Body & Mind
Double your calorie burn and slim down fast
Whether it's some end-of-year cash from your boss or a buy one, get one free deal, it's always nice to get a little something extra. Your workout is of no different. Let's try some combos of Resistance training and high cardio moves to help you burn extra calories double time and slim down faster than the usual ways.
Regular resistance training builds metabolism-boosting muscle, while aerobic exercise blasts body fat. But up the intensity of the either workout and you'll experience a freebie called "excess post-exercise oxygen consumption" aka "after burn". It's the number of calories your body continues to use long after your sneakers are back in your gym bag.
Some studies have shown after burn can last up to 48 hours and melt anywhere from 50 to 150 extra calories. That's like getting the benefit of four workouts from just three sessions.
To achieve that after burn, though, you have to step out of your comfort zone. "The more intense your efforts, the better and faster your results."
I am giving you five ways to turbo-charge your strength programme -- all of them will help you double your calorie burn during your workout and have been proven to rev your metabolism.
Add high-intensity cardio and your bonus will be fitting into your tightest, sexiest party dress.
1. Sumo squat with ball raise: This workout shapes legs, butt and shoulders. Stand with feet wide, legs and toes turned out and hold a medicine ball with both hands in front of hips. Lower into a squat, stand up halfway and raise ball up to the left. Return to squat and repeat, lifting ball up to right on the next rep. Do 10 to 12 reps, alternating sides.
2. Push-ups with row: This shapes chest, triceps, upper back and core. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, get in push-up position. Keep abs tight as you lower chest toward ground. Push up, then draw left hand toward rib cage, keeping elbow tucked in. Lower weight and raise right hand to your rib cage to complete 1 rep. Do 10 to 12 reps.
3. High knee squat jog: This shapes legs, butt, arms and core. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with feet shoulder width apart, lower halfway into a squat, hands at hips and alternate lifting one knee then the other to waist height in front of you. Slowly "jog" in place for 30 to 60 seconds.
4. Side scissors: This shapes core and legs. Lie on right side with head on right arm, left hand on ground in front of you for support. Lift legs, a few inches, keeping feet, hips, and shoulders stacked. Try not to roll forward or back. Sweep right leg forward and left leg back, then switch. Do 10 to 15 reps, then switch sides to complete set.
5. Weighted crunch: This shapes entire core. Lie face up with a dumbbell in each hand next to shoulders, knees bent and toes on the ground. Lift head and shoulders as you draw knees toward chest. Touch toes to ground as you lower upper body slightly and repeat. Do 15 to 20 reps.
Five ways to fast-track your result:
Each plan here ups your workout intensity and/or increase strength, both of which speed up your metabolism.
1. Hold steady: Research has shown that increasing the amount of time your muscles are working against resistance can improve strength by as much as 50 percent. Do 5 to 10 small pulses at the toughest point of each move, for example, at the lowest part of a squat or lunge or the lifting phase of row or press.
2. Slow down: One study found that subjects who emphasized the eccentric contraction (usually the lowering part of a move) gained nearly twice the strength as those who focused on the lifting portion of the exercise. Take 2 counts to lift, then to 5 counts to return to the starting position. Take 4 to 5 counts to squat or lunge.
3. Add a band: Use a resistance band with dumbbells and your results multiply. One recent study found that exercisers had up to three times the increase in strength and power when they are paired a resistance band or tube with free weights. Follow the instructions given at the end of each move here. Start with a long, light band or tube.
4. Keep moving: Circuit training can keep your metabolism elevated for up to 16 hours after exercising. Do 1 minute of high-energy cardio between each move: jumping jacks, mountain climbers, side shuffles, fast feet, high knees, or squat thrusts.
5. Gain weight: It doesn't take a PhD to know that heavier weights are harder to lift. One study found higher-resistance strength programme produced nearly double the after burn of a lower-resistance one. Pick a weight that you can lift only 5 or 6 times and reduce the reps by about half (add ankle weights to the side scissors).
How it works:
Do 2 or 3 sets of each exercise in order, 2 or 3 days a week.