This month’s final unconventional weight loss method is around the concept of exercising less to lose MORE weight. This means shortening your workouts to around 20 minutes a session and stopping your long runs right away. In this article, we explain the negative effects of prolonged exercise on weight loss.
This goes against everything that we are taught to believe about the best way to lose weight. From a young age, we’re led to believe that long cardio sessions are the best ways to help us to lose weight. As a result, millions of people sign up to gyms each month and immediately hit the treadmill in a bid to lose weight. What they are not taught, however, is that long training sessions can hinder your weight loss efforts. How can this be possible I hear you ask? Well to answer this question I first need to ask you one. Have you ever noticed all those people who spend hours every week on treadmills, bikes and in cardio classes and never seem to change their bodies? Perhaps you know someone, or perhaps you are that person? I know I have seen them and been there myself. Well, why is this? Is it because they all just have bad diets or perhaps it is something that they are doing wrong? Let's investigate this further...
Research conducted in 2006 revalued that long distance runners’ weight increased as they grew older. This means that many of them would have been running hundreds of miles each month and yet they still ended up putting on weight each year. One of the reasons that this occurs is because of how common it is for people who spend large amounts of time running to build up huge appetites that eventually lead to them overeating and gaining weight. Long distance runners often suffer from the " Well I deserve this treat look how far I've run" mentality. Another one of the negative effects of prolonged exercise for weight loss is that your body becomes accustomed to long-term, steady-state cardio workouts and gets tricked into thinking your exercise time is 'normal’. Your metabolism is then forced to slow down to compensate. But the biggest reason why long cardio sessions can be harmful to weight loss is that they increase the production of cortisol in the body.
Cortisol is a stress hormone designed to provide the body with the energy it needs to face bodily attacks from injury, illness or infection. In normal circumstances where the exposure to cortisol is brief, this is not a problem and the hormone can actually help to reduce fat. Studies have shown that when cardio sessions are prolonged and frequent cortisol levels are higher. This is backed up by another study that shows how cortisol levels are directly linked to the intensity and duration of the exercise. Further to this, chronic high cortisol levels found in the body have been shown to increase body fat in individuals, increasing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
If you are someone who spends large amounts of time on the treadmill or exercises for long periods of time and hasn’t noticed any significant weight loss it's likely that you are suffering from the negative effects of prolonged exercise. You will benefit from trying shorter intense works. The idea is to train for about 20 minutes in each session. Each 20-minute session has to be intense enough to raise your heart and cortisol levels to enable you to get into the fat loss zone. The difference is, however, that after 20 minutes you stop your workout which stops you from producing excessive and chronic releases of cortisol.
Research has shown that just 20 minutes of high intensity training, two to three times per week, can even lead to better weight loss results when compared to slow and steady workouts performed five times a week. Not only do shorter intense workouts burn fat and boost your cardiovascular health, but they also produce muscle-building hormones that improve bone and tissue growth. Furthermore, it is thought that high intensity shorter sessions may actually suppress your appetite, while steady state cardio can actually increase it.
In essence, shorter workouts will require you to work harder, but are proven to be more effective and burning body fat in the long run.
The most effective sessions that you can use for your short workout durations are sessions that involve a mixture of cardiovascular, core strengthening and resistance training. A great way of ensuring that you get all of the above factors is to take up HIIT.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the best ways to burn unwanted body fat in short durations of time. HIIT works by combining short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest or lower-intensity exercises. This process of exercise can be used to improve anaerobic fitness levels, muscle strength and burn calories. HIIT can be performed in a variety of ways. Some sessions focus more on performing body weight exercises, whilst other sessions can require participants to exercise with weights. Here are a few of the different types of HIIT training routines for weight loss.
Performing sprints is a fantastic way to boost your metabolic rate and burn body fat. A study on the topic of metabolism found that short bursts of high-intensity exercise resulted in a far greater amount of fat loss for a given amount of effort in comparison to moderate intensity exercise. This study suggested that HIIT training routines for weight loss, can burn nine times more fat than conventional, steady-state cardio.
Taking part in regular boxercise classes is both a fun and challenging way to lose body fat. Boxing requires huge amounts of endurance to perform. Traditional boxing training exercises involve; Jumping rope, shadow boxing, hitting the bag, running, performing sit-ups and press-ups. All of these exercises work different parts of the body which help strengthen your cardiovascular system and tone your body. The great thing about the above exercises is that they can be done from the comfort of your own home. If you're struggling to make it to the gym just perform the following sets of exercises to achieve a great workout. for with a little break of 30 seconds to 1-minute inbetweeners each round.
- Jump rope for 3 three-minute rounds
- Shadowbox for 3 three-minute rounds
- Switch between 5 sit-ups, 5 press-ups and 5 burpees for the final 2 minutes.
High-knee running acts as a tremendous cardio workout. This exercise combines the typical running motion with knee lifts. High knees raise your heart rate while strengthening your lower body. As a HIIT exercise, high-knee running is very useful for burning lots of calories in a short amount of time. High knees can be used as a great warm up routine before leading you into other HIIT exercises.
The burpee exercise acts as full-body exercise, working your legs, core, chest, back, and arms, as well as firing up your cardio system. All of these factors make for a guaranteed, calorie-smashing fat-blaster. Burpees are a very challenging exercise to perform which makes for a fantastic HIIT move. What’s great about them is that they can be done anywhere as long as you have some space. The overall benefits are widespread from strength improvement to building cardio endurance research has shown that you can burn up to 20 calories when you perform a continuous set of burpees for 1 minute.
Mountain climbers can be a difficult exercise to get right. They require a tremendous amount of core body and wrist strength to hold yourself in a steady position whilst moving your legs up and down. Nevertheless, when performed properly they act as a great way to boost your heart rate and burn lots of calories. This is another great HIIT exercise that can be performed anywhere.
Another great example of some of the best HIIT training routines for weight loss is the squat. This is considered to be one of the best exercises for burning the most calories in comparison to the amount of time spent training. Unlike traditional squatting, jumping squats demand a jump once you rise from the squatting position. These types of squats are usually performed with little or no additional weight. Performing jumping squats causes your heart rate to rise dramatically and improves cardiovascular levels very quickly. Intervals of jumping squats mixed with burpees and lunges are all superb choices of HIIT.
Lunges are a great strength-training exercise. You can either perform them with just your own weight as resistance or decide to use free weights to add some intensity. Lunges do not burn as many calories as other HIIT exercises such as sprinting or burpees, however, they do target your quadriceps muscles, glutes, calves and hamstrings. When you build your muscles, you raise the rate at which you burn calories while resting. For option results, introduce lunges into your exercise routine along with other HITT such as jumping squats press ups, burpees, and mountain climbers.
You can start right away using the above exercises to crank up the intensity of your short workouts. When you apply the above exercises in a sequence it is referred to as circuit training. Nowadays most gyms run HIIT circuit training classes. If you’re unsure just enquire at your local gym.
Please contact us if you would like some more information on the negative effects of prolonged exercise, or if you'd like some more HIIT training routines for weight loss.