This is the best workout for weight loss

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Is your hardcore HIIT class actually working?  

Photo: iStock

We’re all told that we need to exercise to lose weight – but no one really ever tells you what workout you should be doing.

Weight training builds muscle, they say. While others swear that the only way to shed the kegs is slogging it out on the treadmill.

Finally, scientists have zoomed in on what type of exercise actually helps you lose weight. Let’s hear it for the lab coats.

Published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Science, the study followed 32 overweight women; half participated in a low-impact aerobic workout with strength training and the rest in high-impact aerobics training.

The low-impact program involved 30 minutes of ‘rhythmic’ aerobics (think step, Zumba), 20 minutes of strength training (like biceps curls, tricep extensions and bench presses) and 10-20 minutes of warming up and cooling down.

The women increased the kilograms they were lifting by 20% over the period (24 weeks) with an average heart rate at 65 per cent of their maximum rate. In other words, they went heavy.

Meanwhile, the high-impact program involved getting those feet off the floor. The hour long classes included kickboxing, cardio dancing, boot camp and HIIT. It was 10 minutes of warm up, 40 minutes of exercise and 10 minutes of cool down.

Women in this group increased their heart rate to 85 per cent of their maximum rate. Cardio burn.

So, what workout should you be doing?

The women in the high-intensity classes lost more weight over all, on average 4.5kg compared to 2.7kg for the low-intensity group.

However, the women in the low-intensity group gained more lean muscle mass which helps your metabolism and keeps a strong core.

Essentially, yes going for a hard-core cardio workout is going to help you lose more weight, but it’s important to combine this kind of training with a strength aspect. Not only will you get fewer injuries because of better core strength, but you’ll also be more toned over all.

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fitness | body+soul

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