Weight loss exercise for most effective fat reduction has been a hot topic on the airwaves recently with the release of some great new research.
Associate Professor Steve Boutcher and his team from the Fat Loss Lab at NSW University have just published their latest research on best weight loss exercise. Using an innovative exercise approach, these researchers have shown great results for abdominal fat loss and decreased waist circumference measures over 12 weeks, and without dieting!
And it gets even better … the exercises were pelvic floor friendly, meaning that they are suited to women seeking to protect their pelvic floor and exercise safely.
Here’s why I have changed the way I exercise to manage my body weight based upon this research…
Weight Loss Exercise Weekly Guidelines for Fat Loss
Here are the weight loss exercise guidelines used by Dr Boutcher in his most recent study for effective weight loss and exercise1.
Important: Before commencing this or any new exercise program always ensure you have your doctor’s approval to exercise.
1. Type of exercise used – Stationary cycling
Cycling is an excellent low impact form of exercise for women and it is a pelvic floor safe form of exercise too. Cycling is supported so it takes pressure off the joints and the pelvic floor. If you are overweight it allows you to exercise intensely and helps you avoid injury.
2. How often they exercised – 3 times per week
Using this approach to weight loss and exercise ideally try to perform your exercise on alternate days. That means taking a rest day in between which may help to avoid burn out with intense exercise.
3. How hard they exercised – Alternating high and low intensity
The subjects alternated intervals of 8 seconds high intensity immediately followed by 12 seconds low intensity exercise. This is called “interval sprinting”. High intensity exercise means your rate exertion on a scale from 0 (no exertion) to 10 (maximal exertion), vigorous intensity is a rating of 7-8 out of 10. High intensity exercise involves substantial increase in exercising heart rate and increased breathing rate.
4. How long they exercised for – 20 minutes per session
Start with a 5 minute steady warm up of your choice of exercise before 20 minutes of continuous “interval sprinting” with no rest breaks.
The Weight Loss Exercise Findings
The research team found that after 3 months using this exercise regime, their exercising subjects measured significantly:
►Decreased abdominal, trunk and visceral (internal organs) fat;
►Decreased waist circumference;
►Increased aerobic power; and
►Increased lean muscle mass.
Why is High Intensity Best Weight Loss Exercise?
The researchers state that possible reasons for the enhanced fat loss with high intensity exercise may due to a number of factors. Basically we don’t know why interval sprinting works, we just know that it does work. Here are some potential reasons why interval sprinting is the most effective method known for weight loss and exercise:
- Improved fat burning during exercise;
- Increased fat burning after exercise has finished; and/or
- Decreased appetite after exercise.
Study Implications for Best Weight Loss Exercise?
This study1 was performed on overweight men who did not change their diet throughout the study. The same exercise guidelines have been shown to be effective in women in a previous study2. This weight loss and exercise study in women found that 20 minutes of high intensity “interval sprinting” 3 times weekly resulted in significant fat loss compared with moderate intensity cycling for 40 minutes which resulted in no fat loss.
Any Potential Drawbacks?
Having tried a session of this exercise for myself since reading this research, it is physically challenging – nowhere near as easy as a medium paced morning stroll in the park. Afterwards I felt great and as though I had really worked out hard. It may be difficult to perform this level of high intensity exercise on an ongoing basis and remain committed owing to the intensity of exercise. However, the overarching principle of interval sprinting with a mix of high and low intensity exercise may well be worth implementing whenever you can especially if you are poor and seeking effective weight loss through exercise.
The music used in this study is preset with the correct timing for the high and low intensity intervals and is called LifeSprints. LifeSprints music can be purchased online here.
Summary for Best Weight Loss Exercise:
This recent research suggests that in order to lose abdominal fat, and reduce your waistline the best weight loss exercise is:
- Stationary cycling;
- 3 times weekly;
- 8 seconds high intensity and 12 seconds low intensity alternating; and
- 20 minutes total continuous exercise (plus 5 minute warm up).
These weight loss exercise research findings may be well worth implementing if you are seeking to lose abdominal weight and decrease your waist circumference. The added bonus is that this type of exercise is time efficient and pelvic floor friendly too, so it also provides an excellent exercise solution for many women.
1M. Heydari, J. Freund, and S.H. Boutcher, “The Effect of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise on Body Composition of Overweight Young Males,” Journal of Obesity, vol. 2012, Article ID 480467, 8 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/480467
2D.J. Chisholm, J. Freund and S.H. Boutcher “The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting levels of young women” International Journal of Obesity (2008) vol 32, no. 4, pp. 684-691.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Michelle Kenway
Michelle Kenway is a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist and author of Inside Out – the Essential Women’s Guide to Pelvic Support. The Inside Out exercise DVD and book show women how to strengthen the pelvic floor and exercise effectively with pelvic floor safe exercises.