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Aerobic exercises and weight training can help you shed fat effectively.
A certain amount of fat is necessary for both men and women. It helps maintain body temperature by acting as insulation and protects vital body organs by acting as a shock absorber.
For people in the sub-continent 15-20 per cent of body weight [in men] and 20-25 per cent of body weight [in women] is considered to be within limits. Body fat percentage in excess of these limits will call for efforts to bring it within limits. Even for those who are within limits, effort should always be made to be closer to the lower range of this acceptable fat percentage.
Increase in the size of fat cells [hypertrophy] and increase in number of fat cells [hyperplasia] become stagnant by age 10. Beyond this age, the number of fat cells cannot be reduced; only its size can be controlled. Fat cells [in terms of their number] reduction can be achieved only by surgical methods like liposuction. However, the size of the fat cells can be reduced by a systematic exercise regime and dietary control. So, to avoid adulthood obesity it is necessary to check childhood obesity, especially during the formative years up to age 10.
Body weight is made of two parts – lean body mass and fat. The weight which we get when we stand on the weighing scale is the sum of these two. So, in weight loss programmes, the target is to achieve fat loss.
Fat content as a percentage of total body weight can only be ascertained by sophisticated methods like Body Composition Analysis. This determines the exact level of fat percentage, and the areas in which it is deposited. It, thus, helps your trainer to finalise the exercise regime that will give you the best possible results in the shortest time possible.
It is important to understand that fat loss can be achieved only when there is negative balance of calorie requirement of the body. In short, if calorie requirement, for instance, in a healthy adult is 2,000, then the calorie intake should be less than 2,000. This negative balance will prompt the body to dig into reserves for fulfilling the calorie requirement which can only be made available by breaking down the fat deposits.
Physical activity of any kind, heavy-duty exercises such as jogging, or bicycling, to easier efforts like walking, is good for you to maintain weight. However, speak to your doctor before you start any exercise plan
- Ashwini Ranade
Fat loss can be achieved by doing either cardio [aerobic] exercises or by weight training [resistance] exercise programme.
Fat is burnt during cardio exercises only while working-out and the process stops immediately when the exercise stops. Even for this, the cardio exercises must be performed with full permissible intensity. The benefits of cardio exercises are maximum when the work-out is performed at the minimum 65-80 per cent [Training Heart Rate Zone] of one’s Maximum Heart Rate [220-Age] continuously for 20 or more minutes. Walking/running on tread mill, cycling, working-out on cross trainers, brisk walking, swimming, and aerobic dancing are some of the exercises that are called cardio exercises.
Fat loss can also occur by doing weight training. However, unlike cardio exercises fat loss occurs not during the work-out, but during the 24 hours resting period after the work-out. Here glucose is used by the muscles as an energy source and after the work-out fat is used by the muscles as an energy source to support the heightened metabolic rate achieved by the intense work-out.
Therefore, to achieve the best results in a fat loss programme, a combination of cardio and intensive weight training exercises is suggested to be performed on alternate days. Ideally, one should not mix cardio and weight training exercises on the same day since it may compromise the intensity of the exercise.
Any exercise done without achieving full intensity required for the work-out will always produce sub-optimum results. For continuous and steady improvement in results over a period of time, even current levels of intensity need to be increased since the body gets used to a particular level if performed over a longer time and stops yielding results expected from such work-out.
Intensity can be increased in cardio work-out either by increasing duration or difficulty level like inclination/electromagnetic resistance. Intensity can also be increased in weight training exercise by altering any or all of the three variables – i.e., weight [poundage] or repetitions [number of times muscle contraction is achieved; ideal, being 6-8 repetitions], or by sets [number of times such repetitions are carried out; ideal being 2-3 sets].
When a person embarks on exercise regime, the body’s nutritional requirement goes up; however, since s/he is also expected to achieve fat loss, there is also serious dietary restriction on intake. Thus, it is necessary to consult a dietician, or nutritionist, to determine and finalise the food intake that will fulfil all the nutritional requirements of the body during this fat loss exercise regime and yet achieve negative calorie balance.