The human body naturally burns fat as a fuel source, but it can be trained to do this more efficiently. Here are my tips on how you can train your body be a better fat-burning machine.
So often in our busy lives, we want ‘quick fixes’ to achieving our health and fitness goals. Taking a little extra time to plan your fitness routine in advance, however, can produce better results and help you burn fat faster.
As a speed-based athlete, I was never a fan of any type of endurance training - the idea of walking or running for more than 60 minutes sounded like torture! After having my children, however, I realised that occasional extended workouts had great benefits. Not only were they great for my waistline, but for my mind too. Now I look forward to my longer training days. My cardiovascular fitness has dramatically improved, and I feel the benefits in my shorter sessions too.
There are so many ways to burn fat, lose weight and tone up. It just takes the willingness to break out of your comfort zone.
Make time for endurance training
Try to make time for long cardio workout sessions at least once a week, keeping the intensity at 6/10. Running, walking or cycling at a comfortable pace for an extended period of time is a great way to ensure that your body is burning fat. The body uses fat as its fuel source for the majority of long workouts, so once you start pushing yourself and increasing your intensity level, your body will begin to burn stored carbohydrates for energy.
Do some interval-based training
I am a huge fan of interval-style training because of the post-workout, fat-burning effects. During a high-intensity interval workout, the body uses carbohydrates as a fuel source and burns fat to recover. Interval training takes less time and produces incredible fat-burning results after just a 30-minute workout, so try to train in this style twice a week.
Building lean muscle mass helps the body burn more calories even while at rest. As sustaining lean muscle mass requires more calories than sustaining fat, building muscle means the body becomes a better fat-burner long-term. A strength-based workout also pushes your body to recover; doubling the benefits and ensuring you burn fat long after you leave the gym!
The food you use to fuel your body will have a direct effect on the results you see. Ensure you have a good balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein every day. For maximum benefits, consume protein within 30 minutes of your workout (especially on endurance days), and have a small amount of carbohydrate post-workout to help restore the body’s muscle glycogen.
Get some rest
Resting allows the body to adapt to the demands put upon it. If you’re training hard five days a week, having two days of rest will allow your body to recover and regenerate.
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There are so many ways to push your body to adapt and improve. I feel that having a balanced exercise routine and nutrition plan will help to make your body a more efficient calorie and fat-burner long-term. Consistency is key, so dedicate five days per week to being active. If five days a week isn’t realistic for you, just remember my favorite saying:
“Doing something will always get you better results than doing nothing at all!”
Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.