Banishing fat from your physique takes more than just pumping iron. To truly burn fat, you must combine strength straining with cardio workouts, and you must do both regularly. Here are some expert tips on how to combine the right amount of cardio with strength training to tone that tummy and tighten up all over.
Crank Up Your Cardio
When walking, jogging, bicycling or training on the elliptical machine, pump up your pace a few notches higher than normal. Your goal should be to get your heart rate up—but not to over-tax your ticker. A quickie method to make sure you’re in a healthy heart rate zone during your cardio workout is to subtract your age from the number 220. It’s not exact, but it should give you a sense of how high your heart rate should be without overdoing it. Sustaining this elevated pulse is the clincher for effective cardio. To see results over time, aim for thirty dedicated minutes per workout and increase the amount of sessions per week or the length of time spent on cardio per session.
Burst or Bust
Shorter bursts of more intense activity will light a fire under your body’s fat-burning mechanisms. Do an even amount of intense and non-intense activity (example: five minutes of walking followed by five minutes of running, etc.) throughout the cardio section of your workout.
The second half of the fat-busting equation is the strength training that converts your body’s stored fat into muscle. Remember that you can’t spot-train to remove certain pockets of fat—it’s all or nothing. Strength training requires a commitment but the results will pay off big. Beginners should ease into a strength training workout that won’t overdo it by training with weights three times per week for about thirty minutes.
Work It All Out
Strength training workouts should cycle through the body, exercising a different set of muscle groups throughout the week. Women should complete 12 to 15 repetitions per muscle group (per side) while men should shoot for 8 to 12 reps per side while periodically increasing weight across the workout. Remember, strength training should make you feel a pleasant burn in your muscles but should never produce a jarring pain.
Have Fun Creating Your Own Fat Burning Combo Workout
Fat burning workouts don’t need to be repetitive. The secret to maximizing effectiveness is to mix up your cardio and your strength training to exercise your mind as well as various parts of your body. If you’re the type who gets bored easily, jot down a workout strategy before you begin your weekly training. Mix and match your cardio activities by alternating between jogging, walking, swimming or cycling. Throw in something fun and different like an aerobics class or dance workout. Then outline which muscle groups you will work, and when.
Don’t Overdo It
The key to a good fat burning workout is being able to sustain it over the following days, weeks and months. Over-training or forcing your body beyond its limits could injure you or turn you off to your new fat burning workout entirely. Pace yourself and you will get long-lasting benefits.