The secret to a lean body...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 • Salida, CO 81201

Before we dive in to this topic be sure to go to the video link to see video (although dark) of the ZUMBA charity event in September.  This is a question that comes up a lot. How do I get lower body-fat?This is actually a loaded question - The answer is how much do you want to and why?There are many reasons people can't lose the last 10 pounds. Sometimes it's about working in and not working out, sometimes it's about changing the game, and sometimes it's about stress.Over the next few blogs I will reference some of these.Aerobic
training such as jogging or cycling is fantastic for conditioning the
heart, but if your goal is FAT loss, most people will have more success
with weight training
combined with short bursts of high intensity cardio.  Charles Poliquin, a
world renown strength and conditioning coach, noticed that his athletes
adapted to
steady-state aerobic exercise very quickly, and that they then had
difficulty keeping the fat off.  He coined the term "Chunky Aerobics
Instructor Syndrome", relating to aerobics instructors that teach 5 to
8 hours of aerobics a week, and have surprisingly high body-fat
percentages considering the amount of activity they do.  If you spend
hours a week on a treadmill or exercise bike and find you are not losing
the weight you think you should be for the time you are putting in, a
change of program is in order.
Do some resistance or weight training two or three days a week,
working in
the 8 to 12 rep range.  Reduce your steady-state cardio training to a
MAXIMUM of three days a week for half an hour
or cut it out all together.  Too much steady-state cardio increases your
cortisol
levels, which is catabolic, meaning it destroys muscle tissue.  That is
why
you would never catch a bodybuilder doing an aerobic workout
- it is counterproductive.  Your muscles are your most metabolically
active tissue, so
by increasing the amount of muscle tissue you have, you burn more
calories per hour all day and night.  If you design your weight-training
workout in a circuit fashion, you can increase your heart rate
sufficiently to get the cardiovascular benefits, without doing any extra
aerobic training at all,
and you will build muscle tissue to help you lose fat.  Keep  your
exercise sessions to an hour or under.  If weight training is not
something you are familiar with, I strongly suggest you seek out a well-qualified personal trainer to help you design the program and
ensure you are doing the exercises correctly, and to be certain that
the exercises selected are appropriate for you at this time.
If doing cardio, change the exercise very frequently to maximize fat
loss. 
For example, start on a treadmill, and five minutes later, get on the
cross-trainer, then the bike, and then the rower.  Or if you are injury
free, mix in interval training, where you run hard for a couple of
minutes, then
walk until your heart-rate goes back down to 120, and then run hard
again, doing
1 to 3 sets of 2 to 6 repetitions, with a comfortably long rest between
sets.  (Make sure you warm up thoroughly before your first high-speed
interval!)  If you are new to this, only do it once a week, and take the
next day off.  Over time you can build up to 2 to 3 times a week. 
Interval training combined with weight training, and a diet that does
not
include sugar and flour can be very effective at reducing body fat.When it comes to cardio and resistance exercise, more is not better.
You actually get strong and more fit between exercise sessions, so
value your rest days!