Every direction you look there is a new cookie cutter program like P90X or Insanity or some Jillian Michaels that promises you will shred fat off like ham being sliced at the deli.
There is not only the wrong way to go about losing fat, but there is an efficient, proven way to getting the body you have always wanted. Quite simply put, a good knowledge base and strong programming will allow you to exceed your highest expectations and empower you to shed fat much faster than any made for TV, mass production heap of garbage out there.
Step #1: GET STRONG AND BUILD THAT MUSCLE
The most frequent thing new clients say to me when getting assessed is that they want to get "toned." Every woman out there has had this as their goal at some point in time. News flash for you ladies. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "TONING." The majority of women who work out seek this trait and think that by doing high repetitions using light weights for triceps extensions is going to make them toned. In reality, being toned is the result of the nervous system being more alert or physically prepared, our muscles resistance to being lengthened. At rest, your muscles are partially contracted in order to be constantly ready for action. How do we make our muscles neurologically more prepared? In order to “tone up”, you need to lift heavy and lift hard through compound exercises along with appropriate nutrition. In order to burn enough calories while working out, you need to utilize a large amount of muscle mass. So, skip the isolation exercises (curls, extensions) and focus on heavy compound lifts (squats, deadlifts, pressing variations, rowing variations). One other note, if you are worried about bulking up ladies, don’t worry because you do not have the testosterone levels to bulk up.
Here are some rules to abide by when creating your next program.
- Utilize soft tissue mobilization and a dynamic warm up
- Implement compound exercises and ditch isolation movements
- Implement super sets with an upper body and lower body exercise
- Use rest periods of about 45-90 seconds
- PUSH YOURSELF. The final couple reps shouldn't be easy.
Step #2: TRAIN YOUR ENERGY SYSTEMS
Sure, anyone can simply exercise or workout. The question that remains is: Can you train? Pretty much every local health club or commercial gym out there is filled with treadmills, ellipticals, and recumbent bikes. This commonly adds to the misbelief that in order to lose fat, you need to hop on a treadmill and run for miles on end. WRONG! Not only does this not utilize a maximum amount of carbohydrate and fat for ATP production but it is monotonous. You see, there are several different energy systems our body physiologically uses in order to create energy (ATP). Our phosphagen, glycolytic, and aerobic systems (slow glycolysis, krebs cycle, beta oxidation) all dominate the production of energy in different time ranges and environments. In order to use the highest amount of fat possible, the phosphagen and glycolytic systems need to be a priority. Our anaerobic pathways, the phosphagen and glycolytic systems are responsible for producing energy rapidly at the onset of exercise and utilize predominantly carbohydrates to produce ATP. These systems also implement a larger amount of fat to produce energy than our aerobic system. Therefore, more fat calories being burned. Awesome right.
When comparing this type of work to aerobic work, weight loss strictly will result in "skinny fat" meaning the weight loss is primarily from muscle loss and not fat. Now, aerobic work is still essential and needs to be a part of your training but it shouldn't take the role of strength training and anaerobic work if fat loss is your goal.
Try implementing short circuits at the end of your resistance training like jump roping, med ball slams, prowler pushes, sled drags, or KB swings for 30-60second:60second work:rest ratios.
Step #3: PROPER NUTRITION
Not enough can be said about having a solid, healthy diet. A diet is not simply adopting some 3-week crash diet you saw on TV or read about in some magazine. "OMG girl I just like gained back all 18 pounds after that diet." It is a lifestyle. What you eat is your diet. If you eat 3 burgers a week with fries, pizza, chocolate shakes, and drink a lot. Well, then that is one shitty diet. In order to see ultimate results, your nutrition needs to be a priority. The adaptations you make in your training occur due to about 80% nutrition and 20% training. You can take all the right steps in the gym, but if your nutrition sucks, then you are not going see the maximal results you are seeking.
Fat is often times not your main culprit either. Carbohydrates and sugar are. Snacks are great. Carbohydrates are molecularly comprised of water which causes us to store a lot of water weight. Cut out the starchy grains such as breads, pastas, snack foods, sweets, and calorie laden beverages and you can see a dramatic cut in weight off the bat with your training. However, remember it is essential to still consume carbohydrates, but the sugar from these types of foods are not needed. Just make sure to consume your carbs from healthy veggies and fruits. Oh, and healthy fats are your friend. Adopt a plan which allows you to consume high quality protein and fat from lean meats like chicken breast, fish, beef, etc. Simply put, if our body does not receive enough fat then it can actually trick itself into storing fat from your other macronutrients because it doesn't think it is going to receive any. Also, read labels when at the grocery store. If it comes in a box or bag or contains more than 5 ingredients, then it is probably processed and not actually food. Processed foods are usually high in sodium, sugar, and artificial fillers and sweeteners.
No matter what your goal is, try implementing these rules into your training.