PeakXVfitness run Wandsworth Common outdoor fitness for groups of women
wanting to lose weight and tone up.
At PeakXVfitness we often get asked about the best way to exercise to lose weight.
We get some raised eyebrows from the answer we give as it’s not the normal
perception of what people think they need to do.
You see the concept of calories in versus calories out still seems to predominate in
the diet and exercise circles. When you think about calories out – it’s all about the
calories you can burn while doing steady state cardio. Many gym goers and personal
trainers will tell you that there is an optimum “fat burning zone” which is roughly
65% of you maximum heart rate, which is the zone where your body uses fat as a
fuel most efficiently. If you exercise for as long as you can in this zone such as
running on a treadmill for an hour you will burn more fat.
we DON’T DO THIS!. This theory is flawed. Yes it will work for a while if you are very
overweight or haven’t exercised in a long time – sure you are going to burn some fat.
But your body is a highly tuned machine and it will adapt to that imposed demand
quite quickly (in as little as 3-8 weeks) after which you will start to see diminishing
This is the point at which you plateau and need to change your programme. I’m sure
you’ve all either experienced this or seen it first hand in the gym. Just look at the
people plodding along on the treadmill or on the bike in their “fat burning zone”,
are they all lean and ripped? Probably not!
A much better way to go about doing “cardio” to optimise weight loss and a tactic
for women wanting to lose weight and tone up is to do high intensity interval
training, otherwise known as HIIT.
This is where you do period of very high intensity work, such as 20-60 seconds of
all out maximal effort running or sprinting or whatever else you like, interspersed
with periods of rest of between 30-120 seconds. These types of workouts have been
proven to be much better for weight loss and muscle gain compared to steady state
cardio and they can be completed in as little as 15-20 minutes. In fact one protocol
called Tabata training can be done in 4 minutes. We do this quite often on out
bootcamps on Wandsworth Common and it is really effective for getting your
heart rate up, getting you out of breath and burning fat.
Here are some examples:
Wandsworth Common outdoor fitness lactate intervals
Set up a 20-30 metre track with cones which you can run between.
30 seconds on (maximal speed shuttle running between the cones)
50-60 seconds off (active rest – walk / stay on your feet)
Repeat this 6-10 times. As you get fitter start to reduce the rest periods down to
30-40 seconds. Do this for a maximum of 4-6 weeks, after that you’ll need to change
something to continue to adapt and either lose weight or gain muscle such as using
Tabata (described below) or doing some aerobic intervals (longer working time
60-70 seconds on 60-70 seconds off). The secret to effective weight lose with type
of exercise is to change things up every few weeks, shock your body in to adapting
and burning more fat.
Wandsworth Common outdoor fitness Tabata circuit
Kettle bell swing or skipping, do an all out maximal effort for 20 seconds, then rest
for 10 seconds. Repeat this 8 times. In just 4 minutes you’ll be green and ready to
This type of training raises you EPOC above and beyond what any steady state cardio
can do in your “fat burning zone”. Without getting too technical all this means is
that it raises your metabolism for hours after you have finished training, whereas
the steady state cardio may only raise your metabolism for a little while. Now this
isn’t an excuse to eat more crap food, but if you eat well AND you have a raised
metabolism from HIIT, voilà you have great fat loss results.