With the New Year approaching, everyone is getting geared up for the typical “New Year’s Resolution” of weight loss. But with so many options and activities to do, what is the most efficient way of spending your time? If you have an hour to workout, how do you decide between playing football or going to the gym?
Below is a chart that should put some perspective on which activity is the best for you.
Adapted from: Ainsworth BE, et al. 2011 compendium of physical activities: A second update of codes and MET values. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2011;43:1575.
Now for all of you gym rats out there, you are saying “great, I don’t do anything on the above chart except for weight lifting, so now what?”
Well, below are a couple of quick tips to increase your caloric burn while resistance training:
Do Compound Exercises rather than Isolation Exercises:
Isolation Exercises focus on one muscle at a time. An example of an Isolation Exercise is a bicep curl. While a bicep curl happens to be a great exercise, and specifically hits the targeted area, it is not the most efficient for a caloric burn.
Compound Exercises target multiple muscle groups at once. An example of a Compound Exercise would be a walking lunge, with dumbbell lateral raises. This happens to be a favorite of mine as you are working most of your lower body, core, and your shoulders. By hitting multiple areas at once you can save time, and increase your caloric burn.
Use dumbbells rather than machines:
When you use a machine, your body is automatically held in place, which requires no work on your part. When you use dumbbells you must use certain muscles like stabilizers, and core just to keep your form correct. The activation of these muscles recruits more fibers then when using machines, which in turn burns more calories. An additional side benefit of dumbbells that I preach daily in training is that they demand your weak side to perform work unassisted by the dominant side. This will force both sides to develop evenly.
I hope this helps give everyone with a weight loss resolution a better idea of what activity can best help you reach your desired physique and fitness goals. Good luck!