Believe it or not, losing a little or a lot of fat involves pretty much the same concept – consistent dieting coupled with cardiovascular exercise and weight training.
This is how the professionals do it, and it works. If you are overweight, you may be hesitant to start a weight training program, but the benefits far outweigh any reservations you may have.
Weight training enhances your fat loss by increasing your muscle mass and more muscle means more calories burned (faster metabolism).
It also it gives your skin a more tone, tight appearance, lowers your blood pressure, strengthens your bones, improves your agility, increases your flexibility, strengthens your immune system and gives you more energy and a brighter outlook on life.
If you have a high level of body fat, or you have never been able to successfully lose fat, you should consider trying a complete, well-rounded program that not only focuses on dieting, but also includes adequate cardiovascular activity and weight training.
If you are already very muscular, and you just want lose a little body fat, then a fat loss program that includes regular cardiovascular activity and weight training is perfect for you.
The best way to get ripped and maintain as much muscle as you can is to diet slowly.
The truth is, when you are on a low calorie diet, your body prefers to use muscle tissue for fuel rather than excess body fat.
So, the slower you lose weight, the more likely you are losing fat and not muscle. Ideally, you should aim to lose no more than 1lb – 1.5 lbs per week that’s it.
If you are obese, then you should try to lose no more than 1% of your bodyweight per week. Any more than that and you are sacrificing muscle.
Women do tend to lose fat at a slower rate than men, but don’t let this discourage you. Women simply store fat more efficiently than men because it is needed during and after pregnancy.
As your body fat levels drop, you will notice that the fat loss comes off in reverse of how it was put on. So, the most recent fat gains will come off first, while the old fat that has been there for a while will take the longest to lose.
The most difficult fat to lose usually centers around the waist, belly and lower back areas for men, and the upper thigh and buttocks, area for women.
The fat in these areas are the most difficult to totally get rid of. This type of fat is difficult to lose because the low blood flow in these areas hinders the fat mobilization.
So, if the fat can’t be moved into the bloodstream to be used as fuel, those love handles will never go away.
That’s why thermogenic supplements help to improve fat loss – they increase circulation into these hard to reach areas and mobilize the stubborn fat.
Remember that you cannot spot reduce!
What I mean by this is that you can’t pick and choose the areas that you would like to lose the fat and do exercises that work those areas expecting the fat to just magically disappear in those areas.
Your body does not work that way. The only way to decrease the amount of fat in certain key areas is by lowering your total body fat levels.
As you lose fat, it will come off all over your body, not just in specific areas.
If you follow a complete diet and weight training program for at least 12 weeks, you will begin to see dramatic changes occurring with your body, and I’m not just talking about the obvious physical changes, I’m also talking about the psychological and physiological changes.
You can expect lower body fat (of course), increased muscle mass, increased metabolism, increased sense of well-being, more energy, lower bad cholesterol level, increased good cholesterol level, decreased risk of heart disease, deeper more restful sleep and most important, increased self-confidence.
To be successful, your fat loss program should include the following:
* A calorie restrictive diet, which requires you to eat no less than 12x and no more than 15x your LEAN bodyweight in calories.
* Regular cardiovascular activity for at least 30-45 minutes 3-4 times per week. Some recommend a moderate pace while other recommend a vigorous pace — it doesn’t really matter as long as you are exercising.
* Weight training.
* Supplementing your diet with vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Vitamin C, L-glutamine, and a good multi vitamin are the bare essentials.
* Adequate dietary fat, including high amounts of Essential Fatty Acids (Omega-6 and Omega-3).
* Regularly monitor your progress. If you don’t track your progress you won’t know if your diet program is working! Looking in the mirror or just relying on the scale is NOT adequate. Here’s a great composition tracking software that I highly recommend http://www.comptracker.com
It will let you know exactly if what you are doing is working.
* Finally, make sure that the program you decide on is compatible with your lifestyle and schedule.
You can have the greatest program in the world, but if you cannot implement it then it is worthless.
There are thousands of fat loss diets and workouts that will work, but the hard part is finding one that works for you and the specifics of your diet and schedule restraints.
HIIT For Weight Loss
HIIT improves performance through short exercise sessions and involves alternating short, fast bursts of intensive exercise with slow, easy activity. An HIIT session involves a warm-up interval, followed by several short, maximum-intensity efforts separated by moderate recovery intervals, and finally a cool-down interval.
Studies have shown this method to be more effective at burning fat and maintaining muscle mass than long periods of lower intensity aerobic workouts. Some studies state that HIIT burns 9x more fat than traditional cardiovascular exercise.
HIIT burns a lot of calories during the workout, but where it differs from traditional cardiovascular exercise it that your metabolism stays elevated for more than 24 hours afterwards! This means that you keep burning calories after you have finished exercising. Therefore, don’t bother looking for an HIIT calorie calculator.
It is difficult to calculate the calorie burn from HIIT training directly, as much of the effects of HIIT do not take place during the workout, but for hours after.
HIIT does not simply instigate weight loss by burning calories, but acts via a complex series of physiological mechanisms (e.g. nervous and endocrine systems) to lower insulin resistance, improve glucose tolerance, increase exercise and post-exercise fat oxidation, and decrease appetite.
Researchers at an Australian University found people who cycled for 40 minutes at a steady pace lost an average of two pounds.
A second group cycled just 20 minutes, but alternated between 8 second sprints and 12 seconds of slower riding. They lost an average of six pounds.
However, if you can complete only a short HIIT workout, it may be that you are better off with moderately high intensity cardio that you can sustain steadily for a long time period.
Benefits Of HIIT
- Burn more calories
- Metabolism stays high AFTER workout
- Fat burning increases during and post workout
- Shorter workouts
- Can Increase power
- Increases speed
- Increases endurance
- Decreases appetite
High Intensity Interval Training: HOW TO DO IT
The key to HIIT is that it does not allow your body to get used to what you are doing, i.e. by changing your pace and pushing yourself through each interval.
No matter what your fitness goals are, HIIT can be one of the best methods to help you achieve them.
HIIT is a great technique for those who get bored easily and are already active or those who have reached a fat loss plateau.
The variations of HIIT are infinite. You can adjust the training parameters (e.g. ratio of exercise to rest, number of intervals) to make the workouts harder or easier.
Generally longer intervals provide better results. The four parameters you can manipulate when designing your interval-training program are:
- Intensity (i.e. speed) of work interval
- Duration (i.e. distance or time) of work interval
- Duration of rest/ recovery interval
- Number of repetitions of each interval
You can also use any type of exercise for your training, including cycling, sprinting, any cardio machine (stationary bike, cross-trainer, treadmill, stair-master, elliptical machine) hula hoping and jump rope.
HIIT TRAINING GUIDELINES
Warm up before you start.
Assess your current fitness and set training goals within your ability.
Start slowly. (E.g. walk 2 minutes/ run 2 minutes).
Keep a steady, but challenging pace throughout the interval.
Increase the number of repetitions over time.
Bring your heart rate down to 100-110 bpm during the rest interval.
To improve, increase intensity or duration, but not both simultaneously.
Make any changes slowly over a period of time.
Circuit training as a form of interval training.
HIIT should last 12 – 20 minutes (does not include warm-up and cool down).
If you have a heart rate monitor – great. If not, as you can see from the table below, it is easy enough to use the RPE (rating of perceived exertion) scale.
It is probably easier for beginners to start by using this scale and if necessary you add the use of a heart rate monitor later.
The best way to use this method of exercising is to mix it up with traditional cardio.
As with embarking on any exercise program, it is advisable to clear it with your doctor first.