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Best Sex Position to Lose Belly Fat

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Let’s be right – some types of exercise are better than others.

And if you’re presented with an opportunity between going for a run out in the cold and the rain or spending some ‘intimate’ time with your partner, there really is no choice.

But is sex really a good calorie burner?

Will it help you shred more belly fat?

Is there a position that’s really better than any other?

In this article we take a look…


Is Sex a Good Calorie Burner?

There’s nothing finer than having a good hot, steamy (exercise) session. Maxing out your heart rate, ramping up your body temperature and pushing the boundaries of your capabilities are all key in the fight against belly fat.

There’s a surprising amount of research relating to sex and energy expenditure – it’s obviously a topic area on everyone’s mind.

But can you really skip cardio and get a similar calorie burn from sex?

Energy expenditure and belly fat

The key to improving your body composition, shredding belly fat and chiselling out some rock solid abs is to achieve an energy deficit. This means that each day you take in less calories than you burn off.

By doing this, your fat cells release stored energy to make up the deficit, and over time you lean out.

As well as controlling calorie intake, it is important that you burn as many calories as you can each day from physical activity. That way you improve your fitness, reduce your risk of metabolic disease, and help to achieve an energy deficit.

Sex, METs and energy expenditure

When you’re in the gym it’s quite easy to measure the intensity of your workout. You can use heart rate or an accelerometer, and most machines have built in calorie measures so you can gauge exactly how high your energy expenditure is.

And in labs (or ‘metabolic wards’) you can hook yourself up to a gas analyser whilst you’re pounding away (on the treadmill) to get a very precise measure of how much energy from fat you’re oxidizing.

But away from the gym and labs it’s much harder. And unless you’re having sex whilst wearing a full gas analyzer (don’t try this at home) or wearing a heart rate monitor it’s hard to know exactly how many calorie lovemaking uses up.

And that’s where metabolic equivalents or METs comes in.

What are METS and why are they relevant?

All physical activities require energy. And whilst some are easier to measure than others, they all require calories regardless.

METs is a measure of metabolic cost. It provides valuable information on rate of energy consumption for every single type of activity you can think of – from walking to Yoga and from gardening to sex.

And it’s a clever system. 1 MET is equivalent of 3.5 ml of oxygen per kilogram of body weight. That’s the amount of oxygen you consume at rest. Not moving, just sitting there relaxing.

There’s a bit of maths involved here, but it’s worth trying to understand. At 1 MET the average person will burn around 1 calorie per 2.2 pounds of body weight. So if you weighed 180 pounds that 80 calories per hour – not a lot, but remember, you’re just sitting there.

When you start to move, your activity level increases – and so does your MET value. 2 METs is twice as much energy consumption (160 kcal per hour) and 10 METs is obviously ten times as much (a whopping 800 kcal per hour).

So the higher the MET value the activity is, the more calories you’ll burn.


Man and woman in bed being intimate with each other, kissing and embracing

So How Many METs Does Sex Actually Use?

According to the bible of MET activities called the Compendium of Physical Activities [1], sexual activity can be broken up into 3 distinct MET values:

  • 1.3 METs – passive, light effort, kissing, hugging
  • 1.8 METs – general, moderate effort
  • 2.8 METs – active, vigorous effort

So if our average weight person at 180 pounds had vigorous sex, they’d be looking at over 200 kcal an hour. Okay, it’s not a great amount of belly fat you’re burning, but it definitely contributes to your energy expenditure goals. And it’s over twice as much energy consumption than at rest.

And to give it some context, 2.8 METs from sex gives you the same energy burn as light cycling, housework or cooking… only you could argue it’s more fun.

What about the research

Although clinical trials might take the romance out of the subject, it’s pretty important to see what the research tell us about sex and calorie burning.

Published in the prestigious journal PLOS ONE [2], researchers invited volunteers to have sex whilst their energy expenditure was measured. This was compared to the amount of calories they burned during a 30-minute endurance run.

The results were interesting. The average energy expenditure during sexual activity was 101 kcal (4.2 kcal per minute) in men and 69 kcal (3.1 kcal per minute) for women.

The mean intensity was relatively high and sat at 6 METs for men and 5.6 METs for women. Higher than the current literature expected.

The conclusion? Researchers suggested that “sexual activity may potentially be considered, at times, as a significant exercise”.


Couple in bed making sex

Which Sex Positions Burn The Most Calories?

Now you know that ‘sexercise‘ is a thing, you just need to know which positions will maximize belly fat burning. And to do that we’re looking at which positions burn most calories.

It’s worth baring in mind that it’s not only the position that effects how much belly fat you burn. Reemember, there’s a big difference between the more romantic, light intensity love making and more vigorous romp. And the longer you last, the more calories you’ll shred too.

But that aside, here are the most energy-consuming sex positions to burn belly fat…

#1. Standing

When you’re intimate in a standing position you have to work hard to brace your core, support your weight (and your partner’s) and move many more muscles than you would lying down – especially your calves and glutes.

#2. Missionary position

Although this one might be associated with a less adventurous love life, missionary is a great calorie burner. It works the glutes, inner thighs and core muscles and dependant on the exact position you adopt, can also work your arms too.

#3. Cowgirl

One for the girls here. If you want to maximize calorie burn and target your inner thighs, glutes and abs the cowgirl is the way forward. And throw in quads and hamstrings too if you decide to use a ‘squat variation’ position.

The beauty of this one of course is that you can control the pace as well as how aggressive you thrust. Hey, you could even approach it in ‘interval’ training if you wanted to.

#4 Doggystyle

In this primal position, the man will get a great workout for his glutes and core, whilst for the woman it’s especially tough on the tricpes, chest, core and legs. All in all it’s a great position for racking up that calorie expenditure.


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References

  1. Ainsworth, BE et al. Compendium of physical activities: an update of activity codes and MET intensities. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000; 32(9 Suppl): S498-504
  2. Frappier, J et al. Energy Expenditure during Sexual Activity in Young Healthy Couples. PLOS ONE. 2013;  8(10): e79342


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