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Join a Gym & Get a Professionally Designed Program

Join a Gym & Get a Professionally Designed ProgramThis article will be short because this advice is so absolute that I don’t need to go on and on about it.

In fact, I’m not passing-the-buck here.

Joining a gym and getting an exercise program for fat loss and toning is a great idea because the program can be customized specifically for you.

Nowadays, most gym instructors are highly qualified and able to give very good advice and solid recommendations for any body type to achieve the goals you’re after.

I’m going to provide you with a good foundation in this book but unfortunately I’m not able to visit you and design a program specifically for your body and goals.

By-the-way: during the early 1990s I was a gym instructor for several years and in the second half of the 1990s I completed a 4-year bachelors degree which covered human anatomy, bio-mechanics, bio-physiology, neuro-physiology and exercise rehab so I’m more than qualified to give advice.

GYM TIP: be sure you make it clear to the instructor you want to achieve your fat loss mostly through high intensity resistance training (HIRT) and not aerobic exercise!

Again, join a gym and enroll in a professionally-designed exercise program. It will be the best decision you’ve ever made!

The Efficiency Hierarchy of Training

The Efficiency Hierarchy of TrainingIn this article we will simply list the types of training in terms of efficiency:

1. High Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT)

We already discussed above HIRT is the king of fat loss exercises

2. High Intensity Resistance Interval Training (HIRIT)

Same as HIRT except for these differences:

  • Lighter weights are used than in HIRT
  • Do one set of one exercise using fast movement and high repetitions for short time frame (eg. 45-60 seconds) then move to the next exercise
  • Smaller rest intervals between sets of 30 seconds

HIRIT burns a lot of calories during a workout and increases your EPOC but is less effective than HIRIT in increasing your BMR.

If you’ve ever done circuit training in a gym using machines and a timer then you’ve done HIRIT.

3. High Intensity Aerobic Interval Training (HIAIT)

Similar to HIIT except instead of anaerobic exercises you do aerobic exercises like:

  • Rowing
  • Running sprints
  • Swimming sprints
  • Stairmaster

Great for burning calories during your workout and increases your EPOC but not very effective at increasing BMR.

4. High Intensity Aerobic Training (HIAT)

HIAT is the type of exercise most of us loathe.

It’s long duration, spirit breaking, sweat-pumping aerobic exercise like jogging for 45 minutes, rowing non-stop for an hour or cycling non-stop for 2 hours.

Burns plenty of calories during the exercise but has little impact on EPOC and almost zero effect on BMR.

5. Low Intensity Aerobic Training (LIAT)

LIAT is a stroll through the park or along the beach.

The contribution to fat loss is almost nothing but you still reap the other benefits of exercise like improved heart function and improved mood.

Does Aerobic Exercise Really Work?

Does Aerobic Exercise Really WorkThe answer is, aerobic exercise is almost useless as a weight loss solution.

For many years we were told aerobic exercise is the key to weight loss but countless studies over the past 25 years have shown it’s not as effective as previously believed.

In fact, research has shown that aerobic exercise combined with a calorie restriction diet is only marginally more effective than a diet by itself. The slim improvement in results is definitely not worth the many hours of exertion if fat loss is your goal.

SIDE NOTE: Cardiovascular fitness is extremely important, meaning aerobic exercise is very beneficial to your health, so I’m definitely not saying you shouldn’t do it. I do cardio, but mostly for the benefit of improved cardiovascular fitness, not fat loss.

One hour on a treadmill will only burn about as many calories as you find in a couple pieces of fruit, which isn’t very much.

Pundits of aerobic exercise for weight loss say the real benefit comes from a raised BMR. That is, throughout the day and night your body burns more calories because your metabolism is running faster but studies have shown this also to be untrue.

Even after a 6 month program of aerobic exercise, subjects in one particular study were shown to have no increase in resting metabolic rate (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1999).

Your EPOC from aerobic exercise is also substantially lower than for resistance exercise.

Relying solely on cardio training for fat loss, without including some resistance training can result in fat loss AND muscle loss. So your body composition (ratio of fat to muscle) may remain unchanged.

If you combine aerobic exercise with calorie restriction dieting without including some resistance training you will lose even more muscle mass.

So you can see, the classic program of:

  • Aerobic exercise and
  • Calorie restriction

…is a big no-no and a recipe for very unsatisfactory results despite all your hard work.

Why Resistance Training is Best for Weight Loss

Although there is conflicting research and opinions, it is generally accepted that muscle burns a lot of calories. Anywhere from 10 to 35 calories per kilogram of skeletal muscle (about 5 to 16 calories per pound) per day depending on whose research you go by.

So 2 extra kilograms of muscle mass means you burn up to an extra 2100 calories in a month. That’s equivalent to about half a pound of fat, just from an increased BMR. Might not sound like much, but that ½ pound of fat loss is not directly from exercise, instead it’s like bonus fat loss that is occurring 24/7 even while you sleep.

And of course the calories expended during a resistance training session and in the hours following as your body recovers (EPOC) equals even more calories.

But it gets even better…

Resistance training changes your body composition in a positive direction. Your body fat percentage will decrease, even if you have not lost any fat simply because you have more muscle mass. Much more likely however, you’ll build muscle AND lose fat simultaneously as a direct and indirect result of resistance training.

And there’s still more!..

Muscle stores glycogen (converted in the liver from glucose). The more glycogen you are able to store in your liver and muscle cells, the less glucose that will be converted to fat for storage as body fat.

In short, if you want to lose fat you need to build muscle.

High Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT): The King of Fat Loss Exercises

High Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT) has no equal when it comes to fat loss because:

  • A tremendous amount of calories are burned during a workout
  • EPOC can last for up to 38 hours, longer than any other type of exercise
  • Increases your BMR more than any other type of exercise
  • Decreases your body fat percentage more than any other type of exercise

What is HIRT Exactly?

HIRT uses anaerobic exercises (like lifting weights) with these simple characteristics:

  • You keep doing repetitions of the exercise until your muscles “burn” and you can’t do another one
  • You adjust the weight so you can only perform 8-12 repetitions
    • More than 12 and it starts becoming more of an endurance exercise
    • Less than 8 and the blood flow to the muscle has not been maximized
  • 2-4 sets per exercise before moving to the next exercise
  • 2 minute rest between sets
  • Each workout includes large muscle groups

So keep that in mind: Aerobic exercise is NOT as effective as Resistance training!

Calorie Burning and Metabolic Rates

If you are exercising for fat loss then the exercise you choose should do these 3 things:

  1. Burn calories during exercise
  2. Burn calories in the short-term post exercise (elevate your EPOC)
  3. Burn calories in the long-term post exercise (elevate your BMR)

Calorie Burning and Metabolic RatesMore on which type of exercise achieves all this in a moment, but first…

Why is EPOC Important for Fat Loss?

EPOC stands for Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption. In short, a higher EPOC means more fat loss. It is a measurable increase in oxygen intake following strenuous exercise, which studies have shown can last up to 38 hours post workout (Schuenke MD, Mikat RP, McBride JM, European Journal of Applied Physiology in March 2002).

During recovery, excess oxygen is used in the processes that restore your body to a resting state and adapt it to the activity you just performed. These processes include: balancing your hormones, replenishing your body’s fuel stores, repairing cells and muscle growth.

Due to the many processes which result in EPOC, there is a resultant elevation in fuel consumption. Fat is broken down and free fatty acids (FFA) are released into the blood as a direct result of exercise. During recovery, the FFAs are oxidized as a fuel source and the unused FFA’s are converted back into fat stores, a process which also consumes calories.

What is BMR & Why Do I Want to Increase It?

BMR stands for Basal Metabolic Rate. In short, a higher BMR means more fat loss.

It is the amount of energy your body consumes while at rest in normal climactic conditions (not super hot or cold). ‘At rest’ means your body literally is doing nothing, not even digesting food, therefore it cannot be reliably measured until 12 hours after you last meal. The higher your BMR the more calories you burn at all times of the day, therefore raising your BMR should be a goal of your fat loss program.

For many years it was believed aerobic exercise increases BMR but numerous studies from the past 25 years have shown that aerobic exercise has no impact at all.

However, resistance exercise (weight lifting) does increase BMR via increased energy consumption from increased muscle mass.

Why You Must Exercise

14 Benefits of Exercise

Why You Must ExerciseI hope I’m preaching-to-the-choir when I tell you exercise is a MUST.

If you’re already convinced of the merits of exercise then skip ahead to the next blue heading, otherwise if you’re still unsure exercise is worth your time then read these scientifically proven benefits of exercise and how they relate to losing fat.

Exercise Helps You Lose Fat

Biochemistry 101: When you exercise you burn calories. And the more intense the exercise, the more calories you burn. Not just during, but after the exercise too.

The wonderful thing about losing weight is, the more weight you lose the easier it is to lose weight. We’ve already discovered in this book that by getting your weight under control, the many delicate systems at work in your body begin to function properly and simply due to this fact, maintaining your weight becomes much, much easier.

And exercise does not have to come solely from time specifically designated for exercise.

  • How about walking to the corner shop instead of driving
  • Or taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Or going for a walk instead of channel surfing for 20-minutes when there’s nothing to watch on TV? It all adds up.

Exercise Improves Your Mood

Exercise is known stimulate the release of brain chemicals like serotonin that increase feelings of happiness and calmness.

Knowing this it’s not surprising to hear exercise has also been shown to prevent and help-recovery from depression.

Compound these effects with an improved physical appearance and you have all the ingredients of Mind (self-image) and Spirit (self-esteem) for very successful weight loss when combined with proper diet.

Exercise Prevents Disease

Diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol… you name it, there are very few diseases and health issues of the human body that are not prevented or improved with regular exercise.

Exercise Makes You More Energetic

Exercise improves your energy levels for a myriad of reasons including:

  • Increased oxygenation of your blood
  • Increased blood flow carrying oxygen and nutrients to your body cells
  • Improved cardio-vascular function
  • Increased number of mitochondria (energy making machine) in your muscle cells and much more.

So “I’m too tired to exercise” is a lame excuse. Sure it may be a little tough the first few times but your body will physiologically adapt and you will very literally have increased energy availability.

Personally I notice I begin feeling tired if I MISS workouts.

Bottom line is, increased energy levels means you have a faster metabolism and your body is burning more calories à result: fat loss!

TIP: some exercises are much better than others, more on that soon.

Exercise Improves Sleep Quality and Duration

Exercise has been long prescribed as a very effective tool to overcome insomnia and other sleeping disorders.

Not only does it help reduce stress, restlessness and nervousness, it also causes a higher body temperature peak. The importance of a higher peak is when you get into bed, your body temp will fall deeper and faster than if you hadn’t exercised….

Bottom line is you sleep deeper with fewer interruptions.

But don’t exercise too close to bed time because it takes several hours for your body temp to come down far enough for a good night’s rest.

The great thing about consistent good sleep is fat loss becomes much easier. For me personally, improving my sleep patterns and getting more rest was one of the most powerful things I did to get rid of my fat.

Even More Benefits

I could go on and on about the benefits of exercise and how they directly or indirectly lead to fat loss, but I think you get the picture, I’ll list a few more benefits of exercise quickly which specifically improve your appearance:

  • Improved muscle tone
  • Improved posture
  • Improved flexibility
  • Improved complexion
  • Improved skin tone
  • Reduced varicose veins
  • Increased muscle mass
  • Improved body composition (muscle to fat ratio)
  • Reduced body measurements
  • And more!

With all these wonderful benefits of exercise, do you really need any more convincing to do it? If you want to lose weight, exercise is needed, and that’s all she wrote.

The Benefits Of Muscle Along With Weight Loss

The Benefits Of Muscle Along With Weight LossHopefully, I don’t have to convince you of the benefits of exercise. But if you’re a woman, maybe you have concerns about building muscle or becoming muscle bound.

Let me put your fears at ease by telling you it is extremely difficult and unlikely a woman can become muscle-bound without steroid abuse because your body simply does not produce enough androgenic hormones like testosterone.

And without them, muscle tissue cannot grow to any significant extent. But it’s not to say you can’t grow a little muscle. Not only is a bit of muscle important, I think it’s also sexy!

By exercising your muscles, you tighten them. Just like tighter clothes make you look slimmer, tighter muscles have the same effect.

The volume and total surface area of your body will decrease even if you have not lost any weight because in a way, you’ve shrunk. But the magic of muscle doesn’t end there.

The most beneficial reason for increasing your muscle mass is because muscle is energy hungry in 2 different ways:

  • Increased muscle uses up your glucose stores more rapidly through increased energy expenditure
  • Muscle can store glucose in the form of glycogen, which would otherwise have been stored as fat

To make a long story short:

Muscle makes you lose fat!

The more muscle you have, the more fat you lose because of them. So don’t shy away from muscle. A few will look great on you!