In our ever more time-poor lives, your lunch hour is a precious opportunity to convert dead time – or worse, burger-and-fries time – into prime fat-burning and fitness-building minutes.
Over two million UK employees already use their lunch breaks as an opportunity to run*, and if you’re looking to lose weight, consider this: ramping up your efforts during that precious hour can keep your metabolism revved well after your session finishes, so you keep burning extra calories even when you’re back at your desk.
Raise your metabolic rate
It can take up to three days for your metabolism to return to its ‘normal’ state after an intense training session, says Victor Zammit, professor of metabolic biochemistry at Warwick University. All this time your body is burning more calories – which translates into more pounds shed. Scientists call this excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, though we prefer the more succinct and slightly Hollywood ‘afterburn’.
The next point to consider is that while a steady plod round the block is obviously better than a pile of pastry at your desk, it’s not going to deliver the maximum ‘afterburn’ you’re looking for.
For that, James Conci-Mitchell, lead trainer and founder of Six3Nine (six3nine.com), has created two high-intensity runners’ regimes – for beginners and intermediates – designed to maximise metabolic burn and trigger rapid fat loss. Both are designed to fit into your lunch hour and can be done just about anywhere.
They will also add variety to your training, as for two sessions a week you’ll be mixing bodyweight strength moves into your regime. Not only will this strengthen your body to improve your running and protect against injury, but when it comes to torching calories, bodyweight circuits are seriously potent.
“The metabolic hit on your body is dramatic,” says Conci-Mitchell. A University of Wisconsin study found that when men completed a full-body workout, their metabolic rates were elevated for 39 hours.
Focus on quality over quantity. “Perform every move precisely to maximise resistance and move quickly between exercises,” says Conci-Mitchell. “This will fatigue your muscles with the minimal amount of repetitions and optimise the afterburn effect.”
To further optimise fat-burning, you’ll start with a run. A US study from Brigham Young University revealed that men who ran before resistance training increased their level of metabolic afterburn compared with men who trained the other way round, or did one without the other.
Now you’re ready to burn...
Beginners' fat-burning lunch hour session
Intermediates' fat-burning lunch hour session
Picture credit: Joe McBridge/Getty Images.