I thought it would be appropriate to write an article on fat loss as the weather begins to get nicer. After all who wouldn’t want to lose some extra fat they are carrying around? See if you can incorporate as many as these tips as possible in the upcoming months and watch the fat disappear.
Tip # 1- Frequent Eating – People sometimes act surprised when I tell them to actually eat more times a day when they are looking to lose weight, but it’s true. Now I am not recommending you visit the Old Country Buffet every hour but our bodies are programmed to burn fat and build muscle best when we consume 5-7 smaller more frequent meals. This keeps our metabolism running at full velocity and also keeps our body in a positive nitrogen balance which holds of catabolism (muscle wasting). However this doesn’t mean you need to be sitting at the table eating whole food at each meal. I recommend investing in a high quality meal replacement powder to have between whole food meals. A simple protein powder will work great.
Tip # 2 – Drink More Water – Water can be considered the most important nutrient to consume. But the fact is most people do not consume enough. Our bodies are 70 percent water and need proper hydration to function properly. I am going to leave out the dehydration factor and save that for another time but just remember if you’re thirsty you need water! The main point I am trying to make here is the metabolism requires water to function properly, when water intake is too low the metabolism slows down. Bottom line: drink more water throughout the day and keep your metabolism functioning properly. P.S that’s why I have water with me at all times!
Tip # 3 – Consume lean protein with each “Meal” – Consuming lean protein in each feeding is important for a number of reasons. First, protein is the most thermogenic of all of the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fat) meaning it is harder for the body to process. Secondly, as I said earlier having a protein source at each meal will keep the body in a positive nitrogen balance which helps maintain muscle. Remember the key is to lose fat not muscle. Muscle takes more calories to maintain meaning it burns more calories so we want to keep what we already have and build upon it. Lastly and most importantly for fat loss, consuming protein along with carbohydrates keeps insulin levels from rising. Insulin is a signal to store fat so it is important to keep it stable. That is why I do not recommend consuming sugar because it spikes insulin which leads to fat storage. Have some chicken breast, turkey breast, egg whites, cottage cheese, fish, protein powder or lean red meat at each “meal”.
Tip # 4 – Do not cut calories too fast – This tip goes back to the metabolism (reoccurring theme). When you rapidly cut calories the metabolism in turn slows down because it perceives a time of starvation. This is also a good way to lose muscle. You should not be starving while trying to get leaner. Remember you are not dieting you are making lifestyle changes to lose fat. The better approach would be to start out slowly and when progress stops then adjust you calories to maintain losing fat.
Tip # 5 – Emphasize complex carbohydrates – When selecting carbohydrates make sure you are selecting the right ones. What I mean by this is selecting slow burning complex carbs that do not spike insulin levels. Good examples of these are oatmeal (plain oats not the flavored kind), sweet potatoes, brown rice and vegetables. Bad carbohydrate selections are of the white variety, white rice, white bread, white pasta, and of course sugar.
Bonus Controversial Tip # 6 – Cut out fruit juice – Ok this is the one that causes some controversy. People always ask me “I thought fruit juice is healthy?” and I replay it is as long as you get the 100% juice variety but even then I don’t recommend it on a fat loss diet. The reason for this is simple; there is a difference between healthy eating and eating for fat loss. While fruit juice might be “healthy” for your body with loads of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants there just is not room for it on a fat loss plan. A fat loss plan is going to have a set amount of calories, protein, carbohydrates and fat. The question I normally ask is “would you rather have that 8oz of juice or that large bowl of oatmeal with your eggs at breakfast? “ each item is around 40g of carbohydrate but the oatmeal is a much more complex, slower acting and won’t cause an insulin spike leading to fat storage.
I challenge you to use some of these tips in the next few weeks and let me know how they work for you!
One thing you are almost certain to see when walking into a gym is people doing endless crunches on the floor in an effort to achieve a well defined midsection. Why is this so common? Well it’s because abs are the ultimate show muscle and doing endless crunches is going to get me a ripped six pact to show the ladies. Ok sounds like we need a lesson on how to properly train our abdominal region.
First, before we even get into proper abdominal training I feel it is necessary to give away my secret right up front. The key to having great abdominals is having a low body fat. If you have a high body fat it really doesn’t matter how well conditioned your abs are they will likely be covered by a layer of fat. If this is the case you need to concentrate on lowering your body fat first. Nutrition is going to play a huge part in this along with a cardio routine that includes some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) to help facilitate more fat burning effects. Once you get your nutrition and cardio geared towards losing fat, an intense ab busting routine will put you well on your way to the midsection you want.
The main component of training the abdominal region includes four areas to be specifically targeted; upper abs, lower abs, oblique’s, and core. When training the abdominals it is important to remember how muscles in general respond best to training. With abdominals like any muscle there must be continued progression. An endless rep of crunches day after day is not the answer. There needs to be added resistance, something to force your abdominals to work harder than they are accustomed to. Added resistance during ab exercises can come from holding a weight plate, kettle bell, medicine ball, using a cable station or roman chair to perform you exercise on. Also adding instability in the form of an exercise ball can provide added benefit to your ab training.
A good ab program has to include an exercise from each of the four specific areas; upper, lower, oblique’s, and core. This style of routine should be done 2 or 3 times per week with rest days in between, remember your abs need time for recovery in order to make improvements just like all of your other muscles.
Sample Abdominal Plan
- Rope Cable Crunch 3 sets 12-15 reps (upper abs)
- Hanging Knee Raise 3 sets 12-15 reps (lower abs)
- Weighted rotation on exercise ball 3 sets 12-15 reps (oblique’s)
- Plank holds 3 sets 45-60 sec holds (core)