1. Lift Weights to Build and Tone Muscle
Increasing your muscle mass and tone will accelerate body-fat loss. When your muscles grow the demand on your body's energy resources increase. Therefore your metabolism starts running at a higher rate burning more calories during rest and while you exercise.
Muscles require a lot of energy to:
- Fuel their normal function in rest
- To power the 3 main energy systems with ATP (Adenosine Tri-phosphate; the energy molecule), Glycogen (a string of Glucose molecules) and Adipose Tissue (Fat) during exercise
- To replenish energy stores after exercise when the muscles are drained and facilitate the sustained hyperactivity of the muscles chemistry
Bigger and stronger muscle also enhances your bodies' ability to perform and sustain high intensity exercise. This in turn can increase the potential calorie burning effect of your workout.
2. Perform Low Intensity Sustained Exercise
Have you ever noticed someone who is overweight pounding away day after day on the treadmill sweating and panting but never really getting anywhere? I certainly have. This is because of a fantastically great misconception that I can't believe still exists today: The harder you go on the cardio the more fat you burn! I'm afraid not. If you learn about the basics of the human body and how the energy systems work you find out that it is in fact the opposite.
Fat burning occurs and peaks during sustained low intensity exercise in the presence of oxygen. This means that when energy is required quickly for short or medium bursts of intense exercise ATP and Glycogen becomes the source of that energy. They can be used instantly and without oxygen resulting in a by-product that everyone has experienced, Lactic Acid. Anaerobic Exercise predominately uses these fuels during brief periods that cannot be sustained. Aerobic Exercise utilises fat as the dominant fuel because the low amount of intensity is sustainable allowing blood supply to the muscles that is rich in oxygen, fats' catalyst.
So what does this mean for all you lovely people out there? If you want to concentrate on burning fat during cardio-vascular exercise drop the intensity to a level where your breathing rate increases but you can still have a fairly normal conversation with someone. A more scientific approach would be:
Get the number 220, take away your age to get your maximum heart rate (MHR), multiply that number by 0.65 (the fat burning range) and use the answer as your target heart rate (THR) during cardio-vascular exercise. Example;
220 - 26 = 194
194 x 0.65 = 126 beats per minute (BPM)
Maintain this heart rate for 30 minutes to 1 hour to hit your peak fat burning range. If you are fit however, I'd increase it by 10 BPM as your bodies' chemistry and response to exercise are more developed.
3. Cut Out Excess Calories and Pleasure Foods
I'm not talking about dieting because to me that word sounds temporary and unsustainable. I'm talking about a sensible and attractive lifestyle change that is logical and positive. You don't need all that crap. Eating certainly needs to be enjoyable but eating in excess of what your body really needs is unacceptable 90 percent of the time. Do yourself a favour and put food into perspective.
Food only exists to fuel, nourish, maintain and rebuild the body. Humans have made eating a way of life and we let it get out of control treating ourselves constantly to food that is very high in empty calories and low in nutrition. Junk food tastes good but is that short few minutes of pleasure really worth deteriorating the function and capability of your body?
Good food tastes good. I think that there is just as much pleasure and satisfaction or even more out of supplying your body with nutritious foods as there is with eating fast foods, desserts, sugar and chocolate. If you have a great training session a healthy protein drink or a steak and salad is what you feel like because that is what is going to support the desired outcomes of your exercise routine. Lollies or candy will do nothing positive and makes you feel gross afterwards.
If you think about the big picture and you want to get the most out of your life you MUST look after the ONLY body that you have. How on earth can people justify owning an expensive car or boat or whatever, spending time and money on maintenance, repairs, supplies, services and accessories giving it the best of everything while they only supply their own bodies with sub-standard fuel? Cars and other toys are replaceable and only needed a few hours of each day. You CAN'T replace your body. You need it all day every day until you leave this world. It's your best friend and should the priority receiving everything it requires for peak performance.
I always suggest that one day a week everyone should consider letting their guard down and eating something nice and naughty but for the rest of the time you must eat healthy, fresh, nutritious varied food. It's a crime not to and will only lead you down a negative path.
Enough preaching. Here are some suggestions to help shed unwanted body-fat through your eating habits:
i. The food and exercise equation
First there is an element of experimentation. You need to find out how to balance and manipulate the equation between the food that you eat and the exercise that you perform. This can be simplified further by calling it ENERGY IN and ENERGY OUT. Increase or decrease one or the other to make your bodyweight go up or down.
- if you eat more and exercise less your bodyweight will go up
- if you eat less and exercise more your bodyweight will go down
- if you are at a point where your food intake and exercise output balance each other your bodyweight will remain the same
Work out the extent of change you need to apply to change your bodyweight.
ii. Increase your meal frequency and decrease your meal size.
If you eat three large meals a day you receive an uneven spread of calories and energy. This can affect you in the following ways:
- Slowing down of the metabolism ( the bodies total demand for energy and ability to burn it)
- A lack of energy due to the large meal gaps
- Storing of excess calories as body-fat from the large meals
- Sleeping on a full stomach again promoting body-fat storage
If you eat 5 to 7 smaller meals throughout the day all these point can be turned around increasing your metabolism and facilitating exercise and normal function.
iii. Don't eat complex carbohydrates or junk-food after lunch.
Eat foods that are dense in energy early in the day for a sustained release of energy throughout the rest of the day. As you get closer to sleeping you need nutritious foods, such as salads and stir-fried veges, lean meats and fish, that provide less energy because excess calories will be unused and stored as fat. Dinner should also be a smaller meal than it traditionally is to aid this. Breakfast and lunch should be the larger meals as they are the energy providers for your day and any exercise that you do.
iv. Drink lots of water.
Water is the catalyst for every function and chemical reaction in the body. If you keep yourself hydrated it will assist you in many roles such as body-fat loss. You can train harder and longer maintaining a healthy internal environment by keeping up the blood volume reducing pressure on the cardio-vascular system. The sodium and potassium concentrations of the muscles will remain balanced promoting healthy muscle contraction. Drinks lots of water to exercise properly and stay healthy. Adequate water supplies will speed up all the processes within the body including fat metabolism.
Pasta, bread, buns, oats, cereals, white rice, noodles, potatoes, mash, chips, pumpkin, couscous, polenta, pastry, alcohol, junk-food, snack-food, desserts, pizza, crumbed stuff, batter, oil, butter, sugar, salt, MSG, cheese, fast food and fried food especially after lunch.
Salads, vegetables, fruits and herbs of many colours. Fresh, raw, organic and cooked foods. Fish, beef, chicken, tofu, lean lamb, protein drinks and supplements.
Do what is best for your health and enjoy it.
4. Perform Your Cardio First Thing In The Morning
Perform your fat-burning cardio exercise first thing in the morning before you have breakfast. There will be no food in your system to use as energy and the glycogen stores in muscles and liver won't be utilised if the exercise intensity is low (where it should be). Glycogen is limited and will deplete leaving fat as the primary fuel. Keep yourself well hydrated with water but don't have breakfast until after you have finished your 30 minutes to 1 hour of cardio. Fat will be maintained as the dominant fuel source.
5. Cut Down Rest Time Between Sets
Weight training is traditionally performed with approximately a minutes rest between sets or even longer. I think that most people rest for too long losing potential workout intensity and other possible benefits. I recommend 30 seconds to 1 minute and often less or none!
Reasons for reducing rest time between sets include:
- Increased exercise intensity through continual muscular stimulation whilst fuel stores are depleted. Limiting rest time forces the muscles to work extra hard as their energy stores do not have time to replenish. The blood also cannot deliver oxygen rapidly enough to retard lactic acid accumulation.
- An increased cardio-vascular effect produced because the body moves continually from one exercise to another taxing the heart and lungs. So you not only facilitate muscle strength, growth and tone you also improve heart and lung fitness.
- Improved fat-burning effect with the sustained exercise during the workout and in recovery afterwards. More calories are burned training in this manner.
- Enhanced body chemistry through increases in oxygen delivery, lactic acid removal and energy repletion.
How to decrease rest time during your workout:
- Utilise agonist/antagonist supersets. This is where an exercise is performed for a muscle followed immediately by an exercise for the opposing muscle group
- Utilise pre-exhaustion supersets. This is where an isolation exercise (single-joint) is performed to specifically fatigue a muscle followed immediately by a compound exercise (multi-joint), which uses additional fresh muscles, to further fatigue the target muscle
- Perform circuit-type training where there is little to no rest for the entire workout
- Be focussed and motivated and hungry
6. Perform Sprint Workouts
Twice a week take yourself to a sports field or flat park and mark out a 100 metre length. Complete a 10 minute jog and 10 minutes of stretching focussing on the legs. Perform a run at 50%. Walk back. Perform a run at 75%. Walk back. Perform up to 10 runs at 100% walking back slowly each time to recover.
This type of intense anaerobic exercise will:
- Alter the chemistry of the bodies energy systems forcing them to work harder and faster
- Increase the basal metabolic rate (BMR) burning more energy at rest
- Change the muscle fiber composition of the muscles training them to be stronger, more powerful and able to work at higher intensities for longer
- Cause more fat to be burnt during recovery
7. Use Variety In Your Cardio And Fat Burning Program
I've talked about using variety to get the most out of your weight training and while it's not as frequently required with cardio-vascular exercise it still needs to be implemented. Instead of using the treadmill for 40 minutes every try one of these mediums:
- Rowing Machines
- Stair Climbers and other machines
- Circuit Classes
- Barbell Classes
- High Energy Classes
- Boxing and Martial Arts Classes
- Spin Classes and other group fitness activities
- Team Sports
- Walking, Jogging, Running
- Cycling, Swimming
- Other dynamic pastimes, games, sports and activities
Changing your routine regularly will keep your body stimulated achieving constant improvement. It's also fun and will keep you interested.7 Ways To Get Your Body Ripped For Summer