Want to lose weight? Don't bother with these 5 exercises
Misha Gajewski, CTVNews.ca
Published Saturday, December 31, 2016 8:06AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 3, 2017 9:41AM EST
As the saying goes: a new year, a new you and for those who are striving be healthier and in better shape in 2017 it’s important to get the most out of your new year’s workouts.
CTVNews.ca spoke to personal trainer Craig Gallienne to find out the five exercises you can stop wasting your time on and what you should do instead.
1. Sit-ups and bicep curls
“They have the least benefit as far as calorie burns and muscles being used goes,” Gallienne said, from Toronto’s Boulevard Club, where he works as a trainer.
In other words, you’re wasting your time if you want to see results.
He suggested making your body off balance, such as doing exercises where you only use one side of your body. According to Gallienne exercises such as one-sided rows or single leg squats automatically make your core work harder, meaning you don’t need to worry about sit-ups.
“You’re working your core in a different, more natural way,” he said.
Gallienne added that sit-ups can also be a recipe for back injuries.
“It’s great for mental health and as an activity, if you enjoy doing it,” he said.
But as Gallienne explained, jogging isn’t strenuous enough to create the temporary shortage of oxygen in your cells, otherwise known as an oxygen deficit, which is needed to burn calories.
He suggested interval running – short sprints for a couple of minutes – instead of a moderately paced run around the block.
3. Using light weights
“If you can lift a weight 45 times, you’re not getting very much out of it,” he said.
“Whereas, if you crank the weight way up and challenge yourself, you’ll start to see some muscular changes.”
Gallienne also told CTVNews.ca that people shouldn’t worry about “getting big” from lifting heavy weights.
“You need to be very genetically gifted to get big when it comes to weight training.”
4. Fad exercises
When it comes to workouts with a cult-like following, Gallienne doesn’t think they’re effective for most people.
“There is a percentage of the population, although very small, that can get away with doing that stuff and not run into any injuries. When it comes down to it, the basics are the better way to go,” he said.
“There’s nothing more de-motivating than getting hurt in the first two weeks and then not being able to go back to the gym.”
Instead, he suggested focusing on simpler exercises that won’t leave you injured.
Although he added that if that’s the only way someone is going to work out then that fad exercise might be for them.
5. ‘Marathon’ workouts
“Marathon” workout doesn’t mean training for a marathon, although he’s not a huge fan of those either. What he is referring to is going to the gym and training for a long time.
“If you go to the gym and train for two hours you can’t hit the same levels you would hit if you were here for 45 minutes. You run out of energy,” he explained.
“It’s better to lift heavier and lift faster,” he said, mentioning that it reduces the amount of time your body needs to recover, which means you can train more frequently and therefore see results faster.
Even 15 minutes at the right intensity level can make a difference, Gallienne said.
As for what you should focus your attention on, if your goal is to lose weight, Gallienne believes in the basics: lunges, squats, push-ups and dead lifts with some high-intensity cardio thrown into the mix.
“If you want to see the most fat loss as quickly as possible train from your waist down, rather than your waist up,” he told CTVNews.ca.
“It’s better to be doing bigger multi-joint movements so you incorporate more muscles and brings up the intensity level,” he said, citing exercises such as squats and lunges, which work your butt, thighs, calves and your core.
According to Gallienne, using more muscle groups at once also helps you burn calories throughout the day.
“It changes how much oxygen your body requires for the rest of the day and that means you’re more efficient at calorie burning, so you benefit all day rather than for part of the day.”
He also told CTVNews.ca that it’s important to workout both slow-twitch and fast-twitch fibres in the body. Slow-twitch fibres are the ones used for walking and other leisurely activities. Whereas fast-twitch fibres are activated with movements such as jumping and they’re the ones that give you strong muscle definition.
But, as Gallienne pointed out, about 80 per cent comes down to diet and genetics, so it’s critical to find a workout routine that works for you.