If you want to lose fat, it’s no surprise to me that playing sports is one of the best ways to achieve that goal!
However, no sport will do! While all sports are good for increasing your heart rate and can burn fat, what we really need to consider is that most sports involve some type of cardiovascular exercise. Now in cardio there are 3 basic types –
1. Metabolic explosion
2. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
3. Cardio in steady state
Metabolic explosion means total effort – running, swimming, cycling, spinning, etc. AS QUICKLY AS YOU CAN, at intensities of 90-100% of your maximum effort but for only about 20-30 seconds at a time. Then come 10 to 15 seconds of lower intensity (about 60%) before starting again. Do this 10-20 times and you’re done. HIIT means slightly less total but still high intensity exertion, at around 80% of your max, for 2 minutes, followed by one minute of 60% intensity. Repeat this 3 to 5 times. Steady state means going to about 60% of your maximum continuously, like jogging or running on a treadmill.
To lose fat you should, ideally, do all three: the metabolic explosion is so rapid that your body cannot get enough oxygen from your lungs to fuel the effort required to perform the activity, which results in forces your body to run to its fat stores to get more energy. When you follow up with HIIT, this fat is then moved through the bloodstream to provide a constant source of energy to the cells, so your body can handle longer periods of strenuous activity. Finally, steady state moves fat from the bloodstream to your kidneys. Drinking plenty of water after a cardio workout allows you to eliminate body fat through urination. So now let’s go!
So let’s take a look at a list of sports that can be categorized as Burst, HIIT, or Steady –
Burst – sprinting, cycling, spinning, swimming (as long as you do them at maximum effort)
HIIT – basketball, baseball, squash, burpees, circuit training
Steady state – jogging, tennis, badminton, long distance running
Not even close – golf, walking, tai chi
So choose the sports you would like to play and get active! Ideally, you should do all 3 types of cardio. The great thing about the sports listed under “Bursting” is that you can vary the intensity to experience all 3 levels, whereas sports like basketball can only be as intense as HIIT but not more, but they can also involve a state of equilibrium. So, for example, you can choose two sports, one being basketball (for HIIT and steady state) and the other being sprinting (for bursting).
So get organized and choose sports that can lead you to your fat loss goals!