Which endurance sport is most effective in helping you lose weight?

If you do an endurance sport today, then you will certainly have deeper motivations for it.

Because the difference between “just jogging or swimming a few laps as a hobby every now and then” and really taking care of values such as body fat, calories and mileage every day with a tangible training plan is a really big one.

There are also terms such as “effectiveness” and “target achievement”. But how can you determine exactly during endurance training whether you are training “effectively” and have “achieved your goal”?

The effectiveness of the training can be measured – but how?

Values such as body weight, running time or distance covered can be measured very easily. The more weight you have come off the scales or when records fall in terms of time or kilometers traveled, the more effectively you have succeeded in planning your training.

It becomes more difficult when it comes to training goals such as reducing the percentage of body fat. The matter can become a complex affair and you need additional tools in addition to a scale in order to be able to make a reliable statement.

If you want to measure your body fat percentage, you have several options. There are expensive and cumbersome (but also very precise) types of measurement, for example hydrostatic weighing or the so-called DEXA scan, a dual X-ray absorptiometry.

You will definitely not be able to do these things by yourself at home. Therefore, further methods are to be presented with which you can get cheap and simple results that are good or at least halfway usable.

The easiest ways to measure body fat percentage

Measuring the body fat percentage with a tape measure is very pleasant. Simply measure the circumference of the upper arms, chest, abdomen, hips and thighs and you have a value that can be compared and observed in ongoing statistics. This procedure is not particularly reliable because you do not measure the fat percentage per se, but it is straightforward to carry out.

It is a little more precise with the caliper measurement, for which you need caliper pliers that are not more than 20 €. Form skin folds on selected parts of the body at regular intervals, measure their thickness and add the measured values to the table.

A body fat calculator, which unpacks you an estimate of your body fat based on Calipermessung, you can find for example  https://fitgymcache.com/. There you can also choose between the 3- and 7-fold measurement, with the latter achieving more accurate results on average.

Why your health is happy about cardio training!

What is commonly referred to as endurance training is actually cardio training – more precisely, “cardiovascular training” for the entire cardiovascular system. Your lung function also comes into focus and the metabolic processes are stimulated and optimized.

If we look at the effect on hormones, then we should especially think of the happiness hormone serotonin. This hormone is released during and after an extensive training session, which has a very positive effect on the mood.

If you use this form of training in the right dose, you can strengthen your entire immune system in addition to all the factors mentioned so far, such as weight loss or body fat reduction. So the next wave of flu will steer clear of you. Your overall blood values improve and your risk of heart attack decreases. The reduction in stress, the improved ability to regenerate during lighter training sessions and protection against diabetes should also be mentioned.

To get the benefits, you need to learn to dose your workout correctly. During training, the body is weakened, after training it can regenerate and become stronger than before.

The right workout for weight loss

If you want to use training as a means of losing weight, for example, then it is very important to know a few things in advance in addition to the basic knowledge “calorie consumption greater than calorie intake = weight loss”.

How “effectively” you drop the pounds will not only depend on how much you train. It will also depend on which exercises you practice in a gym or which endurance sports you use. Correct execution and a targeted training structure are also essential for the best possible results. Which endurance sports are ultimately most effective for you is to be found out by trying them out for yourself. Individual factors such as age, weight, injuries and complaints must be taken into account.

Approximation via the MET (Metabolic Equivalent)

Even if there is no one-size-fits-all solution, scientists have collected some data over the years on how much energy different activities require on average. The latest version of the so-called “ Compendium of Physical Activities ” dates from 2011 and was supported by the ASU and the National Cancer Institute of the USA.

In the Compendium of Physical Activities, the unit of the Metabolic Equivalent (MET) is used to express the energy consumption of an activity, measured in O2, in relation to the basal metabolic rate. You can find the overview with all measured METs for hundreds of activities here .

In the Compendium, for reference, 1 MET is defined as: 3.5 ml oxygen x body weight (in kg) per minute.

It should be emphasized that the 3.5 ml oxygen was set as an average, but the actual oxygen consumption differs from person to person. The MET values of the individual activities were determined by dividing the oxygen consumption measured during exertion by 3.5.

According to the formula, an activity with MET 10 consumes 35 ml of oxygen x body weight per minute. Using the MET, you can also use the energetic equivalent to approximate the basal metabolic rate or the calorie consumption of a specific activity. By the way, all calorie calculators use exactly this formula.

Excursus: Calculating the basal metabolic rate using MET

According to the formula, a 70 kg man consumes as much oxygen per minute in a sedentary resting phase:

3.5 ml x 70 = 245 ml

Extrapolated to the day, this man consumes the basal metabolic rate without physical activity:

0.245 (liter / min) x 60 (min) x 24 (std) = 352.8 liters of oxygen per day

If one continues to calculate with the energetic equivalent  with a balanced nutrient distribution (4.8 kcal / liter O2), a caloric basal metabolic rate can also be estimated using this approach:

352.7 (l) x 4.8 (kcal / l) = 1693.44 kcal

This value roughly corresponds to the Harris-Benedict formula for calculating the basal metabolic rate, but does not take into account factors such as age, gender and weight and is therefore significantly less precise overall.

The same judgment can also be applied to the calculation of the calorie consumption of a certain activity. Without individualization, the MET serves as a good guide value, but not as an accurate measurement of caloric consumption. The metabolic equivalent is still well suited for comparing several activities. In the final part of this article, we’ll look at some activities and compare how they perform.

If you want to learn more about the personalization of the MET, called “Corrected MET”, you will find all the important information under this link  .

The metabolic equivalent of various activities

Gambling, standing

MET : 2.5

Description : With two and a half times the resting metabolic rate, standing gambling is nerve-wracking, but unsuitable as an endurance sport, although most of them run out of breath at the back.

Joking aside: In fact, the compendium contains all sorts of MET values for a wide variety of everyday activities. It is therefore worth taking a look at the overview. With a value of 2.5, standing gambling in the casino does not differ from other standing activities.

Rowing machine

MET : 4.8 – 12

Description : The rowing machine is a unique strength endurance machine because it trains the upper and lower body to a large extent at the same time. The number of muscle groups used is extremely high, so you can practically train your entire body with one and the same movement.

The MET is given as 4.8 with moderate exertion up to 12 with very high exertion. When rowing, use a clean rowing technique to protect yourself from injury and to maximize your strength.

Conclusion on the effectiveness of various endurance sports

Let’s summarize again: The effectiveness of an endurance sport depends on which goal you set. If you want to lose weight through endurance sports , you should equip yourself with the right tools so that you can reliably measure your progress. Body fat pliers are the easiest method for reliable measurements, a DEXA scan gives you even deeper insights, but it also costs more.

How exactly you design your endurance training is highly individual and depends on personal factors such as performance level, experience, injury history, interest and availability. The choice of sport based on its energy consumption should be of secondary importance. Most sports can be practiced in many intensities, so that you can quickly gain a foothold even as a beginner.

If you compare sports according to their energy consumption, it is noticeable that running can be practiced in a variety of intensities. The measured energy consumption is highest when sprinting at 14 miles / hour with 23 times the resting consumption.

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