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I need to reduce my body fat back to healthy levels. The general condition is not nice either (overweight, not well trained...), but I am focussing on the body fat.

I noticed that just doing some simple but intensive muscle training (eg. crunches) has far better short term effects than cardio training. As far as I understand this strategy is not generally bad, as additional muscles help to burn more fat in the long run.

However, I have read somewhere, that crunches are less efficient, as the muscles trained are relatively small and that one should train larger muscle groups.

Question: Given the same training intensity and duration, can I achieve higher fat burning by focussing on certain muscle groups? And if so, which?

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There are no spot exercises that will help you reduce fat percentages in your body. The only way to lose fat (notice I did not say "lose weight") is through cardiovascular exercise and a diet low in calories. Basically, you should burn more calories than you consume. Cardiovascular exercise will first burn your immediate sugars and calories and then, after it has consumed the sugars, it will burn fat. However, you have to be careful because there comes a moment, if you do too much cardio, where you will stop burning fat and your body will start to target muscle mass for energy. This will severly deteriorate your muscles.

Now, regarding what I said above (losing fat and not weight), fat is much lighter in weight than muscle. So you might find that if you do cardio and muscle training, your weight might actually increase. This is ok because the ultimate goal is to reduce the fat to muscle ratio. You will be at less risk of heart disease and you will look better.

As for the larger muscle groups, yes. Larger muscles consume more energy and thus help to raise your metabolism (the amount of energy you burn under normal conditions) but this is truly a minimal amount compared to what you burn through cardio exercise. Personally, I do not do many crunches during my work out. At most I will do 3 sets of 20 crunches, twice a week. I make sure I use proper alignment during all other exercises and I notice that doing this engages my core sufficiently to have marked abs.

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If you want to get healthy, the only valid approach is increasing your fat to muscle ratio. To prevent any bad side effects, you should aim at a full-body-workout. If you over-train one side of you body, it might lead to bad posture etc. A good workout for beginners is stronglifts 5x5 (http://stronglifts.com/5x5/). Its focus is building strength - if you're stronger, you burn more fat.

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in general weight (own or external ) training does not burn much calories. 1) Adjust your diet accordingly . 2) Walk/run/bike around a hour to burn additional calories.

I am not telling you that weight training is bad , i am only telling you that to burn fat , you need to spend more calories than you consume.

However as you did not told your weight/height i am not even sure you need fat loss at all. Maybe you do not see your abs as there are no much abs there. I do not know.

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Hello basically I would recemond doing 40 mins of intense cardio and then 30 mins of weights- do compound ones as they burn more fat (squats, lunges, benchpress, etc)

Doing both allows you to have dlouble the fat burn (during from cardio and hours after from the weights) lifting weights also means you realease growth hormone when you sleep which shred fat! If you keep your calories under 1300 and eat and lift and do cardio you will loss it in no time :)

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