ARE YOU TRYING to figure out how to lose weight, but feel like you have to spend thousands of dollars on fancy gyms and high intensity classes to get there? Yea um, no thank you. (I promise this is not an obnoxious infomercial.)
Even as someone with a pretty intense background in medicine, and knowing it takes effort and time to get from point A to Z, I get a touch overly optimistic when I am promised the workout that will give me Jessica Alba’s abs in a week. But even if a class focuses on micro-exercises that are supposed to sculpt those muscles, that alone won’t really make magic happen.
Bottom line: You need intensity in your workouts.
Intensity is what gets you to burn calories and fat even after you stop moving. You can sculpt like you’re earning a Bachelor’s degree in it, but the intensity of your workouts is how you lose weight.
Researchers actually found that after a high intensity workout, your body continues to burn more calories (like literally an extra 50% of the calories that you just burned while you were doing the workout.) So to put this into human perspective, gym rats who burn around 450 calories on a treadmill, will continue to burn about 190 calories post-workout, bringing the grand total to a whooping 640 cals (that’s a meal).
But what about all those fancy classes? Going to a class once a week and calling it a day is a start, but if you really want to become an expert in how to lose weight, you gotta burn, baby, burn. Consistency is key, and keep in mind that some of the same types of classes are better than others. A barre class in one studio may be completely different at another.
Glamour has a fantastic rundown in comparing the different types of trendy workouts. While BariOne burns 360 calories (equivalent to a bagel), Core Fusion Barre burns about 200 (equivalent to a Luna Bar). (Kudos to the former’s unique cardio/weight combo workout ~ there is a trampoline involved…)
Core Fusion Cardio = 450 calories burned
Zumba = 420 calories burned
The Bar Method = 280 calories burned
Soul Cycle = 570 calories burned (winner!)
And, drumroll please….
Thirty minutes of running intervals (incline walking vs. sprinting) on the good old treadmill = 490 calories burned
Cycling and barre workout studios like SoulCycle or PureBarre promise a total body makeover and some of their regulars are borderline religious. It may seem like a cultish ‘tude to have, but that kind of a ‘tude is a good thing. The reality is that if you really want to figure how to lose weight signing up for a fancy class once a week is a start, but is not enough.
All-or-nothing is out. Balance is in. Alternating between treadmill time and low to moderate intensity muscle conditioning will give you the optimal boost in calorie burning, but you gotta do one or the other for at least 45 minutes three times a week, no joke. Let’s go, you got this.
Ref: Knab, et al A. 45-minute vigorous exercise bout increases metabolic rate for 14 hours. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Sep;43(9):1643-8. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182118891