July 24, 2017
So, you want to get rid of that body fat the one that’s been sitting there for as long as you can remember. Whether its around your arms, your legs or the worst of them all, that’s right belly fat. The one place we all wish to target first if we had the option but unfortunately fat loss doesn’t work like that. When we lose weight, we don’t lose it in one spot, we lose it all over some places more than others. The same goes for when we gain weight, we gain it all over as a unit regardless of whether you believe you gain it in just your stomach first.
You may find yourself going to the gym anywhere from 3-5 days a week. Trying your very best to lose weight and I know it gets frustrating g to put in all that hard work and see no results. It can drive you crazy or to the point where you say, “I’m done, I give up” we’ve all been there. Want to know what makes it worse? These new popular diets and easy fixes that guarantee outrageous results like 30 lbs. in a week or eat whatever you want and still lose weight. Which I must say to some degree might work for a while but in the end, you’ll probably gain all that weight right back maybe more!
Now if you’re reading this article you probably read a few just like it and or just want to burn fat and build muscle maybe there’s something inside you hoping that someone just tells the truth for once and give you the secret to achieving your goals. Well you’ve come to the right place.
In this article I’m going to explain everything from what body fat is? How to burn it off? The best way to build muscle and what your nutrition should consist of. So, no gimmicks no lies and I’m sorry to tell you that it won’t happen in 30 days but I can say with confidence that if you work hard, stay consistent and practice proper nutrition the benefits are extremely rewarding.
Let’s begin, so what is body fat? It’s important to know this because it’s something everyone in the world is constantly trying to either get rid of your keep off. Body fat is basically store energy that your body accumulates over time with the food that you ate. As you may or may not already know when we eat food, base off the state our bodies are in we either store it for fuel to have later when needed or it gets used immediately as our energy source. For example, when we first wake up in the morning and have breakfast our bodies uses the energy from the food to fuel us.
Now you may ask how do we know that it’s not being stored? Well because during rest we obviously aren’t eating our bodies are in a fasted state meaning no food. After a few hours of not eating while at rest which should be 7-8 hours a night our bodies has used up all the energy source we got from our last meal maybe even before you went to sleep depending on when you had your last meal and the portion of it. Now that it’s been a few hours your body knows that upon rising labor work will be done and for that reason along with being in a fasted state it takes that first meal and supplies you with energy to kick start the day. It’s just that simple.
Time for the real question, how to burn it off?
Well as a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and from my own digging and learning I found a few different ways to target the endless fight vs body fat. You’ve probably heard the saying there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Well the same goes for burning fat. Some people count calories, some just start exercising to expend energy (which is what body fat is, stored energy that hasn’t been use yet) and others just changed their diet. Now in my opinion the proper way is all three.
Now you’re probably saying “really Chris”?
Yup really and I’ll explain why. If your someone whose just starting off you should count calories just to be aware of the amount you consume daily, whenever I come across a new client I always ask “how many calories do you consume daily”? And the answer is always “I don’t know” sometimes not even an estimate. Knowing the number of calories, you consume can help you along the way. Let’s say you’re a female who consumes 2,200 calories a day and you want to lose weight. In order for you to do so you will need to put your body in a calorie deficit which means consuming less calories than your daily intake. Having an intake of 2,200 calories if 2,200 is your maintenance (maintenance meaning your borderline between losing and gaining) will keep you where you are (no weight gain and no weight loss) but if you begin to decrease calories anywhere from 250-300 which is what I normally recommend then you will begin to lose weight. Now you can keep decreasing calories or expand more energy by working out because if your anything like me than you love to eat so expanding more energy is probably your best bet because you don’t want to go too low in calories and who knows how low you’ll have to go before hitting your goal. That is why I feel that counting calories as well as expanding energy are two very important methods. Counting so that you are aware of your daily intake and expanding so that you don’t have to go too low.
Obviously, exercises are important so you should already aim for the expanding more energy option also when you engage in physical activity whether its bike riding, dancing, weight training, hiking and or running you will find that your hungry a lot more of the time and because of your physical activity you will be able and need to eat more to sustain your body with the right amount of macro and micro nutrients. As for the exercising, we all know that the benefits are endless other than decreasing body fat. You strengthen your bones, increase your good cholesterol and decrease your bad (hdl and ldl) your heart pumps at a more regular speed/rate. You increase the muscle mass on your body, your cardiorespiratory system improves, you have more energy and just overall feel better because your body is getting exactly what it needs. Remember the human body does not want nor need to be sedentary.
On to the hard part the one we all have trouble with, nutrition. Changing your diet is necessary. You must understand that you must assist a good training program with good nutrition. It is a waste to work hard in the gym just to throw it all away within a few hours of leaving the gym. Listen I get it certain unhealthy food taste good we crave it but think about it like this, that taste comes with a price and doesn’t last if the body fat that is helping you put on. Your diet should consist of fruits but not too much because they contain fructose which is sugar found in fruits and sugar can pack on the pounds but they contain nutrients that obviously your body needs. You also want good sources of protein, carbs and fats.
Good sources of protein are lean chicken (not baked or fried) turkey, salmon, eggs, Greek yogurt, tuna, white fish and cottage cheeses also a protein shake won’t hurt.
Good sources of carbs are sweet potato, brown rice, rolled oats, beans, quinoa, apples, buckwheat, and whole grain bread.
Good sources of fats are almonds, coconut oil, avocados, flax seeds, chia seeds, pecans, olive oil, and peanut butter.
Every time I accept a new client I always have them make a food list of everything they eat so for one week they must write down everything they consume whether good or bad and they must be honest about it because if not they’re only hurting their selves. Once that week is over we go over the list and here and there I catch one of them saying “oh my gosh, no wonder why I’m fat” now even through I don’t like the word fat because it tears people down, they are right. Keep in mind every macro nutrition is important to some degree fat may get thrown off but still beneficial. Also, when it comes to protein its job is not to fuel the body like carbs do, protein contains amino acids which is designed to help build and repair the muscle cells.
Since we covered what body fat is, how to burn it through calories reduction and the significance of good nutrition whether your goal is weight loss or building muscle. Let’s talk about what you should incorporate into your training program. Every time you step into a gym you can bet anything that you’ll find a good number of people on a treadmill. They come in and either walk, jog or run on a treadmill for hours and believe that, that’s the best way to lose weight some even do it every day then go home and not eat. Now even though it’s not a fan of the treadmill I do believe that they are beneficial for your health obviously but people get thrown off track focusing on it. The best way to burn fat and build muscle is with lifting weights or any form of resistance training either weights, body weight, resistance bands or strength machines. I believe that its very effective for someone looking to lose weight to add about 3-4 days of weight lifting with 1-2 days of cardio whether you’re outside running or jogging on a cardio machine. Now I know your probably saying “but Chris you don’t like the treadmill” and yes, your right only because I believe people focus on them a bit too much and because I’m a firm believer that the stair master is a way better and more effective machine. Don’t think so? If you haven’t already try going on a stair master for 10 minutes vs a treadmill for 10 minutes with the same intensity chances are you’ll step off that stair master looking like you just hop out the shower.
Now on to my favorite part weight lifting, let me start by saying this “to all my female readers, weight lifting will not make you bulky or look like a man” so don’t be afraid to pick up a pair of dumbbells and perform a few reps. When beginning a weight training program you’ll want to focus on form, I can’t stress how important it is. The last thing you want is to be that guy or girl who can’t curl or squat properly and you’ll want to reduce the risk of injury at all cost. When I hear of weightlifting I can’t help but think of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bodybuilders are the most muscular people on the planet with the least amount of fat, when you think of almost everyone’s goal it’s kind of that of a bodybuilder to burn fat to the best degree possibly and build muscle to whichever point they feel necessary now even though most bodybuilders may aim to add on as much muscle mass as humanly possible you can still benefit from a training program like one just without the extreme amount of weight they use. So, when designing a weight lifting program it would be best to split the muscles of the body by day of the week. Give any were from 2-3 muscles to a day of the week and train them with as much intensity as you
Can tolerate. For example, when I train I normally pair up back and biceps together, chest and triceps, quad with hamstring and glutes and finish off abs, delts and calves. Over time I always switch up the muscles and the exercises that I use so that my body doesn’t adapt to my program and you may find it beneficial as well, also targeting the muscles from different angles is important. If you’re just beginning keep the weight lite and the rep range from 10-12 with 2 sets and give about 2 different exercises for each muscle that you train that day. Herse another important tip, you don’t want to spend all day in the gym so hit the muscles hard and get out, you don’t need to spend hours in the gym to build. What you’ll want to aim for is a good pump (when the muscles being train becomes filled with so much blood that it appears swollen like your about to burst) and really work the muscles fibers. Whenever we workout we create micro tears within our muscle fibers and after training the body is in a recovery state where it builds and repair the muscles cells that’s why protein is so important after weight training because the amino acids within protein help do just that. It is the building block of muscles and we want to supply our bodies with enough to complete the process. Now you’re probably wondering “well how much protein do I need a day Chris”? Its recommended to have as much grams as lean muscle your body holds and most people never really do the calculations so having as much as your body weight normally does the trick. Every month you should be able to increase the amount your lifting from 5-10 pounds of additional weight so if you were doing bicep curls with 10lbs after a month of consistently doing them you should be able to perform a few reps with 15lbs.
The last topic to discuss is exercises for weight training now keep in mind if you don’t like an exercise you clearly don’t have to do it but just make sure you give it a try before you do so. I recommend using strength machines before moving on to free weights if you aren’t comfortable and or haven’t use them before. You might need or want someone to tell you if your form is good so whether it’s a personal trainer, friend, family member or just someone at the gym just make sure their knowledgeable. If your scared, nervous or just doesn’t have anyone to ask, watching videos before a attempting an exercise just maybe what you need. These are a list of exercises that you can do to target a muscle and or muscle group, keep in mind some exercises are compound movements while others are isolated movements. When training biceps you can do bicep curls, hammer curls and overhand/reverse biceps curls with a pair of dumbbells, barbells ,bands or any type of resistance. Back exercises included seated rows either on a strength machine or cable machine , you can also perform them bent over with a pair of dumbbells and or barbell. Back fly’s bent over or with a strength machine, lat pulldowns which targets the latissimus dorsa muscle. Pulls/chain ups but you’ll need to build enough strength to be able to lift your body weight. Deadlifts is another but this is an advance movement and you may need someone to help you progress this movement it will target your erector spinae (which is your lower back) and this is also a great exercise for legs think of it as another variation to squats. When it comes to chest you may want to incorporate chest press, (with dumbbells) bench press (with a barbell and weighted plates) this is another movement that you should have someone monitor maybe even perform the exercises with just the bar first. Chest fly’s with dumbbells are the machine. Decline and incline bench press, pushups are better for beginners to target the chest. When training triceps you can incorporate a few chest exercises like chest press and
Bench press but to isolate the muscle you can perform triceps kickbacks, dips on a flat stable surface like a bench, triceps pushdowns and overhead triceps extensions. Now when it comes to legs squats are amazing and probably the most favorite for leg day. You can perform them with your feet at different angles to target certain parts of your legs but just ensure that you keep your knees behind and or aligned with your toes and remember to stick your glutes outward as if you were about to sit in a chair, also I find it beneficial to press not too much but a little closer to your heels and have good proper footwear because most shoes will cause you to lift your heels slightly off the ground and that will increase the risk of injury and just may push your knees out past your toes. You may see people perform squat barefoot or with toe shoes but you don’t have to do that just make sure you have a pair of flat shoes. When targeting quads, you can incorporate wall sits which is great for a beginner new to exercise, strength machines like legs extensions, hack squats and the leg press machine, when it comes to the leg press machine it’s another variation of squats and target the quads, hamstring and glutes, this is considered a compound movement. Now on to hamstrings, you can use some of the different squat varieties to incorporate but if you wanted to isolate hamstrings you can perform laying leg curls on a strength machine and seated leg curls on a strength machine basically any version of them long as you have resistance, and don’t forget about those deadlifts which should be monitored. Glutes exercises fall under the same list for some quads and hamstrings exercises but once again if your aiming to target them the hip adductor machine is great as well as the hip abductors to focus on the inner portion of the legs and thighs.
Now that you have a list of exercises your one step closer to getting started please note that the exercises that I have listed are not all the options you have, there are many that you can choose from to incorporate into your training program. For beginners or someone just getting back into fitness understand that you will be sore more than like if not the next day the following and that is normally. Whenever I train a new client a few always seem to think that their injured when it’s just soreness, don’t worry eventually you begin to know the difference. It’s important to give yourself a rest between days, going right back to training a muscle the next day might work for someone advance but definitely not for a beginner but over time you’ll begin to know your body and its limit. Now that you’re a bit more knowledgeable on the topic you should be a bit better along your journey on burning fat and building muscle.