If you want to get a six pack then you need to do more than improve your diet, you need to burn fat. And while any kind of exercise will burn fat, some ways do it a lot better than others. Read on to find the quickest and most efficient way to do it that could double or even triple your fat burning rate!
The most obvious is what is known as the Fat Burning Zone, which is about 65% to 75% of your maximum heart rate. The idea here is that at this intensity you burn fat at a higher rate than anything else, but this is misleading because it doesn’t take into account the total amount of calories used. It’s true that if you exercise at this level it will do more than if you exercise at 50% to 60% of your maximum heart rate. But in the same way, you will burn fat at an even greater rate if you exercise at 75% to 85% of your maximum heart rate, and even more at 85% to 100% of your maximum heart rate.
In other words, the harder you work the more calories you’ll use and the more fat you’ll burn.
But it’s not easy to work at high intensities for very long, especially in the 90% to 100% range, which is unfortunate because there are so many benefits to doing so. Aside from being the best way to burn fat, anaerobic training (training without sufficient oxygen) will not only minimise muscle loss, it will actually help your resistance training.
The other way to burn fat is what’s known as steady state training. This involves exercising at the same speed or intensity for a set period of time, such as running at 7 mph for 30 minutes. This is unlikely to be greater than 80% of maximum heart rate and in many cases considerably less. This is why people can often been seen doing it while reading a magazine or chatting with a friend! This kind of training is obviously a lot easier to do but it does relatively little to burn fat.
So is there a way for someone who isn’t as fit as an Olympic athlete to get their heart rate up to 80% or 90% maximum heart rate or more?
Well yes there is. It’s called High Intensity Interval Training.
Interval training simply means doing an exercise at a high intensity for a set amount of time, known as the Work Phase; then doing it at a much lower intensity for a set amount of time, known as the Recovery Phase. These work/recovery phases, which are repeated a given number of times and generally so it takes a 20 or 30 minutes to complete, allow even the most unfit person to get their heart rate close to its maximum.
This allows all the good of high intensity exercise, including an increased ability to burn fat and therefore more of it. It also means that compared to steady state exercise, the amount of calories used can be the same or even more given the same time period but only half the amount of effort. When compared to half-hearted exercise while reading or talking, the increase could be up to 2 or 3 times as much.
30 minutes of very low intensity exercise on a bike, the kind usually done while reading or talking to a friend, could burn as little as 100 calories.
30 minutes of steady state exercise on a treadmill, which means constantly working at a relatively high intensity, could burn around 300 calories.
30 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training on a bike, alternating a work phase with a recovery phase, could also burn 300 calories or more but with only half the effort!
Given the three options above, High Intensity Interval Training is going to use as many calories, burn fat more effectively, yet involves only 15 minutes of work. So the only thing left to do now is to tell you how to do it.
The basic principle of interval training is alternating a work phase at 100% effort with a recovery phase of about 50% effort, the amount of time spent in each can vary depending on the desired outcome. But to minimise muscle loss, increase fitness and burn fat more efficiently, a 1 minute work phase and a 1 minute recovery phase is best. Repeat each phase for 10 or 15 times, which will take 20 or 30 minutes respectively, and then follow this with a 10 minute cool down.
Doing this two or three times a week, either after your resistance workouts or on non-workout days, will quickly burn fat and allow your six pack to look its best.
As always, any questions or feedback leave a comment below.