lose weight. And make sure to always include strength training to build up healthy muscles.

Boost fat loss with “Circuit or Interval Training”

As complex as it may sound, “Interval Training” actually refers to a series of intense activity separated by short rest periods. This eventually enables you to exercise at a higher overall intensity without getting as tired.

For example, interval training could involve alternate periods of high intensity exercise like jumping in place or skipping rope with periods of lower intensity like squatting or lunging. This allows you to exercise more within the same amount of time than you could before, thereby making efficient use of your exercise time in a busy schedule. As a matter of fact, this type of exercise was shown to increase metabolism and consequently burn more fat during the day.

The last word on working out

Most importantly, you should workout for flexibility, strength and cardiovascular endurance to attain a healthy body weight with a low fat percentage and higher muscle mass. Always remember to eat three meals and two healthy snacks daily to keep your metabolism running effectively.



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