Fat burning exercises for women

Article Aug 14, 2014

Get in tune with your nervous system to really boost fat loss

There are lots of things that affect how much and how quickly you lose weight – or whether you lose it at all. The big players are nutrition, exercise and sleep. But just when you thought you had the magic equation sussed, well, there’s more. 

According to a new study, your body’s nerve activity plays a significant role in your ability to shift those stubborn pounds. And the best news? Using this research to your advantage doesn’t have to be complicated. Read on to find out how to tweak your exercise regime to really rev up your nervous system and torch fat, fast. 

Get stimulated

In recent years, we’ve worked out that weight loss isn’t necessarily as simple as calories in being less than calories out, thanks to the after-burn effect and other metabolism boosters. And now it appears the efficiency of your nervous system plays a huge role in how responsive and resistant you are to weight loss too, which could explain why some people struggle to shed pounds in spite of their hard workout efforts.

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism revealed that those who showed a higher resistance to weight loss (despite their best efforts!) had a lower resting nerve activity than those who found weight loss a cinch. The nervous system regulates many of your body’s functions, from resting metabolic rate to the use of energy from food. ‘Your nervous system sends signals to your muscles every time you move or exercise. In fact, it runs through your entire body,’ explains fat loss specialist Dave Fletcher (www.theodysseyway.co.uk). ‘When you pick up a weight, the nervous system works as the command centre, which instructs your muscular skeletal system to activate in order to pick up that weight.’

If your nervous system calls the shots in weight loss, it makes sense to try to improve its relationship with the muscular system. It might sound like a big ask, but it’s actually just a matter of adjusting the way you exercise.

Get exercising

Training programmes that boost your nervous system, known as neural training, are an absolute must if you’ve ever struggled to lose weight. Neural training comes in many different forms, but one of the easiest ways to get going is simply to start exercising at a much higher intensity. 

‘High-intensity exercise can be done by performing five repetitions or less, of a weight that you’d consider heavy,’ explains Dave. So, you can forget 50 or so reps with 2kg!

This rules out cardiovascular exercise such as running or group exercise classes as types of neural training – although that’s not to say they don’t have their place. In fact, neural training can boost your performance in these areas.

‘Lifting heavier weights for lower reps is worth far more than say, 25 repetitions of a lighter weight,’ adds Dave. But how – and why – does this work? ‘You stimulate your nervous system far more by lifting heavier weights,’ Dave explains. 

Think about it. When you go for a run, or repeat the same motion over and over, it’s often a case of going through the same single-plane, single-direction motions on autopilot. But when you’re concentrating on a heavy, complex lift, you have to spark a connection between your mind and body in order to be able to complete it with perfect form. It’s this concentration that really fires up your nervous system.

Get the benefits

By getting your nervous system into gear and making your muscles work more efficiently, not only will you fast-track
your weight loss, you’ll also see longer-term improvements in your performance. If running faster, improving your strength and boosting your brainpower sound good to you, it’s time to start lifting heavier weights for less.

Low-rep training doesn’t mean you won’t be working your cardiovascular system. Dave recommends creating a circuit workout to get your heart rate soaring at the same time. ‘Perform five exercises of five repetitions back to back with no rest,’ advises Dave. ‘This is a golden formula for long-term fat loss, and the volume of repetitions is far too low for you to build size, so there’s no need to worry about getting bulky.’

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