Everyone wants the answer and diet to fix their weight loss problems. And everyone wants it to be easy and quick. The fact is, quick weight loss is unhealthy, it’s not long term and is not reality. The reality is that my staff and I have had tremendous success along these lines, but it involves effort and the right strategy.
I know what you’re thinking. The infomercials touting super-tummy-trimmers and the diet programs that remove an essential nutrient promise it to be easy. The diet centers and drug companies have the key, right? At least they want you to believe that. Unfortunately, although this article may not tell you what you want to hear-it is what you need to hear.
Before giving you my five step strategy, here are some ground rules. First, you have to work on your mental muscle. You have to believe you can lose the weight. If you don’t believe you will not achieve.
Our beliefs are what guide us to be successful or unsuccessful at anything we do. Think about that for a moment. What have you done that you were very successful at? Chances are you believed you would be successful. And what have you been disappointed about? Did you think before you started that you wouldn’t be successful? The same applies to losing fat. You have to start creating thoughts that you will lose the fat. These thoughts will soon become your beliefs and you will lose fat!
Second, tune out all the infomercial magazine misinformation. If you listen to that and your initial progress using the five steps is slower than you would like, you’ll second guess what you’re doing and give up too early.
There, now that you’re in the right frame of mind for successful weight loss, let’s move on to the next step-exercise and eating right.
You’ve probably seen programs that tell you to eat right and exercise, but you are rarely given a complete strategy. They may list what to eat or what exercise machine to use, but there’s not a synergistic connection of the two. That’s about to change. I’m about to share a five-part exercise and nutrition proven that has proven to be the fad-free and hype-free ultimate fat loss strategy.
First, I’ll list all five parts of the fat loss puzzle, then address them one at a time.
1. Perform resistance exercise in supersets for 30 – 45 minutes per day, 4 days per week.
2. Perform staggered intensity aerobic exercise immediately following resistance 20 -30 minutes.
3. Eat 5-6 meals per day, every 3-3 1/2 hours; 1/3 of each meal should include a protein.
4. Avoid simple sugars, refined carbs and avoid adding saturated or hydrogenated fats to foods.
5. Implement a high-low caloric consumption.
It is important that all five parts be implemented together. Some people may want to pick one or two parts and hope it will be their answer-it will not. Each step works synergistically with the other. One missing link will drastically decrease your results.
Step number 1: Perform resistance exercise in supersets for 30 – 45 minutes per day, 4 days per week and with each set taking you to momentary muscle failure.
Exercise until the muscle is fatigued and you feel you can’t do another repetition (momentary muscle failure). Always remember to use strict form and controlled speed. Organize your exercises into super-sets. For example, perform an exercise using one muscle group then immediately follow it with another exercise using a different muscle group, then rest (1 minute) and repeat. Super-sets can greatly increase calorie expenditure and workout efficiency.
Resistance training is critical to taking control of your metabolism and increasing muscle tone. Resistance training (weight training) is an often underrated component of a successful fat loss strategy. You must always work to increase-or at least maintain-the muscle you have or you risk not optimizing your metabolism. This training is one component to helping you do just that. A minimal amount of muscle can make a significant impact on your long term fat loss.
Step number 2: Perform staggered intensity aerobic exercise immediately following resistance for 20 – 30 minutes.
Here’s great news on how to take the boredom out of exercise that many people experience. Stop starving yourself and stop spending an hour on the treadmill. The myth that lots of aerobic exercise helps you lose fat is stopping many people from getting the results they desire. The only thing excessive aerobic exercise does is diminish your resolve and decrease your lean muscle.
Instead, perform staggered intensity aerobic exercise for 20-30 minutes after a resistance training workout. In other words, perform efficient and engaging aerobic exercise, not long boring and counter productive aerobic exercise. Follow your resistance training workout with aerobic exercise to maximize fat utilization. Vary the intensity from high to low throughout the aerobic session and you will increase caloric expenditure, increase the efficiency of your aerobic workout and decrease your boredom by being engaged, rather than staring off into space. Even if you are a beginner, vary the intensity. For example, walk at a slow pace for 3 minutes, then increase to a moderate pace for 2 minutes, and then add a short speed walk for 30 seconds. After completing this cycle repeat it for a total of 20 minutes.
Step number 3: Eat 5-6 meals per day, every 3-3 1/2 hours; 1/3 of each meal should include a protein.
What if you were told you could lose weight by eating more often? It’s true. Many of the struggles Americans have with weight are due to skipping meals and then bingeing when they get home from work. On top of that, you actually will slow your metabolism down by skipping meals. Your body perceives it is starving and makes metabolic adaptations to compensate.
By skipping meals in an effort to lose weight you are actually doing more harm than good. You can fire up your metabolic furnace by consuming five meals a day and making a third of each meal a lean protein. You will control your appetite, increase your metabolism and let your body know you are providing it with consistent calories throughout the day and therefore it can release fat stored for energy during exercise.
Step number 4: Avoid simple sugars, refined carbs and avoid adding saturated or hydrogenated fats to foods.
Here’s the “eat right” part where we learn about the notorious nutritional enemies of fat loss-better known as sugars and refined carbohydrates. But don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating a low carbohydrate diet, absolutely not! We need to understand the difference between good carbohydrates and undesirable carbohydrates. Simple sugars and refined carbohydrates would qualify as undesirable ones. Simple sugars would be anything ending in “ose” (glucose, sucrose, fructose, etc.) and most of the foods we normally consider “sweets.” Fruit juice, sugared cola, cakes and cookies (even those labeled “fat free”) contain enough sugar to throw pancreatic hormones completely out of balance severely limiting the potential for fat release.
Sugar intake can also lead to erratic energy levels, food cravings and sudden fatigue due to insulin spikes and residual blood sugar drops. Refined carbs include white flour and bleached and processed grains. These foods have very little actual nutritional value and the carbs are rapidly broken down into glucose which takes us into the simple sugar challenge. In addition, they are easily converted into triglycerides and stored as fats.
Speaking of fats, the essential fats are vital (as the name implies), but the fats that are solid at room temperature, such as the fats in a marbled steak, butter or the hydrogenated oils found in butter substitutes, have little place in an effective fat loss program. By developing an awareness of these sabotage foods, you’ll be equipped to make better nutritional choices, keeping fat release at its peak.
Step number 5: Implement a high-low caloric consumption.
If you are a person that does not find tracking calories to be an absolute pain, then the following technique can be a valuable tool in your fat loss tool box. If you do not like tracking calories, however, then simply visually decrease and increase your portion sizes as I explain.
To amplify fat loss, you can employ a technique called the high-low caloric stagger. In other words, you alternate a “regular” day, where you consume lean protein, starch and fiber (visually equal portions) every 3 hours, with a lower calorie-higher protein day. Now, lower calorie just means slightly smaller portion sizes, but not so small that you are starving. You must honor your hunger. On the “protein day” you eliminate the starch and increase the protein size (in each meal) by approximately 25 percent. This manipulation of calories and carbs allows the body to release and access greater volume of stored fat with reduced likelihood of muscle loss.
The higher protein on the lower calorie days provides ample amino acids to prevent the body from turning to muscle as a fuel source on your lower calorie day. Do not repeat more than two days of either a high or low day. The end result is a reduction in weekly caloric intake without the protective mechanisms that act to slow metabolism in times of calorie deprivation, and fat loss is amplified, leaving your metabolism stoked.
This nutritional system works well for four weeks, but to keep the body from adapting, it’s best to return to a more balanced nutritional program immediately following the fourth week. If additional fat loss is desired, consider employing this system again after 8 weeks of balanced nutrition with a consistent caloric intake.
There you have the fad-free and hype-free ultimate five step fat loss strategy that I have used successfully with many of our clients. By incorporating all five steps you can effectively achieve the body transformation you desire and enjoy the process as well.
Pete Piranio, BS, CSC, Owner of Fitness Together and Piranio Fitness Systems, Inc is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, from the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
For more information, check our www.fitnesstogether.net.
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