If you are like most people who these days have a hectic schedule and don’t have a lot of time to workout, you’ll want to get the most out of your workout.
And if your fitness goal is to lose weight or lose body fat, you will probably be focused on finding a workout that burns the most calories. But be careful as not all calories are equal!
Your body burns calories or gets its energy from 2 places – fat or glycogen stores in the body.
Excess energy or calories we consume which are not needed immediately, is converted into glycogen (with the assistance of insulin) for the body to use later. This glycogen is stored in the liver and muscles.
When there is enough glycogen stored in your liver and muscles, your body will convert the excess energy into fat and store this in the body to use later.
So when you are burning glycogen you are using up calories but not actually burning through fat stored in your body. In order to burn through fat your body must first use up its stores of glycogen in the liver and muscles.
Some people think that by doing an intense workout and sweating it out will mean you are losing body fat. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. You could just be burning off the sandwich you had prior to your workout rather than shifting the body fat.
Working out at high intensity will enable you to burn through calories during the workout, but with an added ‘after-burn’ benefit.
The ‘after-burn’ effect basically means that your body will continue to burn calories after your workout as it works towards getting your body back to its normal resting levels. So a high intensity workout can burn more calories as it continues to work long after you have finished training.
High intensity workouts will also increase muscle mass through the combinations of high intensity exercise followed by low intensity periods or complete rest or active rest. These combos can be completed using weight equipment or your own body weight, thereby giving you a great aerobic and anaerobic workout.
The more muscle mass you have in your body the higher your metabolism which increases calories burned.
It may seem like a simple question – what workout burns the most calories – but the answer is not so simple. The best workout for you will depend on your current level of fitness, your fitness goals, what you have eaten prior to training, your age, and so on. That is why it can be useful to talk to your personal trainer about what workouts will suit you best.