One of the most searched topics on google is either weight loss or fat loss. Today its seems being heathy and fit are on a lot of people's minds, especially with the rise of obesity in the United States. You can't even go through McDonald's without seeing a “fit” meal on their menu. The main stream media has their toes in the fitness realm big time, why is that? It SELLS! Fitness is the hot topic as of late. People want to know the fastest and easiest way to get healthy and lose the extra pounds they have put on over the years. With this there is a lot of miss leading information on the subject out there, let’s dispel some of these myths below.
This trend seems to be one of the most popular and commonly used methods. While this may seem effective at first it will slowly turn to bite you in the end. The body has an amount of calories it needs to survive, this number is our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This is the number of calories you need to ingest to just survive laying in a bed for 24 hours not moving. However, we usually don't tend to do that. We move, work, and have things to do day-to-day. All of this requires even more energy to survive and function. The same is true when we exercise, the body is smart, if it doesn’t get enough energy (calories) it tends to store any energy it gets as body fat because it is going to make sure it has sufficient energy to survive. Since we are more active we need even more energy to make sure we can keep our bodies main systems functioning and extra fuel to get us through the workouts and recover. The best way to manage your calories in a weight loss phase is to only cut your daily required calories by around 300-500 calories. This will allow you enough calories to drop about a pound a week just by eating less plus whatever you can burn off with activity.
The body operates on energy (calories). It is very important to have a balanced diet not just in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) but also macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates). For some reason the media and countless online sources claim that low carbohydrate diets are the way to go. While there is some truth to this statement it is also a double edge sword. The main source of fuel for the body is carbohydrates so why does it make sense to limit them when you are trying to lose weight? Of the studies carried out on low carbohydrate diets and fat loss the determining factor was total calorie restriction that led to weight loss, not the reduction in the carbohydrates. Now that being said carb cycling is a great way to preserve your hard-earned muscle mass as this gives more fuel during weight training when you need it, and less when you don’t. Suggested cycle would be high carbs on lifting days and about half on cardio/rest only days.
Priority focus for anyone trying to lose weight or body fat should be aimed at trying to increase lean body mass. This means focus on building good quality muscle to help boost overall metabolism and reshape the body. The best way to go about this is sticking around the 6-8 or even 8-12 rep range. This is the hypertrophy and strength training which stimulates type 2 muscle fibers. Type 2 muscle fibers have the greatest capacity to grow at a faster rate than the type 1 fibers which are more resilient to growth and are more often built for endurance than size. As stated above having more muscle mass will increase your metabolism and allow you to burn more calories when you aren’t even moving, now who wouldn’t love that?
For some reason, we have turned to long steady state cardio for weight loss over High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). The concept behind HIIT Training is very simple, exercise as hard as you can for a short period of time (i.e. a few Seconds/Minutes). Recover just long enough to get your breath back, then Repeat. This process spikes your metabolism, burns fat, and builds muscle quickly. The best part of this form of training is you continue to reap the benefits even after the exercise has finished. Unlike those boring and prolonged treadmill sessions, HIIT training burns calories both during the workout, and after the workout, up to 24 hours after!