One of the most commonly asked questions to aquatic fitness professionals is, “what is the best fat burning workout?” Although there is no “best way”, the bottom line is the more calories that are burned, the greater the potential for fat loss. There are many ways to design a weight loss workout. For example: (1) Exercises performed for longer duration at a lower intensity and (2) Exercises for a shorter duration at higher intensity can yield the same fat-burning outcomes.
On land a high intensity workout may be reserved for advanced exercisers. However, water serves as the great equalizer making high intensity interval training appropriate for all!
Water … the Great Equalizer!
For example, say you weigh 200 pounds and you walk on a treadmill for 1 mile at a pace of 4 miles per hour. A 15-minute workout would expend approximately 113 calories. You could reduce exercise time and burn more calories by running at a 6 mile per hour pace burning 151 calories in just 10 minutes. Or perhaps you would rather try intermixing short sprints into your treadmill walking program. This integration of high intensity bursts increases fat burning capabilities resulting in a higher number of calories burned.
However, running on a treadmill may not feel good on your joints. Water offers a joint friendly fat burning workout alternative! Aquatic exercise has many benefits. In addition to being a great fat-busting workout, it takes the stress off of joints, promotes the use of more muscles, and provides an opportunity to mix up your workout routine.Did you know? Water aerobics for an hour can result in an average of 400-500 calories burned. That is more than you would burn bicycling for an hour, walking, or even performing low-impact aerobics on land!
Get in the Pool
- The first step is to find a pool. Many fitness facilities offer the amenity of an aquatic center, so do some research and see what pools are available around you. If your fitness facilities don’t have a pool, check with local hotels to see if they offer community memberships or community-based classes.
- Once you have a place to dive in to your aquatic exercise, sign up for a group-fitness class taught by an AEA Certified instructor. This is one of the best ways to ensure that you are going to get a great class, learn safe and effective aquatic exercises and use the water to it’s greatest potential.
- If you are a do-it-yourselfer, then getting into the pool and trying this may be just what your body ordered or check out WECOACH Workouts for more workout ideas.
Fat Burning Water Workout
The paring of high intensity segments with recovery allows for maximal caloric expenditure during and after the workout. In addition to the opportunity for massive caloric burn, all aspects of fitness can be improved with participation. Try this simple fat burning workout:
- Begin with a 5-minute warm-up jogging in place and gradually adding traveling around the pool in all directions.
- Perform each exercise doing 15 seconds of EASY then 15 seconds of HARD for 1 minute each.
- Repeat 2-3 times for 10-15 minutes of conditioning.
- Cool down with walking in the water and stretching at the end.
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WECOACH: HI-YO Cardio Intervals
HI-YO is an adaptable research-based aquatic exercise program that uses high intensity intervals with yoga moves to create an effective joint friendly fat burning water workout.
“This is a very effective interval workout in the water, and you can adjust the intensity for your own fitness level. We now know this is the most effective way to exercise, and this workout has clear instruction, that is safe, challenging and fun! – Anne P. Burnell, creator of Peyow Aqua Pilates
For more of this follow-the-feel approach and to get meaningful and lasting results from your workouts, join WECOACH Workouts.
Lori Sherlock is an award winning associate professor in the School of Medicine at West Virginia University where she coordinates and teaches the aquatic therapy curriculum. She is chair of the Aquatic Exercise Association’s Research Committee, AEA Training Specialist and highly accomplished ironman athlete.