Hands up who’s stuffed their face over the Christmas period? Yep, us too. And we’re not sorry, after all, who can say no to all those delicious festive goods?! But, now the festivities are over, it’s time to get back on track. While piling up your plate, you may have piled on a few extra pounds or maybe you’re feeling a little sluggish after a well-deserved break from your busy active lifestyle. Well, good news! Team Grenade® athlete and nutrition coach Vinny Russo has got five fat burning exercises that’ll get your heart racing and your fitness levels rising. Give these a go and let us know how you get on over on our Instagram: @grenadeofficial.
“When you think about burning fat, you need to understand that the only way to lose tissue, in this case adipose (fat) tissue, is to be in a caloric deficit. When I say caloric deficit, this means that our calorie expenditure for the day needs to exceed our calorie intake for the day. If we are focusing on how to do this with exercise instead of nutrition, then we need to see what movements we can utilise that will cause the most caloric expenditure.
So here we need to look at a few variables:
We want to include as many muscle groups as possible, which means this should focus on compound movements over isolation movements. Compound movements include more than one muscle group to assists in the overall movement. Next, we look at heart rate. What can we do to increase our heart rate while performing this exercise? Intensity plays right into this as the more intense, the higher the heart rate. Next, we need to look at the time in terms of time under tension, time in between sets and time to complete the set (if need be).
The less we rest, the less time the heart rate has to normalise, so it will stay elevated for a longer duration. This means the exercise becomes more taxing on the body. The more time under tension means more glycogen being used and more muscle fibres being recruited. So, we want to include intense, time-driven compound movements that increase the heart rate and make you feel completely drained after. From this, we can now narrow down our search and find some good exercises that meet those standards.
1) BATTLE ROPES
This full body, cardio-esque movement is great to increase your calorie burn. It also offers the flexibility to add multiple movements to each rep. Some people throw burpees into the mix, others do acrobatics, it’s crazy! There are a ton of different exercises you can do with battle ropes but alternating waves is usually where people start. Stand up straight and have some bend and bounce in your knees. Relax your torso and arms and don’t grip the ropes too tightly. You will use your legs and hips to generate the power through your arms. The goal for the alternating waves is to create a “wave-like” movement with the rope in each arm while you alternate swinging your arms.
2) POWER STEP UPS
This movement is a compound movement focusing on the lower body. As with a normal step up, stand tall with one leg on a platform and the other on the floor. You will use the leg that is on the platform to push your body up from the ground to the platform. The twist here is that, as you push off the floor, you need to jump with the leg that is driving through the platform to cause you to “explode” off the platform. Now, while in the air, you will switch legs and repeat the same process with the other leg. Want an extra burn? Try not to spend a lot of time on the ground in between each rep to really enhance the “fat burning” aspect of this movement.
3) WEIGHTED BURPEES
This is a great exercise to expedite fat loss. It involves more than one movement per rep, it targets the entire body and includes a cardio and plyometric aspect to it. Standing tall, you will jump your legs back and land on your hands so you are in the “top of a push up” position. Go right into performing one full push up. At the top of the movement, jump your feet to your hands, stand up, and then finish with a jump. You can perform this for a specific amount of reps or a specific amount of time trying to get as many full burpees in as you can in that allotted time. Use a weighted vest to add extra resistance and a further fat burn.
4) DEADMILL SPRINTS
This movement is an advanced HIIT cardio movement so don’t worry if you don’t perfect it on your first go! A deadmill sprint is not a normal sprint on a treadmill. Instead, the treadmill is turned off for the duration of this exercise. You must drive with your legs and push against the handles with your arm to get the belt moving. Start with a slow walk for about 3 to 5 seconds just to get the belt to move. Once the belt is moving, you will sprint as hard and as fast as you can for a specific amount of time. This can last anywhere from 7-30 seconds, depending on your fitness level. Once your time for the sprint is reached, just hop your feet onto the side rails and allow the belt to come to a full stop. That’s one rep done.
Complete as many reps as you can and gage where you can go from there – this is a tough one so you’ll need to build up each time you give it a go. You should feel completely drained afterwards - like with any HIIT exercise, if you do not feel like you want to lay down and nap afterwards, you weren’t working hard enough. The pain is worth the reward with this exercise.
5) THE SQUAT
This compound movement is the “Mack-Daddy” of compound movements. Yes, it is lower body dominant, but it helps engage all the core muscle groups too, while increasing stability and strength. You can use weights but you don’t necessarily need to. The amount of stress that squats put on the entire body can lead to a cascade of hormonal effects that support fat burning.
Squats also contribute to overall lean muscle tissue gain which means your metabolism will be increased once new muscle tissue is built. An increased metabolism means a leaner you! The best thing about squats is that, considering how basic and fundamentally sound it is, there are so many variations that can be done with it. You can add a jump, a side step, a lunge, a partial rep, a wall sit, the list goes on! Make this movement fun so you will be able to enjoy the demanding workload you are about to put your body through. Adding a cardio aspect to it, such as jump squatting, is a great way to add an extra caloric burn to the equation.