Fat loss is a complex science. Metabolism, energy systems, lean muscle tissue development; all of these things can make your head spin when you are new to exercise and want to learn the best and most efficient way to lose fat. I have developed a system that I use effectively with my personal training groups. They see huge gains in fat loss and have fun training at the same time.
In order to effectively and permanently lose fat, you must change your metabolism. In the simple sense, metabolism is the way that your body processes and breaks down energy (calories). If you increase your metabolism your body will burn calories more efficiently at rest and not just during exercise sessions.
Here are my 7 Personal Training Rules for Fat Loss:
1. Eat small meals (5-6 per day): Eating small meals throughout the day will keep your metabolism at a consistent level and will help you avoid spikes in insulin due to large meals. This also helps to avoid becoming too hungry and making bad choices. If you are fueling your body with good nutritious food throughout the day, your energy will increase and you will have stronger workouts, ultimately leading to more fat loss.
2. Post workout nutrition: Many people avoid eating after a workout because they don’t want to ingest any calories after burning so many. The post workout nutrition is important to recovery and also to the body’s metabolic system. Try including a small liquid protein mix no later than 30 minutes after your training session. During this time frame your body is primed to receive nutrients and protein, and the liquid will digest much easier than food. Mixing the protein with water will also help with hydration. The shake should be anywhere from 150-200 calories so I recommend a scoop of high quality protein with 8-10 ounces of water.
3. Hydration: Keeping the water levels in your body consistent is crucial to fat loss. Hydration can increase the metabolism, not a lot but even a little is better than nothing. Drinking water will help to fuel your workouts, increase energy, and eliminate all of the other fluids that people drink (many with a lot of calories).
4. Strength Training: Strength training is a key to fat loss and lean muscle development.
Increasing lean muscle tissue will lead to a faster metabolism and calorie burn at rest. 2-3 days per week of large muscle group movements, full body workouts, and heavy weights will burn a lot of calories, increase your metabolism, and promote fat loss in the most efficient manner.
5. Interval Training: Get rid of the steady state cardio training. Perform shorter and more intense workouts and you will see a boost in your overall calorie burn. The harder that you force your body to work, the more calories you will burn. This does not mean running for a longer block of time on the treadmill, just increase your intensity. 30 minutes of training with 1-2 minute intervals followed by 1-2 minutes of recovery work will burn a higher percentage of calories and increase your metabolism post-exercise. Don’t believe the hype about “fat burning zones”. You will burn fat as a fuel source but your overall calorie expenditure is much less. Other great conditioning options include jumping rope, sprints, circuits, and stair running. Make your body do all of the work and avoid machines!
6. Vary your routine every 3-4 weeks: The body is a smart machine. After a few weeks of a certain stimulus, the body will respond and results will become less efficient. Changing repetitions, sets, tempos, weight used, number of days that you train, and rest periods will all help to keep the workout fresh. After a few weeks, change the workout completely.
7. Have fun with exercise and training: Don’t think of exercise as a chore. Every workout will enhance your overall well-being both mentally and physically. Make it fun by spicing up your workouts. Hire a personal trainer to set up a routine and push you beyond your normal limits. Think of training as a road to health and happiness. Exercise can improve your overall lifestyle, both physically and mentally.
Use the Seven Personal Training Rules of Fat Loss to get your training on the right track. Applying these principles will help to avoid a lot of wasted time and energy. Efficient and fun workouts, along with a combination of strength training and interval conditioning, will elevate your metabolism, burn fat, and get you into great shape.