Will yoga help you lose weight? The short answer is YES. Many people exercise with losing weight in mind and wonder if yoga, one of the most popular forms of low-impact exercise, can help them on their weight loss journey. Of course, it can, but a lot of people tend to neglect yoga because it doesn’t burn as many calories as a HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) or a cross-training workout. I’m here to tell you that’s not the case, and there’s plenty of reasons why yoga will help you lose weight.
Which Type of Yoga Is Best For Weight Loss?
For weight loss, the type of yoga you practice is super important. A calming yin-yoga class might not be what you need to burn calories, break down muscle, and continue to burn calories AFTER the workout.
If you’re looking to burn that stubborn belly-fat and develop toned lean muscle, then strength-based yoga like Man Flow Yoga is what you need to really crank up the internal furnace and burn calories. Many people think that yoga is an easy workout, but it only takes their first session to realize how difficult it can be.
You are utilizing every muscle to hold your body upright for an extended period of time. It takes a ton of energy and concentration to be able to do that, and as a result, your body is burning up fat and expending calories in order to cope with the stress of a yoga workout.
Does Yoga Burn Fat Like Cardio?
Even though yoga is a low-impact activity, it still gets your heart beating, similar to a cardio workout like jogging, swimming, or cross-training. Strength-based yoga like MFY combines aspects of flexibility training, endurance training, strength training, core training, and cardio all into one workout.
When you are in a difficult or strenuous pose and are holding it for an extended period of time (sometimes 30 seconds, and at times up to 2 minutes), your heart rate increases, you start breathing hard, and you use up more energy – thus burning fat.
However, there are big misconceptions about weight loss and cardio. Many people think to lose weight, you just need to hit the treadmill. That’s not the case, in fact, to consistently lose weight you need to develop muscle, cardio, and eat right.
How Often Should I Do Yoga to Lose Fat
Yoga in its nature is a low-impact form of exercise, so unlike HIIT workouts or cross-training, you can do it more frequently to burn calories and fat. Even with strength-based yoga you can workout 5-6 times a week without running the risk of overtraining or injuring yourself.
Why is this?
Yoga workouts, especially the ones found in Man Flow Yoga, actually help you recover as you strengthen yourself. You are lengthening and stretching your muscles out while working on strength and endurance. You are getting a workout and a massage at the same time. It helps you recover so that you can get back to your other forms of workouts or activities quicker.
The athlete who fits a yoga session between his conditioning or lifting sessions will certainly be healthier, recover more quickly, and feel better than the athlete who tries to cram in three taxing cross-training sessions into three days, and then takes two days off to binge and recover. It is much better to work out every day (or maybe 5-6 days a week, make sure to take that off day!) than to work out at an insane level for just three days of the week.
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Does Yoga Burn Belly Fat?
A lot of people want to burn that stubborn belly fat, but research has shown that targeted weight loss isn’t really a thing or at least it has very little impact. That means doing a bunch of core exercises isn’t going to help you lose belly fat. Instead, it’s better to work your entire body to promote muscle growth and fat burn throughout.
One important aspect of weight loss is total net gain/loss of calories, from the time that you eat before your workout until the post-workout recovery meal. High-intensity workouts really tend to drain the body of energy and result in the athlete being much hungrier than if he or she were to do a Man Flow Yoga workout instead.
If you do a workout that burns 1000 calories in an hour, there is a huge chance that you will be voracious after you finish, and may end up completing your workout and burning all of those calories just to eat a 1500 calorie dinner. In this way, it’s much smarter to do a workout that is not quite as intense, still burns calories, but does not leave you feeling like you want to consume an entire antelope upon completion.
How Much Fat Can I Lose in A Week with Yoga?
I would like to mention that your weight loss is not a phenomenon in which you spend a week doing careful dieting and exercise and then return to your previous habits. Weight loss is more of a journey, and in order to protect your body along that journey, you need to integrate the benefits of active recovery and muscle flexibility that yoga helps provide.
Doing five cross-training or weight lifting workouts a week without any sort of active recovery or yoga is great if you are measuring everything in calories, but fitness and weight loss cannot be measured in caloric intake and output alone. You also have to account for the wear and tear on your body, being able to maintain a diet where you do not feel constantly hungry, and also reminding yourself that the ultimate goal of being in excellent physical shape is so that you can FEEL and look good.
For me, being constantly sore from working out is not a desired final destination. I would much rather feel sore sometimes, but for the most part, I want to be ready to take on whatever challenges life throws at me.
Do your best to incorporate at least two yoga sessions into your weekly exercise routine. Your body will thank you for it.
You might be interested in some more information for your fat loss journey, so read on! 3 blogs covering some basics.
About the author, Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.
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