Muscle weighs more than fat which is why the number on a scale does not always represent the true assessment of health or wellness. Building muscle is essential for tapping into stored body fat as an energy source.
To do that without fancy equipment or a gym membership, bodyweight workouts are the way to go! In order to maximize the benefits and keep our cortisol levels low, we need to know the key factors for creating an effective workout.
#1 Choose exercises that use big movements so they will recruit more muscle: The easiest way to do this is start with an exercise that uses your whole body to perform it and is in a weight-bearing format.
Ex: a step-up onto a platform, bench, step stool
This exercise recruits many muscles… quads, glutes, hip flexors, abs and back (aka CORE). The more muscle involved, the more oxygen and energy needed to perform the movement leading to fat loss!
#2 Keep your rest time short between exercises: Steady state cardio output will allow you to constantly burn fat calories, especially when you vary the intensity and tempo of the individual exercises.
If you are just starting out, take longer breaks in order to be able to move for at least 25 mins. As you get better and stronger, begin to shorten the rest periods.
Huffing and puffing is a sign that your body is requiring more oxygen to do the work. And the more oxygen you consume, the more calories you burn. Make that a goal for each workout!
#3 Craft a workout routine that motivates you AND allows you to feel successful: There is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing bodyweight exercises as long as you are not overworking one body part.
But, how you choose to put together a balanced fat burning workout boils down to exercises, tempo, and SEQUENCE.
When you take 6- 8 bodyweight exercises and switch up the sequence, you can create several bodyweight workouts that help you burn fat and give you the variety to keep you motivated over the long-term
When you perform exercises one after another, with limited rest in between each, and you’ve got yourself a circuit workout.
Choose the 6-8 exercises, place them in order and then do 10-15 reps. Rest briefly and move to the next exercise. Start back at the top and keep up a decent pace for 20-25 mins to get an overall fat burning and cardio conditioning effect.
A superset is where you take 2 exercises that involve non-competing muscle groups or movements like jump squats and tricep dips and you alternate between them. Do one set of one exercise, then one set of the second exercise. Then, take a little breather and repeat.
If you are feeling empowered and want to kick it up a notch, same muscle group supersets are awesome for getting fat burning and muscle sculpting effects.
Pairing together 3 exercises and moving from one to the next with limited rest. Pick an upper body focused move with a lower body and a core component for a quick and easy overall body workout…pushups, lunge squats and planks with alternating leg lifts are a great example.
Once you become more comfortable with bodyweight training, it’s time to start varying your exercise tempo in order to recruit more muscle and energy due to more time under tension.
Take a pushup for example. We all know it’s easier to come down than it is to push back up, right? Well, the way down can be made harder by slowing down the movement and resisting gravity. Then quickly pressing up creates a more explosive effect leading to more muscle recruitment. So tempo is very important. Don’t overlook it.
Take home message…bodyweight training in which you are moving from one exercise to the next and as a result, your body is continually working gives you major BURN in a short amount of time.
If this is peaking your interest and you are ready to actually take action, let me help!