Jun 11, 2010

Summertime's Here...Are You Ready?

by Kim Clark, NSCA-CPT

It’s finally summer again which means it’s time for you to get onto the beach and strut your stuff. Have you been keeping in beach-worthy-shape? If not, no need to worry.  I’ve got some research-backed metabolic stoking methods that will increase your ability to burn fat quickly and get you on the beach in no time.

We’ve all heard “The Equation” time and time again:

Burn more calories than you consume = body fat loss

Output has to be more than your input. Still true. You cannot expect to eat whatever you want, workout for an hour or two and expect lose weight. Catch that?!  Exercise will NOT make up for poor calorie consumption habits.  We are seeing more and more support of this fact in research.  Recall that you need to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound. That is a lot of calories.

In view of the research, here is Method #1 for quick body fat loss:

Do the “table pushaway”:  What?  Simple, push the dinner table away and don’t eat that extra 500 calories at dinner.  Make the choice not too.  What’s the trade off? You’ll have to run or walk about 5 miles (for the average 150 lb male) to burn that 500 calories off.  A one second decision compared to 60 minutes of exercise.

Method #2:  Your nutrition needs to consist of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates.  What’s more, focus on lean protein and vegetables for carbohydrate intake after your lunch time meal.  Adding these foods and making that evening Carbohydrate adjustment will increase your metabolism significantly. You need to stay away from (or at least consume sparingly) alcohol, refined sugars, and “bad fats” (saturated…usually solid at room temperature).  These things will sabotage all your efforts for looking bikini body ready!

Method #3:  You should be eating 5-6 small meals a day and drinking plenty of water (Bodyweight/2 = Ounces/Day is a great rule of thumb). Research is clear on these points.  Eating less frequently (i.e. 1-3x/day) slows down your metabolism.  If you keep fuel in the tank, your metabolic engine will race all day long.

Method #4:  Cardio is your friend. Now I am not talking about slow long jogging on the treadmill until you feel like you want to hit your head on a brick wall from boredom. Want more bang for your buck? Interval training. At Prevail Conditioning we have re-termed Cardiovascular Activity to “Energy System Development” or “Metabolic Conditioning” (the latter being most appropriate here).  Interval training is all about getting short bouts of high intensity exercising (i.e. sprinting) with a short recovery period in between (i.e. jogging). This will help you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.  “But doesn’t long, slow, steady state cardio help burn fat?”  Yes, but research is changing a bit here.  Most research is showing to get the most efficient body fat loss through this mode, it is preferable to perform the activity at least 2 hours.  Problem???  First, if you’re not in good enough shape to exercise that long it does you no good.  Second…can you say knee pain?  This duration of activity with modes like running is a recipe for overuse injuries (especially if you are not well versed in proper running biomechanics).

Method #5:  Finally, build lean muscle mass!  Ladies, don’t tune out here…it’s true for both men and women.  The more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories your body will burn 24/7 as it increases your metabolism.  The significant factor here is that women simply won’t gain as much muscle as men.  We just don’t have the same hormonal building blocks as men do to make that happen.  What we’re looking for is strong, dense, firm muscle.  Now that sounds nice right?  Good, because that means you’ve got to lift weights. One of the best ways to go about doing this is doing complex exercises (i.e. squat-curl-press combo), with little rest in between your sets. If you must rest, take that time to do some core work, balance training, or some active isolated stretching. You’ll feel like you’re resting, but you’ll also be bettering you body so the next time you come to your workout your body will be even more better prepared for what’s in store.

Lastly, change doesn't come easy.  If you want change you’ve got to work for it!  

If you’re ready to make that change then here’s a quick recommendation to get you started:

Begin your exercise program with at least four to six days of activity per week- two to three days of interval based cardio and two to three days of resistance training. 

Kim Clark, NSCA-CPT is a Personal Trainer for Prevail Conditioning Performance Center and works with athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike.  For further information regarding this topic please contact Kim Clark, NSCA-CPT at Kim@prevailconditioning.com.

1.     Ecklund, Chris. “It’s Simple: Stop Resting/Work Harder/Do More Table Pushaways.” http://chrisdecklund.blogspot.com/search/label/Cardio. Feb. 4th, 2008.
2.     Cosgrove, Alwyn.  “5 Keys to Fat Loss.” http://www.coreperformance.com/daily/live-better/5-keys-to-fat-loss.html.  Aug. 12th, 2008.
3.     Cosgrove, Alwyn. “Memorial Day Weekend and Goal Setting.” http://alwyncosgrove.com/2010/05/memorial-day-weekend-and-goal-setting/. May 28th, 2010.

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