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So What’s the Best Fat Burning Exercise? The Surprising Answer…

By Rob Poulos...

So you’ve been following your diet plan diligently–with poor results.  Although you look thinner–and the scale says you’ve lost weight–you still have that dreaded belly pooch and fat deposits all around your hips.  So what’s wrong here?

Well, here’s the problem: Chances are you’re not engaging in the best fat burning exercise program.  While nutrition is vitally important when it comes to getting thin, getting lean depends both on a good nutrition and exercise program. But which exercise program is best?  To help you find the best exercise to burn fat, here are four exercise plans you’ve probably heard of.

So What’s the Best Fat Burning Exercise?

Not sure if your exercise is the best for burning fat?  Check out which of these exercises fits the bill best:

1. A long bout on the treadmill.  To lose weight, most personal trainers have it pounded into our heads: Do longer cardio.  Naturally, a long, sweaty bout on the treadmill or Arc trainer makes logical sense–it allows us to engage in longer cardio sessions, burning more calories.  Unfortunately, it turns out that exercising more isn’t necessarily better–here’s why.

Why it’s not good: Although exercising longer can burn more calories, it also has a less pleasant effect–it can also gradually reduce your muscle mass.  Having more muscle mass means a higher metabolism, so when you reduce it, you effectively reduce your metabolism.  As a result, you’ll have a harder time losing weight.  Verdict: Don’t do it.

2. Crossfit.  It’s a big trend that’s catching on–a program that utilizes heavy weight training paired with heavy conditioning drills–and innumerable people now are doing it, from fitness models to athletes.  Unlike weightlifting, Crossfit focuses more on lifting heavier weights at higher repetitions to test the body; it also focuses more on conditioning than lifting heavier weights to build muscle.  But this unfortunately could be its downfall.

Why it’s not good: Although Crossfit does incorporate heavy strength training moves, it requires far too many repetitions to build muscle.  As a guide, muscle atrophy (the process in which you build muscle) sits at around 8 to 12 repetitions, whereas it isn’t uncommon for Crossfit exercises to double this amount.  As a result, you won’t build muscle–and in fact, it may reduce your muscle because the high repetition make it into a cardiovascular-type workout.  Verdict: If you want to burn more fat, then this exercise is best to skip.

3. Strength training.  Most people normally associate strength training with bodybuilders such as Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jay Cutler–mostly because strength training helps build muscle mass (although a few illegal drugs helped them with their physiques).  As a result, most people skip it because they don’t want to get bulky, but may be actually ruining their ability to burn fat in the process.

Why it’s actually good: Here’s something you didn’t know–unless you take steroids, it is very unlikely you’ll ever look like a bodybuilder.  In fact, most people who strength train just looked toned or athletic, especially women, who cannot physically build enough muscle mass because of their hormones.

On the plus side, strength training also preserves and builds muscle mass, which will raise your metabolism.  This is actually a good thing, because people with more muscle mass burn more fat–and they’ll need to take less effort to lose weight.  Strength training truly is in! 

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