If you want to push your metabolism through the roof for maximum fat loss, plyometrics may be able to help. This type of training ups your calorie burn for hours after your workout has ended. Plyometrics are only for advanced athletes, however, and the risk of injury is high. What's more, diet has more of an effect on weight loss than exercise, while exercise is more important for keeping the weight off. You won't lose an ounce of fat unless you eat fewer calories than you burn.
With plyometrics, you can have your fun and your fat burning too. Plyometric exercises involve jumping motions, and if you played hopscotch or jumped rope as a child then you've already performed them. Adult plyometric exercises include squat jumps, lateral jumps, clap pushups, split jumps, long jumps and chest throws using medicine balls. As with all strength-training exercises, warm up for five to 10 minutes with a quick walk or jog.
Fat loss is all about burning more calories than you eat, and plyometrics can help you accomplish this in spades. You'll burn more calories while performing plyometrics and then keep burning after your workout, since such intense activity revs up your metabolism for an extended period of time. The exact number of calories you burn depends on your activity, but the count can be substantial; jumping rope for an hour incinerates 1,074 calories for a 155-pound person.
Weight loss and fat loss are not the same thing. In fact, as you build muscle you could put on a few pounds, even if you're losing fat. Muscle is denser than fat, so your clothing could feel looser even as the scale number rises. For the best fat-loss results, reduce your energy consumption to 500 fewer calories than you burn. This creates a deficit of 3,500 calories per week, which equals a pound of fat. Eat foods high in fiber and protein, which take longer to digest and help you feel fuller.
Before attempting to jump, train your muscles with skipping and lunging drills, then progress to simple standing jumps and move on from there. Only jump from boxes or raised surfaces under professional guidance. For all jumps, use a soft landing surface such as grass or a padded mat. Stay off of smooth surfaces, as they increase the likelihood of slipping. If you're overweight now, even if it's muscle weight, your impact will be harder so you need to start with fewer reps.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.