Something interesting happened over the weekend, or should I say I witnessed something interesting. While coaching a group of people, I noticed most had given in to the workout demands I made of them, they were on the floor with jaded looks on their faces. This prompted me to stop the music and launch into a 10-minute rant about leaving your comfort zone.
What made it interesting was the response. They dragged themselves up, all of them, and slowly started to push. I started hearing grunts and cheers of motivation that sounded like battle cries. It was quite an experience. It wasn’t due to anything fantastic I said, just a seemingly collective agreement that this lifestyle, this wellbeing, affects every area of your life. For real progress and change, you need to take things to the next level.
With the world in the grip of ‘summer fever,’ now is the perfect time to kick your workout routines into high gear and actually make some significant progress towards reaching your ultimate get-lean goals.
Yes, you want to get rid of that last layer of blubber in order to finally uncover that cut body you’ve got hidden underneath. If you could get to transform your body overnight, would you pump up your shoulders, get a huge chest or a go for a serious six-pack? The answer? None of the above. Over half of the clients I encounter just want an “overall fat-free physique” rather than a single bigger or better body part. Here’s the reality, you will have to work extremely hard for every calorie, every pound, you have to learn to push yourself, but I promise you the results will be worth it.
It is not enough to know what lifestyle changes to make, there must be application. I have some suggestions:
High Intensity Interval Training
Ah! good old interval and high-intensity training. You’ve heard about the benefits for ages and for good reason: it works! If you’re looking for a surefire way to burn fat faster and lose some pounds in the process, HIIT is a solid go-to. High Intensity Interval Training is more time efficient in caloric expenditure than a traditional cardio workout. Not only will your body burn more calories during HIIT workouts but you will also continue to burn more calories and fat in the 24 hours after. By the way, that’s the fitness protocol that I coach, of course I have to talk about it!
If you think that hitting the weights is the only thing you have to do to lose fat faster, you’re wrong. You need a solid balance of weight training, cardio and diet. You need cardiovascular work to burn excess body fat. The body will burn primarily carbohydrates during the first twenty minutes of cardiovascular exercise. Right about minute twenty, the body shifts over and starts to burn stored body fat as the primary source of energy.
You need a combination of both weight training and cardio to get fat off your body. Cardio alone will only train one type of muscle – fibre, and you’ll only be building one part of your fat-burning furnace. Many people do tons of cardio every day and don’t lift weights. They never change the way they look. I know a lot of people that lift weights that realize their limitations once challenged in different ways.
Hit the weights
If you’re not already hitting the gym and racking up the weights, now’s the time if fat loss is your goal. Even if you start small and work your way up to heavier weights, gaining muscle is going to put you on the fast track to hitting that goal. When it comes to exercise, you have to train with weights to increase lean mass. Fat is burned inside of your muscle cells.
The bigger and more plentiful your muscle cells, the bigger your fat-burning furnace. Adding muscle basically increases the size of the fat-burning furnace. Dieting incorrectly or exercising incorrectly decreases your fat-burning furnace. This is often why, when a male-female couple embarks on a good exercise and nutrition plan, the male drops more weight more quickly than the female. He has more muscle tissue and a much bigger furnace. He can burn food at a much faster rate than the female who has less muscle and a much smaller furnace.
Pick up a sport
Picking up a sport is a great way to burn extra calories, trim away the fat and still have a hell of a lot of fun doing it. Playing a sport involves cardio and lots of non-linear movement (jumping, back pedalling, side stepping) making it healthier than straight jogging. Plus, it keeps you having fun without getting bored.
You don’t have to be the next Michael Jordan to go down to your fitness facility, hop on the basketball court, and look for a game. Just do it! Most people are happy to have another player. Just make sure you at least know the rules (and know how to dribble). I only mention basketball because that’s my sport of choice. Maybe squash is your thing, maybe it’s soccer, just do it.
Reduce stress with Yoga
Breathe deep. Relax. Breathe deeper. Feel better? Feel healthier? Well, keep doing it, because it just might be helping you stay fit and lose fat. Stress has been known to contribute to abdominal fat and a whole host of other issues. Grabbing your Yoga mat and heading out for a little relaxation may go a long way toward helping you reach your fitness goals as well. And, besides, who among us couldn’t use a little less stress and a little more relaxation, right?
Eat more home-cooked meals
Unless you’ve been plugging away at a healthy lifestyle for a long time, going out to eat at restaurants can be a daunting task. Most menus don’t provide very good details and calorie counts on all their meals, so knowing what to order can often be an exercise in futility. The more home-cooked meals you eat, the more likely you’re able to maintain that healthy lifestyle. It’s much easier to control portion, ingredients, and quality of the food when you’re cooking it yourself.I think I should write a guide to eating out while on holiday, what do you think?
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