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Training plans

Recent scientific research shows that training plans or exercise workouts can significantly reduce body fat, when followed over a period of several weeks. A study in the University of Wisconsin-LaCross put 68 women aged between 30 and 63 on simple three-day-a-week resistance training plans or exercise workout, and after 12 weeks they had lost three pounds of fat and increased their muscle mass by almost three pounds.

Training plans needn't demand a lot of your time; in fact, studies have shown that people are more likely to abandon an exercise programme if it's over 60 minutes long. A simple programme of 20 minutes performed three times a week burns at least 6 calories per minute. That was enough to make a significant difference to the women in Wisconsin. While the women didn't lose weight, their body composition was changed for the good, as fat was replaced by calorie-burning muscle. It's important not to measure the success of your fitness programme purely in terms of weight loss, because better body composition is just as desirable a goal. In fact, a higher muscle ratio also decreases the risk of several health problems, including diabetes.

Another fitness programme that will significantly improve your body's ability to burn fat consists of a combination of cycling and resistance training. Three times a week, spend 10 minutes cycling and 10 minutes on a combination of stretching and resistance-training exercises (such as chest presses and knee extensions), and after three months you could see your muscular strength improved by up to 92% and your total calorie burning increased by 15% per day. This was the result for 8 men and 4 women aged 56-80 who participated in this programme as part of a research programme at Tufts University in Massachusetts.