Pop quiz: How much fat can a 4-minute fat-blasting workout actually strip from your body?
You know the kind of workout I’m talking about:
Only we’re going to push things to the limit so we can come up with the biggest number we can.
What would be a superhuman calorie burn in 4 minutes?
Well how about a 240-lb man running a 4-minute mile? Now that’s just plain crazy.
It’s only 17 seconds slower than the current world record, set in 1999 by Moroccan runner Hicham El Guerrouj.
And he only weighed 128 lbs.
But we’ll go ahead and use it anyway because we want to come up with a nice, big 4-minute fat-loss number.
Now the total Calories our 240-lb guy would burn running a 4-minute mile is around 175.
Which seems kind of disappointing, so let’s be generous and bump it up to 250 Calories.
We’ll even add in the effect of the “afterburn” where you continue to burn calories for up to 2-3 days following the exercise bout.
Now this number tends to be exaggerated and overplayed in health & fitness circles.
In reality, it will add maybe another 200 Calories or so to this guy’s total expenditure.
So we’ll call it 250, to make the total calories he burns in 4 minutes a round 500 Calories.
Total Calories burned = 500
Now, most folks agree that a pound of stored body fat contains something like 3,500 Calories.
That means our guy’s 4-minute fat-blast workout will burn a grand total of a little over 2 ounces of body fat.
Keep in mind that’s based on impossibly best-case numbers.
So, for an average Joe doing a typical fat-blast workout, it’ll be more like an ounce.
In other words:
Total amount of fat blasted in 4 minutes = not even worth thinking about
And that’s a problem.
Many folks do stuff like this regularly for a week or two, but don’t see either visible results or find body fat “melting off” at insane speed.
So they end up blaming themselves.
– I can’t lose weight after all
– Maybe I’ve got a thyroid problem
– I’m no good at exercise
– Maybe I just plain suck
End result – they get disillusioned, quit and chalk up yet another failure.
Without ever realizing it wasn’t that they failed at the program, it was the program that failed them.
The reality is the occasional balls-to-the-wall effort can only ever have a pretty negligible effect on body fat.
Think of it this way.
It’s around a 3000-mile drive from New York City to LA, so if you drive at a steady 50 mph, it’ll take 60 hours.
Now let’s apply the 4-minute fat-blasting workout equivalent to the journey.
As before, you drive at a steady 50 mph, except for 10 minutes when you sit at a constant 150 mph.
Now that will probably feel like the longest 10 minutes of your life.
It will be the standout part of the trip, and all you can talk about for weeks afterward.
It will leave you breathless, exhausted and exhilarated.
Even though it had a pretty negligible effect on shortening your overall journey time.
Total time shaved off the 60 hour trip?
On the other hand, increase the average speed from 50 to 55 mph, and you’ll cut over 5 hours off the journey time.
All from going a paltry 5 mph faster.
That’s because small changes applied over long durations stack up to give big results.
Now if a 4-minute fat-blasting workout gives you a nudge in the right direction, great.
If it makes you more health conscious and whets your appetite for getting stronger and being more active, that’s awesome.
But that’s never how those workouts are marketed.
Now here’s an example of almost effortless calorie burning that’s the complete opposite of the 4-minute fat-blast mentality.
Simply fidgeting your hands and feet while sitting at your desk for 5 hours burns an additional number of calories equivalent to – get this – running 1.5 miles.
Sure, the activity may be super-low intensity, but just look at the duration.
What it boils down to is this: formal exercise isn’t an efficient way to burn calories, but increasing general activity is.
Remember how increasing your average driving speed across the country from 50 to 55 mph had such a dramatic effect?
Well, increasing general activity works the same way.
Now advice like “take the stairs, not the elevator” and “park the car at the far end of the lot” may sound pretty lame.
But stuff like that holds the key to burning a ton of additional calories.
Even better, we can put numbers to that activity by using a free pedometer app like Walker.
It’s just awesome, and burning more calories almost becomes a game.
So download it and start using it today.
And if you’re really up for some rapid results, try our free 6-week fat-loss program.
This is so effective because it focuses on diet rather than formal exercise.
The reality is it’s way more efficient to reduce calorie intake than it is to burn calories off.
Regardless of what those fat-blasting workouts may claim, strength is built in the gym, but abs are made in the kitchen.
Check out the Superfitdads book, How To Get Lean, Strong & Bulletproof here!
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Reference: Compendium of Physical Activities