words by Alexandra Salisbury
I’m a runner, always have been. There’s no stress or frustration that I cannot dissolve by putting on my trainers and hitting the road. Yet, whilst running has done so much for my mental health, I have been trying to shift half a stone for about a year and, being fit and active, I had started to wonder why it was proving such a challenge. One Google search later and my suspicions were confirmed; running, it transpires, just isn’t the best way to burn fat. There, I said it. Gavin Walsh, fat loss expert and owner of www.walshthefataway.com, explains why- and how- it was time to train smart.
Squat, squat, squat
Burning fat isn’t about exercising for hours on end, the focus needs to be on short, intensive workouts and explosive movements designed to melt away excess fat. Gavin explains, ‘any exercise that works several muscle groups in one go is always a good idea’ and squats are fantastic way to target problem areas; bum, thighs, calves and the core muscles. You won’t just tone up these areas, you’ll burn fat from all over your body, too.
‘Most people focus on the calories burned during a workout, but the real key is to focus on how an exercise affects your body afterwards’ says Gavin. Say hello to your new friend ‘after burn,’ it’s a sure sign that your body is working hard to repair muscle and burning fat in the process. ‘Short sprints when repeated several times with a rest period, give your metabolism a serious kick up the backside.’ Running regular 10k runs had meant that my fitness had reached a plateau, hence my struggle to shift that pesky tummy fat.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, burpees are a great exercise for fitness and fat loss and don’t require any equipment. ‘It’s unlikely be able to do many of them of them in one sitting,’ Gavin advises, ‘but like the sprints, they’ll help with the after burn effect.’ These fast, explosive movements force your body to respond which accelerates fat loss as your body keeps on working post exercise. Why not finish strong by adding five burpees to the end of your regular workout?
Kettle bell swings
Similar to burpees, Gavin recommends combining cardiovascular exercise and resistance training to tackle excess fat. ‘This exercise will tone those lower leg muscles and give your lungs a workout at the same time,’ which is another case of win, win. If you do have access to weights, incorporate them into your usual workout routine to maximise the fat burning potential. What’s more, women produce a small amount of testosterone when compared to men so there’s no risk of bulking up. Result? Sculpting and fat burning all over!