Tag Archives: Exercise

3 Ways to Break the Fat Loss Plateau

3 Ways to Break the Fat Loss Plateau

Posted on 24. Jun, 2009 by .

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I want to pull my hair everytime I overhear someone say that people reach a fat loss plateau because they are gaining muscle and muscle weighs more than fat. While this is true – this little known fact has been misconstrued over and over again because people want to believe that they are not losing weight because they are gaining muscle.

First, I’m a firm advocate of taking your body fat measurements as an added assessment of your progress besides your weight. You can read more about this topic in this post –>
“3 Reasons Why the BMI is obsolete”. In short, measuring your body fat gives you a more accurate idea of whether your losing or gaining fat and losing or gaining muscle mass.

So, what can you do when you reach a fat loss plateau?

It all goes down to your calorie deficit. Despite all the hype on fat loss, new fitness equipments, diet pills, fad diets, etc., fat loss only occurs when you are spending more calories than you are consuming – a very basic principle yet it is also very powerful.

Below, you will read about 2 simple guidelines that would be perfect for people who have been doing structured workouts and who have a good idea of their daily calorie intake. If you’re not one of those people, don’t despair. Read all the way to the end and I have a few suggestions for you as well.

#1 Increase Your Physical Activity

For people who have a structured exercise routine, increasing physical activity just might be the answer to create a deeper calorie deficit. For instance, I do my kettlebell training 3 times a week and perform some type of light activity on my light days. In order to burn more calories than I am eating without changing my calorie intake, I can add 2 additional days in which I can do high intensity intervals on the treadmill or at the local park. I can do these intervals either on my days off or at the end of my kettlebell training. Either way, adding the intervals would not likely impair me for my actual workouts but, in the end, I will be burning more calories than usual.

Intervals Outdoors

Intervals Outdoors

Besides burning more calories, increasing and adding a different type of physical activity will add variety to the stress that is place on your body. By doing this, you are sort of putting your body into “shock” and giving it a nice surprise to boost your metabolism. Every now and then, your body needs a different type of activity because it is an efficient system that can adapt to stress especially if that stress is exercise.

If you decide to add your extra activity on your off days, you will also take advantage of the effect called, “Excess Post Oxygen Consumption or EPOC.” Basically, after the stress caused by any form of physical activity, EPOC is the body’s response to bring your body back to where is was before the exercise – this stage is called “homeostasis” which means everything is on the “same, stable condition.” In order to do this, your body needs to use your body’s “stored energy” to restore your normal bodily functions which will increase your metabolism and, ultimately, the calories you burn.

#2 Reduce Your Food Portions

So, nothing has changed in your diet. You’ve been keeping it “clean.” How come you’re still not losing weight? I would suggest doing #1 first and see what happens. If after you’ve increased your physical activity and you reached a plateau again or your body fat measurements are still not moving then, it’s time to look at your nutrition.

At some point, even people who have developed a healthy eating lifestyle or whose nutrition does not deviate much from healthy eating (i.e. eat the right foods, know how many calories are in each meal, eat a balanced diet of protein, carbs, and fat etc.) will reach a fat loss plateau.

One reason why this happens is: they are no longer in a calorie deficit. Ok, let me explain by giving an example from my own experience. When I initially calculated by calorie deficit at 130 lbs, I was eating 1,690 (130 lbs x 13 – for simplicity purposes) calories per day. But, once I lost some weight and I’m down to 117 lbs, this calorie deficit requirement also goes down to 1,521 (117 lbs x 13) calories per day. So, if I kept eating as if I was still 130 lbs, my calorie deficit obviously gets smaller to the point that I’m eating closer to maintenance.

So, if this sounds like your situation, it might be time to calculate your calorie deficit again. You can do that by going –> here.

If you’re not the calorie counting type, you can simply reduce your food portions. For example, if you’re used to eating 1 cup of brown rice, reduce it to 1/2 a cup. If you eat a small snack at night, it might be good to take that out for a little bit. These are simple ways to cut your calories without being too obsessive compulsive with calorie counting.

#3 Start a workout and nutrition log

This is the tip for those who don’t follow structured workouts or don’t have a good idea of their calorie intake. There’s really no easy way to put this – you’ve got to find a structured workout and at least have an idea about the calorie contents in food. These logs are a way for you to track your progress or drawbacks because if you have a record of what you did, you will be able to tweak certain parts of it in order to generate change (then, do #1 and #2).

Finding structured workouts is not difficult these days. Besides Turbulence Training, there are many web sites out there that give away free workouts that are effective for fat loss. So, there’s really no excuse to scratch your head at the gym anymore because you’re wondering which exercise to do next (been there, done that, never going back).

As far as nutrition goes, Sparkpeople.com is a great place to find healthy recipes, count your calories, and keep a log of your nutrition. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to count calories all the time (I don’t like to do it either) but it is the only way to develop a keen sense of the calorie contents in foods. Once you’re familiar with this, you won’t have to do it at all if you don’t want to.

Fat loss is not easy but it can be simple. There is a learning curve in this journey but if you educate yourself and follow the right advice, you will be ahead of the game and you will save yourself a lot of headache and frustrations in the long run. I always say that the “hard way” is usually not the easiest way but its probably the shortest, most effective way to getting results.

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Turbulence Training Workouts for Under $10

Posted on 28. Feb, 2009 by .

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Hi guys!

I’ve got great news!

Due to popular demand, world-famous trainer Craig Ballantyne, author
of the best-selling program, Turbulence Training, has FINALLY
unlocked the vault to ALL of his world-famous fat loss, muscle
building, and bodyweight workout programs.

And he’s practically giving them away for less than 10 bucks!

No matter what your goal, he has a program to help you. If you want
to do circuits, you’ll find it.

If you want to use kettlebells and bodyweight exercises, you can do
that too.

Want to workout in 10-12 minutes? There’s a Turbulence Training
program that does that!

But here’s my favorite program, it’s called “Buff Dudes, Hot Chicks” and you can get it for only $9.95.

Heck, that’s less than a day pass at most gyms!

Just go here and grab this program:

“Buff Dudes, Hot Chicks”

Want to choose your own workout? Visit the Turbulence Training workout index page by clicking here. There are literally too many workouts to choose from so you can find one that suits your needs an personality.

Let me know how it goes.

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How to Choose Workout Programs

Posted on 01. Feb, 2009 by .

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Last Thursday, I did my very last workout for my current Turbulence Training (TT) workout, “Fusion for Fat Loss.” If you are not familiar with Craig Ballantyne’s (CB) TT principles, he recommends that people should change workout programs every four weeks. This is a necessary step because the human body adapts to whatever stress we put it against such as exercise, eating a reduced calorie diet, etc. After this adaptation happens, our bodies would not respond as well to the same stimulation (e.g. same types and quantity of exercises). But, four weeks is a long enough period that our body still gets enough stimulation from the exercises but it is not too long that our body will completely get used to it.

So, after that boring but much needed bit of information, I am about to tell you about my quest in choosing my new workout program for the next four weeks. At some point, I was confused as to which program I should be doing because I wanted to gain some muscle but I still had some fat that I wanted to get rid of (and the fact that there are just too many TT workout programs available to Platinum members doesn’t help…lol). Basically, losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time is possible but one scenario would be more favored than the other. For instance, if I focused on losing fat (especially my belly fat), I would lose may be 3 pounds of body fat and only gain 1 pound of muscle in four weeks if I choose the right program and follow the proper diet. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. But, as a person who is closer to my body fat percentage goal, some parts of my body are skinnier compared to others and quite frankly, I don’t want to look anorexic. Thus, my need for more muscle.

I have decided that I am still going to work on reaching my goal of 17-18% body fat which means that I am still going to focus on the fat loss side of the equation. Now, I just have to be conservative with everything that I do from here so that I get to keep whatever muscle I have now and possibly gain a little bit during the next month.

When I chose my workout program, I carefully looked at the number of repetitions per exercise and the types of muscles each exercise will hit. For instance, I am looking for 8 repetitions for one exercise and then as many as 12 repetitions for another because muscle hypertrophy (or growth) is most efficient at the 8-12 (sometimes more) repetition range based on the current concensus in the fitness industry. At the same time, I look for exercises that will target some of my skinnier areas such as my arms where I need more muscle. Having this in mind, I look for a program with arm exercises but also with enough exercises that will give me a full body workout.

After much deliberation, I decided to go for the newest Turbulence Training workout, “Buff Dudes, Hot Chicks.” Yes, it sounds cheesy but is sure looks tough. Just to give you an idea, here is the workout that I am doing tomorrow.

Superset #1
1A) DB Walking Lunge – 8 reps (2-0-1)
• No rest.
1B) Stability Ball Ab Pike – 10 reps (2-0-1)
• Rest 1 minute before repeating 2 more times for a total of 3 supersets.

Superset #2
2A) DB Bulgarian Split Squat – 12 reps (2-0-1)
• No rest.
2B) 1-Leg Stability Ball Leg Curl – 8 reps per side (1-0-1)
• Rest 1 minute before repeating 2 more times for a total of 3 supersets.

Superset #3
3A) DB 1-Leg Calf Raise – 10 reps per side (2-0-1)
• No rest.
3B) Plank with Arms on Ball – 30 second hold
• Rest 30 seconds before repeating 2 more times for a total of 3 supersets.

Superset #4

4A) Stability Ball Rollout – 8 repetitions (3-0-2)
• No rest
4B) X-Body Mountain Climber – 12 reps per side (1-0-1)
• Rest 1 minute and repeat 2 more times for a total of 3 supersets.

10-Minute High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Workout

Unlike most TT workouts, this program comes with an additional superset compare to the traditional TT workouts with only 3 supersets. Well ok, CB has a note that Superset #4 is optional but I just might do it too! But, CB also recommends to take things easy during the first week on any workout program. So, I plan to only perform each superset twice for the coming week.

Another feature of this workout is the shorter HIIT session. This means that I am minimizing the cardio that I am doing and focusing more on strength training which works best for my goals. This way, most of my calories will be spent during my strength training sessions and hopefully build more muscle afterwards provided that I take in enough protein in my diet to support muscle repair and growth.

So then, I have a question for the people who happen to read this post, do you follow a specific workout program? If so, what factors do you consider when choosing one? If you aren’t working out yet, read this article from Krista at stumptuous.com for some motivation. Also, please feel free to comment or give me feedback. I’d love to hear from you.

Up next, I am going to review my goals that I wrote down 4 weeks ago. Stay tuned to find out how I did. Until then, good luck with everyone’s journey!

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How to Motivate Yourself to go to the Gym

Posted on 10. Jan, 2009 by .

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It is the cold season once again and when sickness hits you, you’re more likely to miss workouts. While I was on the verge of getting a cough and cold on top of an upset stomach on Wednesday, I decided to skip my usual Thursday workout. In this case, I didn’t feel bad about missing my gym workout because I knew that my body needed some rest to recuperate so that it does not give in to sickness.

Missing that workout meant one thing for me, I would have to make it up somehow within this week. So, today I got my butt to the gym and hammered the workout like there’s no tomorrow.  It hasn’t been that difficult for me (lately) to motivate myself to go to the gym because I’ve gotten used to doing it (although I hate going to the gym on Fridays – it’s the end of the week and all I want to do is relax).  But, when I first started out, it was so tough to do that. I usually end up missing 1-2 workouts a week which pretty much as good as not going.

So, tonight I look back at my train of thought when I try to motivate myself to go to the gym.

Visualization

You’ve probably heard of this strategy over and over again but it’s a strategy worth mentioning.  I visualize myself having the abs that I’ve always wanted.  Specifically, I want some abs that I wouldn’t mind showing off in a nice bikini while vacationing somewhere exotic.  I don’t want six-pack abs.  I’m ok with a little pouch in my lower abs just not a balloon!  Being specific really helps out a lot here because it makes the image more clear in your head which makes you want it even more.

Accountability

Before I went to bed yesterday, I wrote in my online workout log in the TT Members Forumthat I was going to make up for my workout tonight. Knowing in the back of my mind that I have people to be accountable to and are waiting for me to deliver my promises really does make me want to fulfill this particular promise.  The same goes for nutrition as well but that is a totally different story which will require a LOT more posts.

One Workout at a Time

This is a big motivator for me.  My mindset right now is this: each workout that I perform leads me closer to my goals, help me burn more fat, and makes me stronger.  On the other hand, each workout that I miss sets me back.  Now, if you have a deadline such as a transformation contest or maybe you set one for yourself, time is ticking!  Another reason may be that you want to wear that smaller size bikini or a hot looking wet suit by summer. Whatever your reason is, a deadline helps a lot. 

Post-workout Shake

Many scientific studies have proven that eating/drinking foods with a combination of carbohydrates and protein help your body recover from an intense workout especially if they’re consumed at 2-3 hours after it.  So, I make myself a nice strawberry, banana, and chocolate protein powder smoothie (ala Jamba Juice) which I look forward to every now and then.  Even a cup of low-fat chocolate milk is a satisfying reward after a nice gym session. Be creative by making a smoothie concoction of your own with your favorite fruits and protein powder. The possibilities are endless!

I can tell you many other things that I use to motivate myself to go to the gym but the point is to find a process that works for you.  While some people can wake up one day and decide that they’re not going to miss one workout for the next 3 months, most people (like me) had to go through a long process of developing these mindsets.  It isn’t impossible but it definitely is not easy.

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