Tag Archives: interval training

Your Fat Loss Plan for the New Year

Your Fat Loss Plan for the New Year

Posted on 29. Dec, 2009 by .

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Well, Christmas is over and no doubt you’ve probably gained a few happy pounds. I’m going to be honest with you…I did let my hair down during the holidays because it is a time of relaxing, having fun with the family, and eating good food. The only workout that I did was trying out my sister’s Wii Fit balance board which was a lof of fun. My mom even commented that I must be “off the diet” (no matter how many times I tell her that I’m not on any kind of diet – just a healthy lifestyle) because I’ve been requesting a lot of her great dishes. So, yes, I enjoyed a lot of feel good foods and then some more. This is also the reason why I didn’t write a “holiday fitness plan” article because I knew that no matter how many healthy eating articles you read over the holidays, you are bound to enjoy the holiday foods anyway – which you should because it does come around only once a year.

Alas, there’s no such thing as eating under a calorie deficit during the holidays. But, since the new year is just around the corner, I thought it would be great to write about how you can get back on track.

There’s no doubt that you will be plagued with many advertisements for diet pills, weight loss supplements, and useless fitness equipments. So, you should be very critical of what you see, read or hear on t.v., newspapers/magazines, radio, and other forms of media. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’re probably a lot of steps ahead of the crowd anyway.

So, what’s your best fitness plan for the new year? My best advice to stick to the basics – the tried and true – the only way to lose the fat and win the battle of the bulge => eat less and exercise more.

Are you disappointed that I don’t have some crazy new idea for your fitness plan? Well, I’m not so much and this is why:

The Calorie Deficit

Having a calorie deficit is probably the most important factor when you’re trying to lose weight. You can workout as much as you want and eat the healthiest foods but if you are still eating way more than you’re supposed to eat, you will not lose weight. Violate this rule and your results will come to a screeching halt.

This should be good news to you because with all the ads for weight loss nowadays, this simplifies things a lot. When in doubt, go back to basics. Having a calorie deficit is the most basic rule out there but it works! The only way to accomplish this is to eat less and move your body more often. No weight loss supplement or “special” fitness equipment can give you the results that you’re looking for. Once you realize that you have to put in the hard work and not rely on magic pills, you will see results!

I am also not saying that having a calorie deficit is the be all and and all of fat loss. There are definitely other factors that come into play when you’re trying to lose weight but, most of the time, people then to lose sight of this rule because they’re always looking for a better pill or the next great fitness equipment. *Warning: rant coming…we can blame our age, our metabolism, our family, our stressful jobs, etc. but in the end, we usually don’t get results because we eat too much or not workout hard enough. *end of rant

Having said that, you still have to have a plan. So, here are a few steps to help you get started on the new year if you’re a complete newbie or just need a reminder of the basics:

  • Calculate your calorie deficit. If you don’t know it, you can read this article and get the Calorie Deficit Calculator
  • Write down short-term and long-term goals insted of new year’s resolutions. For example, lose 24 lbs by March 31 instead of just saying “lose 30 lbs.” Be specific!
  • Make strength training a priority and get a workout program that you can do at least 3 times a week. Make sure that you will enjoy your workout but choose a challenging one that will take you out of your comfort zone.
  • If you must perform some type of cardiovascular activity, make sure that it’s interval training or bodyweight cardio. I’m not saying that the elliptical or other cardio equipments are bad or inferior but if your body is used to them, you will not get much benefit from your workout. Same goes if you’ve been doing the same old workout for a long time. It’s time to change things up!
  • Find your motivation. For me, my motivation is knowing that I won’t need a crutch when I get old and I will still look like I’m 30 years old even though I am 80 (ok, maybe not that young but you’d never know).

Here’s a double kettlebell workout that will surely challenge you:

The leanest people I know have these rules down as habits. Make this the year that you are going to be a part of the lean people statistics and never look back. I heard this one good saying while listening to an interview earlier, “If it’s important, do it everyday.” The calorie deficit is important so if you’re goal is to lose weight this year, make sure to have it at least 6 days a week until you reach your goal.

I hope you have a great and healty new year ahead of you. Let’s look forward to 2010!

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Interval Training vs. Cardio

Posted on 12. Jan, 2009 by .

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One of the very first lessons I have learned during my fat loss journey is that I hated doing cardio. When I say cardio, I’m thinking about spending 40 long minutes (or longer) on the treadmill while going at a steady pace. While there are other forms of cardiovascular or aerobic activity to choose from such as yoga, step class, tae bo, stairmaster, etc., most gyms are equipped with a lot of treadmills because running is one of the most popular cardio exercises available. Running on the treadmill is also one of the most effective ways to burn fat.

By definition, cardio is basically any activity which forces your heart to work harder than it usually does. So, if you’re used to sitting on your desk all day then, even brisk walking can make your heart work harder than it normally does. Yes, you can benefit from brisk walking or just plain, old running but, chances are, your progress will be painfully slow.

The New Form of Cardio

At some point in your life, you’ve probably heard that running at your target heart rate at a steady pace is the best way to burn fat – let’s call this traditional cardio (click here for target heart rate definition). While this may be true, it is time consuming. boring, and inefficient. I know because I’ve been there and I say this about traditional cardio because there is a much faster, more efficient way to challenge your heart.

The Treadmill and a Stationary Bike

The Treadmill and a Stationary Bike

One of the latest trends in the fitness industry today which delivers great results, is high intensity interval training (HIIT). Interval what? Ok, if this is a new concept for you, stick with me.

Interval training is a form of cardio (if you can even call it that) wherein a person goes from a period of low intensity to high intensity cardio in a matter of minutes. For example, I did my HIIT at the gym yesterday on the treadmill for 14 minutes with this:

  • Warm-up for 1 minute at 3.5 miles per hour (mph)
  • Warm-up for another 1 minute at 6 mph
  • Run for 1 minute at 8 mph and 1.5% incline
  • Run for a minute and a half (90 seconds) at 4 mph and 1.5% incline
  • I repeat steps 1-4 for 5-6 times then cool down

This is exactly what I did and believe me I was sweating buckets at the end of my HIIT. One of the things that makes HIIT more effective than traditional cardio is the high intensity. Running or performing cardio at a higher intensity challenges your heart and body to exert more effort which results in more calories burned during your cardio session at a shorter period of time. Basically, I would probably burn the same amount of calories if I ran at 6 mph for 40 minutes but HIIT cuts that time by about 70%! What’s more important after my session is that my body kept working harder to restore my system back to its “normal” state even after I was done running. This results to even more calories burned after I leave the gym even though I’m just sitting down watching t.v. or sleeping.

Note: I have to warn you to be conservative when doing HIIT for the first time. Try starting with a comfortable speed for your high intensity and work your way up as you build your endurance.

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