Large Muscle Groups
The biggest muscles on your body include the glutes, quads, hamstrings, back and chest. You can burn more calories by targeting the larger muscles and by working out as many muscles as possible. Compound exercises are exercises that work multiple muscles. Bicep curls mainly just work the biceps and the biceps are one of the smaller muscles. If you are trying to lose fat then bicep curls are not a good choice. Think about the size of the muscles and the number of muscles that would be worked during the exercise.
Your leg muscles carry your bodyweight around so they are big. Your core muscles help you maintain good posture so they are big. Even after working out my biceps, triceps and forearms for a while my arm muscles are tiny compared to my leg muscles and much weaker. The reason cardio exercises like running burn a lot of calories is because they work your glutes, quads and hamstrings
The quads and hamstrings are your thigh muscles. The glutes are your bum muscles. Those muscles are used to step, sit or stand up. Exercises like running also work your abs and calf muscles.
You can do strength exercise with weights, using your body weight or both. The best exercises for burning calories use both. Body weight exercises often use more muscles than just lifting weights. You can do the bodyweight exercises while holding or wearing weights to increase the resistance. Adding weights to the exercise will help you burn more calories and increase your strength. The exercises below focus on different muscles. So you can do them in a circuit. Do one exercise then quickly move to the next. After doing all the exercises take a quick break before doing another circuit. If you recover quickly enough workout twice a day.
- Lunges & squats work quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, abs and back.
- Pull ups work the back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, forearms and abs.
- Push-ups work the chest, shoulders, triceps and abs.
If I was running or biking to lose fat I would alter the intensity of the exercise. I would alternate between a slow, moderate and fast pace and alternate between flat, uphill and downhill. Interval training can give you better results. You can do the same for bodyweight exercises as you can with cardio to lose fat faster. Deadlifts, step ups, bent over rows, and bench or floor presses are four more strength exercises that would go good with your fat lose workout routine. You might also want to mix in some cardio. You could easily fit rope jumping, shadow boxing, and sprinting into the workout.
Pay attention to your muscles. If you are sore or weak from the last time you exercised then give the strained muscles more time to recover.
Muscle burns more calories than fat and a heavier person burns more calories than a lighter person. So if you increase your muscle weight then you are going to burn more calories while you are exercising and while you are not exercising. If you lose weight the only way not to burn fewer calories than you were before while doing the same activities is to have more muscle. I don't try to lose weight when trying to get rid of fat because I want to burn more calories. I focus on building muscle and using up energy.
Gaining a pound of muscle or even 10 pounds is not going to make a huge difference in the number of calories you burn while sitting around. However when you exercise you can use the extra muscle to use up a lot more energy. You will be able to increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Straining your muscles also causes your body to burn more calories while it is is recovering. Burning more calories throughout the day and during your workouts can make a big difference.
You should be able to easily count the number of reps when doing body weight and weight lifting exercises. I prefer to do sets of 8 to 12. For most strength workouts if I can do more than 12 reps in a set I would increase the amount of weight I was lifting. Cardio involves a very large number of reps. Generally a good cardio workout takes much longer than a good weight lifting workout. When you do cardio there is not a lot of resistance.
My bodyweight and weight lifting workouts tire me out faster and strain my muscles more than my cardio workouts. I accomplish more in less time. For me a good strength training workout lasts about 20 minutes and a good cardio workout lasts for over 60 minutes. When I was focusing on cardio my home workouts started lasting for 2 hours. The workouts usually lasts 20 minutes or less now that I include strength training in most of my workouts . Biking outside is my favorite form of exercise. I like cardio exercises but if I want a short workout then I would focus on strength training.
Burning More Calories
People that do strength training often focus on muscles that stick out and are easily seen. My calf muscles stick out and are very noticeable. When I flex my biceps they stick out. So I notice how big they are. To burn more calories with strength training the focus should be on the muscles that don't stick out. The thigh, butt, back and chest muscles don't stick out or bulge when you use them and it takes a lot of work to make them noticeable bigger but including them in your workout is a good way to burn a lot of calories and lose fat.
If you want to quickly see an increase in size then focus on a small muscle likes the biceps and calf muscles. Bicep curls target the biceps and calf raises target the calf muscles. To do a calf raise you stand on your toes for a few seconds while holding a weight. Both exercises are simple and very effective.
If you want to quickly lose fat then do compound exercise that work large muscles along with the smaller ones and workout all of the large muscles during your workout routine. Do circuits quickly switching from one exercise to the next and alternate the intensity from high to low and if you can workout twice a day. For my weight loss workout routine a did lunges, squats, push ups, pull ups, deadlifts, step ups, bent over rows and floor presses as a circuit. After doing 2 circuits in less than 20 minutes I was sweating, my heart rate was fast, I was breathing heavy and I felt drained. I used up a lot of energy so I burned a lot of calories. Burning more calories than you consume is how you lose fat and weight.
© 2013 Michael H