In order to burn fat you need to create a caloric deficit, meaning you need to burn more calories than you consume on a regular basis. Research shows that when people try to lose weight by dietary restrictions alone, they tend to also lose lean muscle mass. Loss of lean muscle can slow the metabolism. However, when diet is combines with exercise, almost all of the weight lost is in the form of fat, and lean muscle may actually increase. Including lunges into your strength-training routine will not only help you burn fat but also tone and tighten your lower body.
Weight loss, and consequently fat loss, will occur anytime calorie expenditure exceeds calorie intake. Increasing physical activity is highly effective in increasing calorie expenditure. Strength training, including exercises such as lunges, not only makes you leaner and stronger, but it also makes you more metabolically active. Lean muscle requires more calories to sustain itself than fat tissue. As a result, the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn throughout the day.
The are many variations of lunges you can include in your strength-training routine such as forward lunges, lateral lunges, reverse lunges, walking lunges, diagonal lunges, curtsy lunges and jump lunges. All variations target the glutes, quads and hamstrings and help build muscle in the lower body. Although it is not possible to spot reduce and burn fat from one specific area of the body, adding lunges into a well-rounded strength-training routine can contribute highly to total-body fat loss.
Exercise for Fat Loss
If your goal is fat loss then your exercise program should be designed to burn the greatest number of calories during exercise sessions. The bottom line when it comes to fat loss is the more calories you burn, the more fat you lose. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, circuit training is especially effective in burning maximal calories. Not only does circuit training burn a large number of calories during a workout session, the high-intensity nature of these workouts allows you to continue burning calories even after the workout is complete. Adding various types of lunges into a circuit workout routine is a highly effective way to achieve your fat-loss goals.
Circuit training involves performing a set of exercises for a certain time period or number of repetitions with little to no rest in between. For beginners it is best to alternate lower- and upper-body exercises. For example, perform a front lunge, followed by bent-over dumbbell rows, into reverse lunges, followed by pushups and so on. The more advanced can challenge themselves with back-to-back lower-body exercises such as forward lunges, followed by jump lunges. Remember, the higher the intensity of your exercise sessions, the more calories you will burn and the more fat you will see start melting away. Perform two to three workouts on nonconsecutive days with 40 to 60 minutes of cardio exercise on the days between for optimal fat-burning results.
- The NASM Solution to Weight Management; National Academy of Sports Medicine
- Principles and Labs for Physical Fitness - Seventh Edition; Werner Hoeger, Sharon Hoeger
- Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images