Working out regularly brings a wealth of benefits such as boosting your mood and reducing your risk of developing chronic diseases – as well as giving you the impetus to eat more once you’ve sweated it out!
Read on as we round up eight workouts that help you burn the most calories so you can indulge in your favourite food later, minus the guilt – sort of.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves vigorous bursts of alternating exercises done at a fast pace, with little to no rest in between. An example of an interval is to sprint for one minute, followed by walking for two minutes; repeat this interval five times. Typically, a HIIT workout lasts only 20 minutes but because the intervals work to get your heart rate up very quickly, you end up torching more calories in that short amount of time than you would from an hour-long slow jog. Singapore’s Ritual Gym (www.ritualgym.com) specialises in HIIT workouts and is highly popular among time-strapped individuals. The best part is, you don’t even have to bring gym clothes or shoes – Ritual has it all covered, providing fresh workout clothes, and you may also exercise barefoot.
FITNESS BOOT CAMP
Does the term “boot camp” bring to mind the image of a no-nonsense instructor shouting at sweat-drenched army trainees to drop and do 50 push-ups? You’re not wrong; fitness boot camps are based on the military style of training, but thankfully this go-hard-or-go-home method has become increasingly rare over the last few years. These days, fitness boot camps are more about leveraging the group dynamic for an effective and highly motivating workout session that keeps the group coming back week after week. For variety, check out London’s KeepFit Bootcamp (www.keepfitbootcamp.com), which runs more than 20 classes; or Singapore’s UFIT Bootcamps (www.ufitbootcamps.com.sg), which has 10 classes including an all-female class called SheFit.
If you love to dance, Zumba may just be the workout for you. This highly energetic Latin dance-inspired fitness program was founded in the mid-1990s, but only started gaining popularity in recent years. During the hour-long session, you can expect to groove along to infectious beats that are every so often interspersed with words of encouragement by high-on-life instructors. You can try it out in major cities around the world; visit Zumba Fitness (www.zumba.com) to locate your nearest class.
ELECTRIC MUSCLE STIMULATION (EMS) TRAINING
Heidi Klum and Madonna swear by it; even “the fastest man alive”, Usain Bolt, is a fan. We’re talking about the latest fitness trend that never fails to – pardon us – shock anyone hearing it for the first time: EMS training. Before the workout, you will be hooked up to an EMS machine, with electrode pads placed on the different muscle groups all over your body. Next, with the guide of a trainer, you start your workout while the machine delivers electrical pulses that stimulate muscle contraction in a heightened manner to help you burn a ton of calories in as little as 20 minutes. If you feel inclined to try EMS training for yourself, check out these two specialised gyms: Body Time (www.facebook.com/bodytime.mirdif) in Dubai and SpeedFit (www.speedfit.com.au) in Sydney.
This workout elicits only two types of responses from people familiar with it: you either love it, or immediately assume a fetal position. Essentially, CrossFit is a high-intensity workout program that combines elements from a wide variety of exercises, including cardio, weightlifting, and gymnastics. Trainers encourage participants to push their body beyond its limits soas to achieve fast results; it’s this finish-at-all-costs approach that makes CrossFit such a polarising sport. If you are still keen to try it out, ensure your trainer is constantly assessing your form – and always, always listen to your body. CrossFit Central London (www.crossfitcentrallondon.co.uk) and CrossFit Original Addicts II in Paris (www.crossfitoriginaladdicts.com) are two reputable gyms to consider.
A gruelling form of climbing performed without ropes, bouldering involves ascending large man-made boulders on a short wall, and promises to leave no muscle untoned. Using quick and powerful movements as you scale from one boulder to another, this workout strengthens every major muscle of the body, particularly your back, arms and core. Besides being an intense full-body workout, bouldering also tests your mental grit as you’ll be required to figure out routes that take you to the top while you are gripping the holds for dear life. Spo-dori (www.tokyo-dome.co.jp/spo-dori) boasts the largest wall in Tokyo, while Pongo Climbing Gym (www.pongoclimbing.com) is the only climbing gym in Shanghai, with walls designed by the International Federation of Sport Climbing.