Minimizing Your "Trouble" Areas.If you want to lose weight, you've come to the right place! Fortunately, burning body fat and losing excess poundage is not as complex as you might think … but it's a process that will require effort and dedication. In the end, maintaining a great looking body with a low body fat percentage comes down to numbers. In a nutshell, weight loss comes down to calories in versus calories out. In other words, consuming less calories than you expend in activity will create a caloric deficit, which in the long run will lead to your body accessing fat stores to replace the missing "energy" units. There are, of course, many factors that are intertwined with this basic premise. For maximum results these must all be addressed. Yet the most important lesson to walk away with is that you can strip away unwanted fat and chisel the body you desire if you're willing to make lifestyle changes in your eating habits and commit to exercise.
How Do You Train For Weight-Loss?Your first concern may be losing weight, but the ultimate goal is to lose fat! So while the scale is a good gauge of progress, you should also look at yourself in the mirror at regular intervals to see how your body is changing visually. Also do some bodypart measurements (waist, thigh, upper arm) to help ascertain changes in your body. You might find that your weight doesn't drop as much as you think (especially if you are doing some resistance training), but the circumference of your limbs and torso will. And those are positive changes in body composition. The combination of cardio and weight training is critical to your weight loss success. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, which means it burns more calories even at rest. So the more muscle you have, the greater your calorie burning metabolism.
Cardio.The first step of any successful weight loss program is to integrate full body cardiovascular activity into your exercise regimen. If you've never exercised or haven't been following a regular program, doing cardio three times a week is a perfect start. Even if you can't run for longer than a few minutes, doing interval (walk/run) training will keep you active for the recommended time – at least 30 minutes. As you improve your conditioning, you should increase intensity and reduce the walk intervals. This will also speed the weight loss process. There are several schools of thought regarding how to do cardio training. The traditional "fat burning zone" theory calls for extended duration workouts at moderately high intensity. Typically, this means at an intensity where you're in the 60-70 percent of heart rate maximum range. (For simple heart rate max calculations, subtract your age from 220 to arrive at your max. Then figure training heart rate percentages based on this number.) Here you are spending lots of time doing cardio to get the desired calorie burning results. Other trainers and athletes such as IFBB Figure pros Angela Mraz and Kim Sheppard and IFBB bodybuilders Jose Raymond and Craig Richardson all employ higher intensity interval training for their cardio sessions. The goal here is simple – burn as many calories as possible. Your body works on caloric balance, so it will pull calories from fat to replace the massive deficit that cardio interval training creates. You will continue to burn calories long after you're done, and many of these calories will be pulled from fat stores. And the best benefit to this training regimen is that you spend less time on the treadmill or stair stepper – a huge added benefit for busy people. For optimum results, perform cardio exercise 4-6 times per week. While three sessions will definitely help you burn fat, turning up the heat with greater frequency will speed the weight loss process. On weight training days, do your cardio after you lift. On the other days, try to perform aerobic exercise first thing in the morning or when you'd normally work out – whichever is more convenient.
Resistance Training.It is important to remember that cardio exercise is not the only means by which to lose weight and burn fat. A well-rounded approach includes a reduced calorie diet (more on this later) and regular weight training. Many people make the mistake of believing that they have to lose weight first before they start lifting weights or using resistance machines. The problem with this approach is that it doesn't optimize the weight loss process and can actually slow your progress. The goal is not just to help you burn body fat, but to increase your metabolism through exercise, plus improve muscle tone and conditioning (thereby improving your appearance). Remember, the muscles are the engines of the body. Muscles are more metabolically active than any other tissue, which means you burn more calories at rest just supporting the muscle tissue. The more calories burned means effective long term weight loss. In addition, improving muscular strength helps with athletic and fitness performance. For instance, to perform cardio more effectively requires stronger legs and balanced lower body muscularity. This has a double benefit – it helps you work harder (thereby exercising more intensely) and provides protection against injury. To increase your workout calorie burn, utilize some form of high intensity weight training, such as supersets and tri-sets. By moving quickly from one exercise to the next, especially in an opposing fashion (i.e., bench press followed by bent-over rows or curls right after pushdowns), you expend a much greater amount of energy and complete more work in a shorter amount of time. This not only burns more calories during the movements, but also increases your calorie utilization after the workout. Another high intensity method of training for weight loss involves choosing free weight lifts whenever possible as compared to machine exercises. Because machines support your body and balance the resistance, they reduce the need for supporting musculature to be used. These smaller muscles contribute significantly for balance and proprioception. You instantly realize how much they are involved when you move to a barbell bench press from a machine press – your arms are shaking all over and it's difficult to lower and press the bar in a straight line! But as stated above, the more muscles you are working at once, the greater the caloric reduction, so use of free weights are valuable for fat burning progress. Some good examples include free weight squats instead of leg press and deadlifts rather than hyperextensions. However, when using free weights it's important to make sure you always use proper form. You can easily integrate the concepts above into any workout regimen, but some basics for weight loss start with doing both cardio and resistance training. A very effective program that Angela Mraz uses with many of her transformation clients revolves around resistance training 3-4 days per week, but not in excessive amounts. Weight loss success requires long-term adherence, so you can't throw yourself into a six-days-per-week regimen for 90 minutes a day and expect to stick with it for any length of time. It's better to be realistic and build on your program once you become more comfortable and start to see results.
Your Workout.For best results, you will do both weight training and cardio on each of the three days you're exercising. The order of exercises will depend on your fitness goals. If you are more interested in purely trimming body fat fast, do your cardio first before resistance training. But if you want to both burn calories and reshape and firm you body, do the weight training first and finish each session with cardio – that's the order MHP fitness experts like Steve Downs, C.S.C.S. recommend. On day one, you'll work upper body, performing antagonist supersets (one set each of opposing muscle groups without resting). Perform dumbbell bench presses followed immediately by bent-over rows. Complete 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps each, using a weight where you reach muscular failure within the prescribed repetition range. Rest one minute between supersets and then 2-3 minutes before going onto the next superset grouping. Next up, do 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps of shoulder press/lat pulldown supersets. After this comes three supersets of dumbbell or barbell curls followed by cable triceps pushdowns. Finish with 2-3 sets of crunches supersetted with hyperextensions. This should take 25-30 minutes. Complete the session with 20-30 minutes of interval cardio training (1-3 minutes of high intensity followed by one minute of low intensity). Day two is for legs. Perform 3-5 sets of squats or leg presses supersetted with step-ups holding a dumbbell in each hand. Again the goal is 10-15 reps taken to failure. Next up is three sets each of leg extension/leg curl supersets. Follow this with stiff-leg deadlifts supersetted with hack squats (three sets). Last is 2-3 sets of calf raise/tibialis raise supersets. Cardio comes last. For the first week, do upper body on Monday and Friday, with lower body on Wednesday. The following week, switch the order. This way you'll do upper body twice one week and lower body twice the next in an ongoing rotation. If you opt for a more advanced four-day schedule, you could upper body Monday and Thursday, with lower body on Tuesday and Friday. Do include cardio on all four days if you want to really burn fat, or just twice per week on upper body days in toning is more your focus.
Nutrition 101!As we said in the introduction, weight loss comes down to a numbers game. But for maximum progress, you must be conscious of what you're eating at all times. After all, 400 calories of junk food is junk – it may fit in your calorie count for a meal, but it is counterproductive to your fitness goals. Your body is a machine that should only be fueled with the highest quality food. In addition, healthy food is nutrient dense, meaning it packs a lot of nutritional value with fewer calories. Junk food, on the other hand, is calorie dense, so it provides way too many calories without much health value. Weight loss success dictates that your nutritional program matches up to your fitness regimen. Eating a "clean" diet year-round is a first step toward achieving your fat reducing goals. The basics of any sound diet include lean quality protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Warning: Don't fall into the trap of some extreme diet plan, especially the low carb (ketogenic) diet. While you will lose weight fast following such a program, it will be mostly water weight, plus it strips your body of amino acids (from muscle) to fuel training and even thinking. Your body requires carbs for energy, brain function, recovery and to spare the loss of protein and muscle tissue (catabolism). The easiest plan to follow to keep lean and trim fat is the Macrobolic Diet. Eating in this manner requires that you use precise percentages of macronutrients at each meal – 45% carbohydrates, 35% protein and 20% fat. So no matter how many (or few) calories you eat, as long as you divide your intake among these percentages you know you will lose weight faster and stay healthy. This is a simple enough plan to follow for anyone. This method of diet is backed by all the latest research. The key is to eat the right ratio, the right sources and the right portions of macronutrients. If you follow Macrobolic Nutrition guidelines you can lower insulin and raise glucagon for maximum fat burning in a similar fashion to a low carb diet, while actually improving the anabolic process of building muscle and optimizing performance.
Macrobolic Nutrition Explained.The premise behind Macrobolic Nutrition is to consume the proper amount of each macronutrient for the purpose in which they were intended: Low-to-medium glycemic carbs ("slow carbs") supply glucose for energy (not only the energy for vital body functions, but for maximum performance and to prevent catabolic muscle wasting). Good examples of slow carbs are sweet potatoes, oatmeal and brown rice. Proteins are needed to supply your body the amino acids it needs to build and repair enzymes, hormones, organs and of course muscle tissue. Lean meats, poultry, fish and egg whites are optimum protein choices. Finally, healthy fats are required for the formation of hormones and prostaglandins (anti-inflammation) to fight infection, regulate growth and assist in digestion. These should come from fish, flax and medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Macrobolic Nutrition prescribes eating 45/35/20 meals throughout the day except for your last meal, where you should ideally take a supplement high in protein, low in carbs and with moderate fat. Eating in this regimen will provide the best hormonal profile for maximum muscle building and fat burning. To lose weight most effectively, substitute protein supplements such as MHP's Probolic-SR, ISOFAST or Power Pak Pudding in place of meats and poultry. This is not only easier to prepare than cooking meats, but they also taste great. For instance, including Power Pak Pudding as a lean protein dessert will make you forget that you are on a weight loss diet! The first step is to assess where you are physically and what your weight loss goals are (how much you're trying to lose, etc.). If your current diet has you staying at a set bodyweight, then this is what's known as your "metabolic set point." All of your body changing calculations would start from here. So you always start by writing down everything you eat for a three day period (no fibbing – be sure to list everything and the amounts consumed!). Then get a calorie counter book to figure out what you're eating. Chances are, you'll be surprised. To drop fat, you need to reduce your daily caloric intake. It's as simple as that (remember our math reference!). The safest, most effective recommendation is to lower your calories by 500 per day, which would equate to a 3,500 calorie reduction per week (1 lb. of fat equals 3,500 calories, so this means you would lose 1-2 lbs. per week). This is healthy, permanent weight loss. You may get excited if you suddenly drop 10 lbs., but it's mostly water weight and you'll rebound and put the majority of it back on. And if you starve yourself, your metabolism slows down dramatically, which causes long-term problems for weight reduction. Once you have a rough calculation of your desired daily caloric intake, divide the food into the three macronutrient percentages (45/35/20). You will need a calorie counter book to figure out precise calculations of how much food to eat (i.e., there are about 370 calories per 8 oz. of skinless chicken breast and 160 calories for a large baked sweet potato). Protein sources should be lean red meat, white meat poultry, fish and egg whites, plus quality protein supplements. Carbohydrate sources include whole grains, pasta, rice, potatoes, legumes and fresh fruit. Fat intake should come from fish oil, unsaturated fats and essential fatty acids. Meals should be eaten every 2-3 hours throughout the day. Eating frequently is essential for keeping your metabolism stoked for enhanced fat burning. If you stick to the "three squares a day" meal plan, your metabolism will slow and your weight loss progress will grind to a halt. To maintain a higher metabolic level and positive nitrogen balance for both weight loss and positive anabolic growth, your body requires multiple regular feedings of protein and carbohydrates. (Carbs are protein sparing, so eating them keeps your body from cannibalizing amino acids for other purposes.) These meals should be relatively small and include all 3 macronutrients for optimum digestion and amino acid and blood sugar stabilization. Split your overall caloric intake by 5 or 6 meals to obtain the desired calories for each feeding. Your morning and post-workout meals should be a little larger than the others because you require additional calories at these critical times. It's also a good idea to cycle carbs during the day to keep your metabolic fire stoked. This entails altering carb counts per meal on different days, but making sure that the total carbohydrate count still fits within your target total. That way your body doesn't get used to eating the same amounts at every meal, which enhances the metabolism. There is much more to the nutritional puzzle, but these are the basics every effective weight loss program should start with. In addition, preparation is key to achieving your goals. If you take the time to prepare your food each day, you'll fuel your body precisely what it needs to grow bigger, stronger and leaner.
Adding Supplements to Your Diet.One of the most basic supplements to take for weight loss is a multi-vitamin. Remember, if you are reducing your food intake, you have to ensure that you're getting enough vitamins and minerals to keep your body healthy and active. MHP's Activite Sport is especially beneficial because it contains digestive enzymes that maximize the absorption and utilization of carbs, proteins and fats. The next critical nutritional supplement is protein. We all consume excess carbohydrates, so during the weight loss process you have to be especially careful. But it's important to remember that protein is the building blocks that create muscle tissue, plus amino acids are critical to many processes in the body. So even if you're losing weight, you need adequate protein (especially to maintain the 45/35/20 ratio for fat loss). This is where MHP's protein innovations can speed your progress significantly. After a long night with no food, your body is in a fasting state whereby it strips amino acids from muscles to stay healthy. To replace the lost amino acids first thing in the morning, nothing works better than ISOFAST. The ultra-fast delivery of this Micronparticulated and Biohydrolyzed whey protein isolate is perfect when you need a quick dose of protein. (ISOFAST is also great for post-workout supplementation.) In addition, to reduce the catabolic state during the night while sleeping, be sure to take Probolic-SR an hour before bedtime. For the ultimate high-protein treat, dig into delicious Power Pak Pudding. With 30 grams of protein and 0 sugar, it's perfect for every weight reduction diet. Mouthwatering Power Pak Pudding contains only 190 calories, 9 grams of carbs, 4.5 grams of fat and no sugar alcohols, lactose or gluten. It's a mouthwatering meal replacement if you're in a pinch. Another nighttime supplement to enhance recovery and keep your body healthy while dieting is MHP's Secretagogue-One. For more than a decade, men and women have relied on Secretagogue-One to optimize the body's natural production of important hormones that improve physical performance, speed recovery from training and improve immune function. To dramatically speed up your weight loss regimen, DREN is the one-a-day fat burner you can't do without. DREN helps amp up your calorie burning furnace, curb your appetite and provide extreme euphoria to make you feel great. And for a fast flush of excess water to reduce bloating and cellulite and help you look your best (before you go on vacation or a photo shoot), MHP's powerful herbal diuretic XPEL is the ultimate quick fix! XPEL helps remove subcutaneous water that hides definition, while providing electrolytes to avoid cramping.
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If you’re looking to lose weight, tone muscle and totally reshape your body, the MHP Angela Mraz Fitness Camp on May 5th is for you! Whether you want to know the basics about fitness or are a figure, physique or bikini competitor looking to take …Read More
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