When setting out to lose weight we can burn body fat, shed water weight or lose muscle. All of these will lower your weight. However, water is essential to your body's survival. Approximately 60% of the adult body is water. It wouldn't be good to lose much of that. Muscle is essential to just get out of bed. We'd better keep that. Logically, we want to burn off excess body fat.
Unless your goal is to enter a bodybuilding competition where the judges want to see lean muscle with single digit body fat, you want will want to keep some body fat. That is normal. However, most of it has to go. So along with a properly balanced diet, your fitness program has to be focused on burning fat.
The key to burning fat is to keep your heart rate up to the point where is at 55% to 70% of your maximum heart rate. Of course, your next question is, "what is my maximum heart rate?" That depends on your age. Maximum heart rate goes down as we age. I do recommend having this calculated by your doctor using a stress test if you have not been physically active for over six months. However, a DIY method of estimating the figure is to subtract your age from 220. If you are 50 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 170.
Now, it's a bit tedious to constantly monitor your heart rate while trying to do your fat burning workout. After all, you are focusing on form and the number of reps so you can't watch a heart monitor in the process very easily. The way I have always done it is to monitor my breathing. If I am breathing hard enough so it's difficult to have a conversation, them it's been pretty effective.
There is nothing wrong with some bicycle or treadmill time to bump up your heart beat. For me, however, I find that using high intensity workouts with very little rest serves me better. I build muscle and burn fat at the same time. It's much more efficient for me. I suggest trying different combinations to see what works best for you. Also, what works today may not work in a year or two. As your body changes, adapt to new techniques that keep you successful and on the life-long path to having a lean body.
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