Imagine a world where any type of exercise you performed could burn fat and help you lose weight. Whether it was the treadmill, the weight room, or the swimming pool. You choose the activity, and the pounds melt away.
Now, understand this opportunity exists. While different fitness enthusiasts have their preferred method of burning calories, the reality is that many things work in fitness because there are many types of exercises that burn calories.
While any type of activity can help you burn fat, certain methods — like weight training — are more efficient than others. If you take a step back and remove the equipment being used, weight training works because of the way it manipulates intensity and rest periods.
Those same principles can be applied to other exercises to speed the fat loss process.
If you're looking for a different approach to fat loss (whether with weights or not), it’s time to follow a well-known recipe that will change the way you exercise -- and the results you see.
The Science-Backed Weight-Loss Protocol
Some of you might have heard of Tabata Protocol. Many view this method as the holy grail of fat loss, and here’s why. In the mid-1990s Dr. Tabata designed a study where one group of people performed “steady state” cardio for 60 minutes.
This is what most people have historically considered fat loss exercise: slug away for 60 minutes at a constant pace, let the elliptical tell you that you burned a ton of calories, and then call it a day.
The other group? They just pedaled on a bike for a seemingly-insignificant four minutes. (Or, as long as it takes you to karaoke to “Living on a Prayer.”)
But, it wasn’t any regular four minutes; the participants biked as fast as they could for 20 seconds (max effort), rested for 10 seconds, and then repeated this pattern for eight rounds until the time was up.
Sure, 60 minutes of exercise versus four minutes of exercise doesn’t seem like a fair trial. And it wasn’t: The four minutes of high-intensity exercise burned more fat than the 60 minutes.
Why? In the simplest sense, if you push really hard and rest in limited amounts, then you can burn more fat.
Where Weight Loss Workouts Go Wrong
The biggest problem with Tabatas is that people took a great concept (high intensity, less rest) and manipulated the execution.
The logic goes something like this: "If four minutes is great, then eight minutes must be incredible. And if eight minutes is incredible, then 16 minutes must be mind-blowing."
Yet, much like many things in life, more isn’t better. And in the case of Tabatas, that’s exactly what happens. Remember, part of the fat-loss equation is intensity.
When you start adding additional rounds, they might have diminishing benefits because your intensity isn’t as high.
By the fourth round, odds are you’ll be moving far from your maximum intensity.
The solution: Manipulate the work-rest ratio so that you can squeeze in longer workouts and maintain higher intensity.
Now, that doesn't mean you can't apply the concept to other workouts. But, you'll want to adjust the rest period to keep it short enough to keep your metabolism working and long-enough for you to recover and maintain your highest intensity possible.
The Best Weight Loss Workout Plan
Step 1: Choose your exercise of choice. It must be something that allows you to push at a very high intensity. If you choose to walk, then you must be able to run. If you want to bike, then bike faster If you’re swimming, sprint your laps. And, if you’re lifting weights, you’re picking a weight that you can lift for about 6-10 reps.
Step 2: After a thorough warm-up, follow this routine:
- 10-20 seconds of high-intensity work.
- 40-60 seconds of rest.
- Repeat for 8 rounds
Step 3: Either call it a day or rest 2-3 minutes and repeat.
Follow this process for up to a total of four rounds.