In our recent episode, Fat Burning for Women Over 50: Be on Fire, Dr. Len walked us through the sometimes confusing realities of killing off kilocalories. Once we appreciate the role carbohydrates and fat both serve in providing fuel, then we can understand how to select the “best” workout programs.
First, the goal is to have a caloric deficit to lose any weight. That deficit comes from the age old energy balance equation: take in fewer calories than we put out (eat less); put out more calories than we take in (move more). The entire weight loss picture is far more complex, affected by a myriad of other factors. For more on losing weight and fat, check out Burn a Myth to Burn More Calories (post) and Fat Loss; What Does and Doesn’t Work (radio episode) . Professional alert warning system activated – it’s not just about cals in and out, though you do have to start there!
Second, is that we break down carbohydrates 40 times faster than fat, with carbos supplying most of the fuel (energy) to power our exercise. Distinguish between absolute and relative numbers when thinking of fat loss. When you exercise with some intensity, you use a higher percentage of carbos compared to fat as the fuel source. However, the highest total of burned calories is what you are going for. For that, you need to suck it up and add some effort.
Higher intensity exercise burns more calories; however, a long, slow approach is better than what most of the adult population is doing — uh, as in better than not much or nuffink! But a workout with some oomph to it at a higher pace will use more total energy (calories) than the lower intensity plan. Absolutely!
So forget needing to be in a “fat burning zone” when making cardio equipment or fitness tech choices. Get in the calorie burning zone, which is also a high carbo burning zone.
Third, thanks to Dr. Len’s practical tips, you now get led into the exciting, proven, no-magic-required realm of the four best training programs to maximize calorie burning and become lower fat! He recommends we try all 4 methods.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Select a cardio activity you enjoy, such as cycling, running, walking, using a row machine. Go as hard as you can for about 30 seconds. Then recover at a self-selected, variable pace for about 3- 4 minutes. Complete 4-8 rounds for a total workout time of about 30-45 minutes. Dr. Len recommends changing up the mode workout to workout, especially if you have several favorite cardio activities.
And if you forget all this, simply recite the Kymberly mantra: “Go as hard as you can, as long as you can, as often as you can.” I hear the sizzle of calorie burning already!
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Kymberly: Holy holistic, AnnGirl, no spot reducing? Dang it, and I was just about to shake my booty into toned, tight, tushy status. Maybe just another butt squeeze and I’ll zap the fat that may or may not be present, but only my undergarments know for sure. Please, please, please may I have some spot reducing? How about just some reducing … of this persistent myth?
Alexandra: The only spot reducing that works involves a dry cleaner. Otherwise you’d see millions of women shaking their bellies, right?
K: I am the first (well maybe not, but I beat Alexandra to it) to tell you that you can make certain areas look groovier and more holistic through strength training. But any overlying fat would still need to be nuked through overall, whole body, calorically burning cardio for the lean, green, muscle machine to show through. Oh gotta go. My vintage belly fat vibrating machine just arrived.
A: Annie, I do have some good news. You can just do certain areas. Only work the parts below your hair.
Put a big clip on your hair so it can hold still while the rest of you moves. And don’t forget that holistic means body, mind and spirit. So tone your body, tune your spirit and tame your mind!
Readers: Have you tried to spot-reduce? How’d that work out for ya?
Photo credits: Creative Commons