by Jojo France

Happy New Year everyone! If, like millions of other people, you have made a New Year’s resolution to get fitter and leaner, then this article is a great starting point.

If you’re tired, fed up and disappointed with the results you’ve been getting from your current workout maybe it’s time to make some changes.

For many years doctors and trainers have been telling us that if you want to lose weight then you need to spend at least five hours per week hours doing cardio workouts. BUT what they don’t tell us is by doing hours of cardio, you could be ruining your ability to burn fat and build a lean, sexy body.

Excessive daily cardio basically says to your body, “Whoa, hold onto this belly fat.  We need it.  Burn this muscle instead!”

In fact, research shows that treadmills, elliptical machines and stair masters can actually train your body to STORE fat instead of burning it.

The latest research, according to a study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, states:

“People who performed intense cardio suffered from decreased T3 hormone production. T3 is the hormone produced by your thyroid to burn fat.  When you do cardio, your body is put under immense amount of stress, stress on the joints, and around the heart. The body reacts to the stress by suppressing this fat burning hormone.  This means your body starts gaining fat immediately. 

Cardio also increases the amount of Cortisol that the body produces. Cortisol is associated with heart disease, cancer and visceral belly fat. That’s the kind of fat that hangs around your waist, hips and bottom, the type of fat that we all train hard to remove.”

And, according to a 2011 study in the scientific journal Psychoneuroendocrinology,

“Cardio increases the stress hormone cortisol.”

Cardio also makes you hungry, after a long run or bike ride the body will crave food, and sometimes we end up eating more food than is required, or even worse, more food than we have burned off during our workout.

Another lesser known fact, is that cardio also ages your entire body…

A recent article in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that:

“Cardio causes immense oxidative damage and a flood of free radicals to the body.”

Free radicals are molecules that cause rapid aging in your body.  During cardio, your body is filled with free radicals that wander around your bloodstream and attack your cells.

Not only do free radicals cause damage to all your organs…doing cardio can also damage your skin and make you look older.

So all these facts make you wonder what exercise is actually good for you. In my opinion, the best type of exercise is FAST, EFFECTIVE and SAFE.  You won’t damage your heart, you won’t age your body, and you’ll lose belly fat faster than ever.

Aiming for intense burst of exercise is far more effective than long slow cardio, SO what would make up a good workout?

1. Aiming for intensity every time works well.

2. Add resistance or weights to your workouts, skip the long slow cardio and opt for fast and efficient.

3. Use compound moves (more muscle groups) such as deadlifts, squats, push-ups and burpees.

 4. Work safely but fast, keep each work out under 40 minutes, post warm-up and stretch.

This month’s fitness workout is based around the dreaded burpee. Now burpees are feared by most gym goers and not without reason, but what most people don’t realise is how fantastic a conditioning exercise it is.

So I have put together a ten-minute challenge. The idea is to select one of the three styles of burpees: Beginner, Intermediate and Bitch Burpees.

On from January the third until February the third, I challenge you to attempt the ‘Burpee Challenge’!

By following my plan, you should reignite your drive to get fitter, reduce belly fat (combined with a healthy eating plan) improve your cardiovascular health, and all this by committing yourself to the maximum of a ten-minute workout for five days a week.

For videos of the different burpees, please join me on Facebook: ‘jojo’s fitness’ by jojorubyfrance. Full instructions on how to perform each type of burpee will be illustrated.

The idea of the challenge is as follows:

Warm up and mobilise all body parts.

Set the alarm on your phone or watch for one minute intervals, or download a free interval training app.

Minute 1: Perform as many of your chosen burpees as possible.

Minute 2: Halve the number above, then rest for the remainder of the one minute.

Minute 3: Repeat the same burpees as round 2.

Minute 4: Halve the amount of round 3.

Minute 5: Try and match round 1.

Minute 6: Match round 2.

Minute 7: Match round 3.

Minute 8: Halve the amount that you did in round 7.

Minute 9: Rest for 1 minute.

Minute 10: Aim for as many burpees as possible.

Add up your total score, each time you perform this challenge, you are aiming to increase your score on your first round by one. This means your overall score for the ten minutes should increase by three every time. Once you reach a total score of 100, you are not aiming to do any more, just get faster on performing them. The Facebook page will be open to anyone taking up the challenge. By joining up you will be able to see what other people are doing, feel free to post your scores and comments.

This is not an easy challenge, but it is very time efficient and very effective and it can be done anywhere. I wouldn’t suggest this exercise programme to anyone with problem knees, back issues or shoulder injuries, but check with your GP before starting any new exercise programme, and remember the easiest way of losing fat is to eat healthier and not train more.

Good luck with the challenge…. I look forward seeing the amazing results.

Remember: ‘Train Wiser, Not Longer’.

For more information about this article or anything relating to exercise please contact me,  687 030 047 or FB jojorubyfrance.


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