The quick-stepping secret to dropping 10 pounds and flattening your belly in just three weeks.
When you want to shed serious weight, walking might not even come to mind. But it should.
“Fast-paced walking, when combined with healthy eating, is hugely effective for weight loss,” says Art Weltman, PhD, director of exercise physiology at the University of Virginia. And those simple steps can have a big impact on your overall health, cutting your risk of everything from heart disease to depression. If your daily strolls haven’t made you skinny so far, your speed may be the problem. Many of us stride more like a window-shopper than a power walker. The goalthankfullyisn’t crazy race-walker style; you just need to move at a challenging pace.
In studies, Weltman has found that women who do three short (about 30-minute) high-intensity walks plus two moderately paced recovery walks a week lose up to six times more abdominal fat than participants who simply stroll five days a week. (This despite the fact that both groups burn the exact same number of calories.)
The power walkers also drop about four times as much total body fat. “There is a strong relationship between intensity of exercise and fat-burning hormones,” says Weltman. “So if you’re exercising at a pace considered to be hard, you’re likely to release more of these hormones.” The best part: When women walk, deep abdominal fat is the first to go. That’s a scientific fact we can get excited about.
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What’s the best way to run for weight loss? Answering this question is trickier than you might think. The number of calories you burn through running is determined by how many miles you run. So it would stand to reason that the most effective way to slim down through running is to run a lot. However, when you run a lot your body also wants to eat a lot in order to avoid chronic fatigue or injury. . . and eating a lot is not conducive to weight loss.
In fact, while running may be a great weight-loss activity, it’s not the best overall method. Research has proven the most effective tool for shedding pounds is calorie restriction— that is, eating less. When you’re trying to lose weight you should aim to consume 300 to 500 fewer calories per day than your body uses. If you do this, you will lose weight steadily at a moderate rate—but you will also lack the energy to maintain a heavy running schedule.
The solution is to combine your calorie deficit with a training program designed to keep your metabolic fire burning. Such a program includes three different kinds of workouts. . .
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The most important thing when looking to lose weight is achieving a negative energy balance. If you burn more calories than you consume, you lose weight. Therefore, it’s ideal when your training consists of workouts that torch a lot of calories without spending hours working out. Slow runs at a comfortable pace are good for boosting your metabolism, but they are not very effective at blasting fat. Intense workouts that produce a high training stimulus are better at burning calories. Plus, your muscles require a lot of energy post-workout for the recovery process. Through this “afterburn effect” your body continues to burn calories after your workout.
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