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Twist boards, or twist discs, have become all the rage, thanks in large part to one version, the Simply Fit Board, that won funding on the Emmy-winning reality TV show Shark Tank. While twisting on this sort of balance device does burn calories, it's not a stand-alone solution to weight loss. If you want to lose weight with a twist board - or anything else, for that matter - you must strike a balance between your physical activity and what you eat.
Striking the Right Balance
At its most basic, losing weight boils down to burning more calories than you take in. If that happens, your body uses some of your stored body fat as energy. Burn 3,500 more calories than you take in per week, and you'll lose about a pound of body fat. Obviously, any significant weight loss takes a while, so instead of aiming for crash diets in which you lose a lot of weight but then gain it right back, you'll have more long-term success if you incorporate your twist board into a series of long-term, sustainable lifestyle changes.
Finding Your Calorie Count
Counting calories isn't necessarily essential to an effective weight-loss program. It's seeing results that matters most. But for many people, keeping some sort of calorie tally is part of the road to success. With that in mind, you should track both the calories you take in and the calories you burn.
To log your calorie intake, use a mobile app, website or even a notebook and pencil to record every single thing you eat and drink daily, and then look up their calories and add them up.
To log your calorie expenditures, you need to know two things. The first is your basal metabolic rate, or how many calories your body burns in the basic processes that keep you alive. The easiest way to estimate this is using an online BMR calculator. The second thing you need to know is how many calories you burn with physical activity during the day - which includes not just your twist board but also any other activities you do, like walking to the store or biking around the park.
If you establish a calorie deficit - that is, you burn more than you take in - you're on your way to losing weight. The larger the deficit, the faster the weight comes off. For example, if every day you burn 500 more calories than you take in, after a week you'll have burned off the equivalent of a pound of fat.
Calories Burned on a Twist Board
Unlike more established workouts, there are no verifiable third-party tests of how many calories you'll burn using a twist board. However, the manufacturers of the Simply Fit board claim that you'll burn 80 to 100 calories during every 10-minute workout.
While the promises made in ads for exercise equipment tend to be very optimistic, it's hard to tell just how optimistic this particular claim is. For the sake of comparison, if the calories burned were exactly as promised, that would work out to about the same calorie burn as running 5 to 6 mph, sparring in a boxing ring or playing competitive football.
But no matter what the actual rate of calorie burn is for your twist board, there are several things you can do to increase that burn. The first is to work out more intensely. Mixing short intervals of higher-intensity exercise into your twist workouts is a great way to start. Next, try recruiting more muscle groups. For example, you can add upper-body exercises like rows, shoulder presses and biceps curls, with or without weight.
Finally, working out longer is always an option - but even if you really enjoy your twist board, there is such a thing as "too much of a good thing." So don't be afraid to take a page from the practice of many a professional athlete, and cross-train by adding other workouts that you enjoy to your daily activities. As you'll soon find out, it's often the small things that add up to big, sustainable weight loss - even if you have to do it one twist at a time.
About the Author
Lisa is a retired personal trainer with more than 4,000 hours of hands-on experience working with a variety of clients, from sports teams to weight loss and post-rehab populations. She's also a professional writer. Published credits in the health field include Livestrong.com, Feel Rich, SheKnows, Precor.com, and the East Coast magazine Breathe.