by Adam Steer
I’d love to say there's a way around it, but if you are looking to shed some unwanted weight you'll have to start with your diet.
There are many effective approaches to fat loss nutrition out there, the trick is finding what suits you best. Some approaches, like Brad Pilon's approach to Intermittent Fasting, are actually quite innovative.
Once you have your nutrition nailed down, you can accelerate the process with a good exercise plan. But these days we are busier than ever, and we're leery of putting money into extras like gym memberships or home exercise equipment. No problem.
At this very moment you are carrying around everything you need to get a tremendous fat burning workout in minutes. Bodyweight exercise delivers everything you need for an effective and time-efficient fat loss workout.
When training to slim down, you have to get your priorities straight.
You should be encouraging the maintenance of lean muscle mass while whipping your fat burning furnaces – your metabolism – into overdrive. Muscle uses energy. That means if you lose muscle, you use up less of your fat stores. So you have to do what you can to preserve, or even increase, your muscle mass while trying to lose fat.
To add more fuel to the flames (pun intended), when you train at high intensity you further increase the amount of energy you burn, even at rest.
Basically, you are giving your body such a butt kicking that it has to work for hours, or even days, to get itself back to what it considers a normal state. And that process takes energy which must come from either the food you eat or the stores you've put aside.
When choosing an exercise to use for a hard-hitting and time-efficient training session, we want to go for something that will use as much of the body as possible. This has the obvious benefit of burning more calories during training, but it also recruits more muscle mass. And that helps us ensure that we keep what we've got.
One of the best I've seen for this is the bodyweight exercise called, the Leg Swoop from Scott Sonnon's FlowFit®).
It solicits the upper-body, lower-body, and core in one fell swoop. This will also help us reach the intensity we need in order to get the metabolic hit that we want.
Since we are looking to get the most bang for our buck, we want to choose an exercise protocol that gets intensity up quickly.
One of the best ways to do this is with what's known as the Tabata protocol. This consists of short 20 second bursts of work at or near our maximum effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest, or of very light effort. We'’ll repeat this cycle 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. You can choose any exercise, but the CST Leg Swoop is particularly effective.
So if you're short on time, or cash is tight, give bodyweight exercise a try. The return on investment beats the market every time.
Adam Steer is co-author of the Bodyweight Exercise Revolution
He's also a member of the Head Coaching Staff of the Circular Strength Training® system and has delivered CST workshops in Singapore, Australia, Washington State, Philadelphia and New York City. He works as a trainer with in-home and gym based clients through his Quebec City company, Momentum Training.