Well, it’s that time of year again. The Christmas holidays have been and gone, creeping up on us far too quickly, and unfortunately leaving us again for another year far too quickly. The holiday season is a dieter’s worst nightmare, as there will be an abundance of rich and calorific foods, sugary beverages, and far too much alcohol. If you manage to get through Christmas without gaining weight then we doth our metaphorical caps to you as that is truly a remarkable feat that you should be extremely proud of. The far more likely scenario however, is that you will be like millions upon millions of other people in the world, and will overindulge, gain weight over Christmas, and then hit the gym in the New Year, to not only shed those holiday pounds, but to also shed any other excess pounds you may have been carrying, and to transform your body into a lean, muscular, and aesthetically pleasing work of art, or failing that, lose a few pounds so that your old jeans fit you. If you’re ready to see in the New Year with a fitness bang, and are deadly serious about getting in shape for 2015, here are five of the best forms of exercise that will help you to quickly and effectively shed those excess holiday pounds.
HIIT – HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, is without question one of the most effective methods of exercising in order to burn fat and maintain lean muscle mass. The basic premise behind HIIT is to alternate between spells of slow and steady exercise, and fast paced high intensity periods of exercise, for a number of rounds. So, for example: An individual may begin their workout, once they’ve stretched and warmed up, by getting on a treadmill and walking at a slow and steady pace for say 90 seconds or so. After the 90 seconds, they will then crank up the speed of the treadmill, and sprint as fast as they can for 60 seconds, before slowing down again and walking for a further 90 seconds, and so on. A typical HIIT workout will last roughly 20 – 25 minutes, and will burn around 400 – 600 calories.
Weight and resistance training – People think that lifting weights is only for people looking to build muscle, but that’s not the case at all. Any type of exercise that get’s the heart rate up is going to be burning calories, and therefore fat. Not only this, but studies have shown time and time again, that the more lean muscle mass a person carries on their frame, the more calories they require and the faster their metabolisms run. This is because muscle requires for energy to maintain than fat, and so to maintain muscle mass, the body is forced to burn more calories to generate the energy. The more calories burned, the more fat will be lost.
Steady state cardio – Steady state cardio is probably the most generic form of cardio you will see people performing at the gym, which only goes to prove just how effective it can be. Steady state cardio will require an individual to engage in cardiovascular exercise for a prolonged period of time, generally around 45 – 60 minutes. They will not work at full capacity, and will instead work at around 60 and 75% of their maximum heart rate, which puts them in what is known as the ‘fat burning zone’ which not surprisingly, is most effective for losing fat as the body gets most of its energy from body fat, rather than glucose stores. To work out your maximum heart rate (MHR) simply subtract your age from 220. So, if you’re 20, your MHR will be 200. So your fat burning zone will be a heart rate of between 60 and 75% of 200.