What works? What doesn’t?
As a licensed personal trainer, I’ve witnessed the multitude of myths and fads that run rampant through the fitness and nutrition industries. We all want a program that takes the least amount of time, yet misses nothing crucial. There is no five-minute work out, no magic pill, and no single supplement available, that will give you instant results.
Follow these 10 proven strategies:
1. Weight Train: Train three times a week, allowing a minimum of twenty-four hours rest, between sessions. Optimum increases in muscle growth, fat loss, and strength, occur only with complete recovery. So, rest on your days off.
2. Length of Session: If you are able to weight train for more than fifty minutes, you are not pushing yourself hard enough. Increase your intensity! You should be at muscle exhaustion, by the fifty-minute mark.
3. Body Parts: On DAY ONE, train your biceps and triceps. On DAY TWO, train your legs and shoulders. And, on DAY THREE, train your back and chest. Change up the order every six weeks, or so, to maintain muscle confusion.
4. Training Load: There is an inverse relationship between the amount of weight you are actually lifting and the number of repetitions and sets you can actually complete, with good form. Typically, the heavier the weight the less repetitions you will be able to perform, and vice versa. Basically, 5 to 12 repetitions enhances muscle strength, 13 or more repetitions enhances leanness and muscle endurance, and 1 to 4 repetitions enhances muscle size and power.
5. Muscle Failure: The goal of weight training is to sufficiently fatigue the targeted muscle fibers, to obtain a training effect. This concept is called ‘muscle failure.’ You must reach muscle failure to sufficiently place demand on the muscle, ensuring change.
6. Consistency: Consistency is the most important training modality, to produce positive changes in your body. Establishing the habit of regular exercise is vital to your success. Remember, it took you longer than 30 days to put your weight on, and it will take more than 30 days, to take it off.
7. Cardiovascular Training: You are not in your ‘fat burning’ zone until the twenty-minute point, so train at least thirty to forty minutes. Do your cardiovascular training on the SAME days you weight train, so your body can get the rest it needs to recover and change. Vary your choices of cardiovascular routines, and choose exercises you enjoy doing!
8. Train Abs / Obliques: These exercises must be done in a variety of positions and angles, to fulfill the needs of the core musculature. Work your core region at least four times a week, ensure your movements are deliberate, exhale as you move toward the peak of the movement, and keep your repetitions in the 50 to 100 range.
9. Training Log: Regardless of your experience level, record your workouts! Would you plan a trip without first mapping out your route? Logs keep track of your progression, and hold you accountable to your training sessions.
10. Supplement Your Body: An athlete MUST consume more protein, and other vital supplements, than someone whom is otherwise sedentary. The following three all-natural supplements are considered by most experts and trainers to be the most vital to fat loss, muscle maintenance, and health.
Whey Isolate Protein: High quality protein is approximately 90% pure, with only 0.5 grams of fat, per serving. Protein repairs body cells and muscles and bones, provides a source of energy, aids in the control of metabolism, preserves lean muscle tissue while burning fat, and stabilizes blood glucose levels, thereby reducing hunger.
L-Carnitine: This is a naturally occurring amino acid, which aids in transporting long-chain fatty acids across the mitochondrial membrane, to be metabolized. L-Carnitine spares the supply of glycogen stored in the liver, thereby allowing the body to burn more fat, save more glycogen, and ultimately boost stamina and endurance. It is considered the ‘miracle’ supplement, in that it acts as a forklift, removing fat from the largest area of your body, first.
L-Glutamine: This is a semi-essential amino acid, transferred by the blood to other body tissues, where it is used as fuel. For athletes, this amino level is depleted by 34 to 50%, during each exercise session, and so must be replenished. It increases glycogen levels, increases muscle endurance, lowers muscle catabolism, enhances nitrogen retention in the muscles for better cardiovascular effect, and aids in increasing the immune system.
Realize regular exercise, coupled with a nutritionally balanced meal plan, is the only realistic solution to permanently reduce body fat. You MUST consume fewer saturated fat grams than your body expends through metabolism, muscular activity, and digestive activity. By doing so, it is virtually impossible to remain or become overweight.