3 April 2008

How to Be A Fat Burning Machine

One of the Fitness magazines I write for had a short feature on 'Yoga on Ropes'this month. A new fitness trend that has gained lots of publicity and even caught David Beckham's eye.

I've not tried this myself but it looks like a great way to strengthen and stretch all your muscles with a variety of postures and holds. My only question was over the claims in some reports that a workout with the ropes could burn more calories in 45 minutes than you could hope to burn in a spinning class. I've tried spinning and, having witnessed hundreds of classes over the years can safely say it's definitely one of those workouts that demands you 'feel the burn' and push yourself to your fitness limits. I don't doubt the yoga ropes are effective, I'm just not sure they'll burn more calories than spinning.

It raises an interesting point though. I'm often asked which exercise burns the most calories and what's the best way to shape up quickly. There are plenty of charts and graphs detailing how many calories different types of exercise burn, but beware, there are some inconsistencies between these.

You've got to remember that people with good fitness levels are conditioned to burning calories, particularly fat calories more efficiently than people who aren't so fit, and so will have a higher calorie burn for exactly the same activities. If you put a well trained runner on a treadmill for 15 minutes, they'll burn more fat calories than an unfit person who spends most of their time sitting on the sofa, who is walking along beside them.

So really, when it comes to burning calories effectively, what matters most isn't what you do, but how often you do it. Keep challenging your fitness regularly in a variety of ways and you'll become a fat burning machine who gets great results from whatever activities you spend your time on. This includes the many other uses for the Ropes beyond yoga which a quick visit to the manufacturers site will show you.

As far as yoga on ropes goes, plan this type of session as you would a regular yoga or pilates session - a couple of sessions a month of this type will be great and you can make these the best possible calorie burners by working hard at all your other activities. That way you've got a regular routine that balances cardio work with strength training along with mobility and flexibility sessions giving you a balanced routine that keeps you in tip top shape and free of injury.

Photograph by chicagopublicradio (Flickr)

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