Rule #1 – Have a carbohydrate strategy
You’ve probably heard that “carbs are the enemy.” Well, not really. Completely slashing your carbohydrate intake will certainly help with dropping the pounds (and fast), but you’ll also be left feeling cranky, tired, and lethargic.
“Carbs are essential for life, as our brain and [central nervous system] require them continuously to work properly,” says Tim McComsey, a trainer, dietician and correspondent to HUMANFITPROJECT.
“Restricting carbs completely will allow for any muscle mass to be metabolized to provide us with energy.”
Therefore, it all comes down to consuming carbs correctly, not cutting them completely. “To get lean, a balance of the right amount of carbs first thing in the morning and after workout is ideal,” McComsey says.
Rule #2 – Eat more fat
Yeah, we said it: Eat more fat.
“Fat doesn’t make you fat, too much food makes you fat,” says McComsey. Consuming more fat in your diet will actually help curb cravings after you’ve reduced your carb intake.
“Fats help curb hunger because it takes the body longer to break down, use or store,” he says. Hormones also play a role, especially when it comes to muscle-supporting testosterone. “Fats are needed to create and balance out hormones in our body to function normally,” McComsey adds.
Rule #3 – Swap fruit out for veggies
Fruit is great—it’s full of nutrients and antioxidants to help protect the body—but the downside is that it’s also full of sugars (read: carbs). How do you not lose out on all the benefits? Swap in veggies (or fruits that people typically consider as vegetables) for fruit.
This strategy allows you to keep the necessary nutrients and antioxidants in your diet, but reduce your overall sugar/carb and total calorie intake. One apple has 125 calories and 25 grams of carbs. One large red pepper—okay, technically a fruit, but generally prepared like a vegetable—has 40 calories and 5 grams of carbs. You do the math.
Rule #4 – Ditch cardio for weights and circuits
Here’s another fitness myth: “If you want to get lean and strong, hit the cardio machine.” That’s not true.
“You will not make more muscle this route,” says McComsey. When you do cardio, you’re burning calories, but you’re missing the muscle growth stimulation from weight training. “The more muscle that you have, the more calories and fat you’ll be burning,” he also goes on to say a 30 minute cardio session will burn calories for approx. 12 hrs after training, a hard intense weights session will carry on torching calories (and fat) for up to 48 hrs later!
Mix this with a 2/3 HIIT sessions a week and you will have the perfect recipe for stripping away unwanted fat.
The Amazing Benefits of High-Intensity Circuit Workouts
HIIT workouts can help you burn fat faster, but that’s not the only reason to work them into your routine.
Serious athletes have long known about the benefits of high intensity interval training (HIIT)—alternating periods of short, intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods—and they’ve been reaping the rewards, too.
The idea is simple: less total time required to make a big change—more bang for your buck, But the perks go far beyond saving time and expediting results—and years of research prove it. So if you’re not already on board with HIIT, read on to get seriously motivated to start.
You’ll Keep Burning Calories for Hours.
“HIIT burns more calories during and after a workout than continuous aerobic training,” says exercise physiologist and athletic trainer Scott Weiss, C.S.C.S. “The bursts of increased intensity simply increase the caloric expenditure, thus, more total calories are burned aiding in better body composition.” Even more: You burn more calories for about two hours after exercise, adding to the greater caloric fire, he explains. Exercise post oxygen consumption (EPOC) is the body’s natural ability to return to homeostasis after exercise. “With HIIT, the total calories burned is greater in EPOC than with continuous exercise.”
McComsey recommends hitting the weight room 3-4 days per week with one of the days being a circuit style with a variety of exercises.
If you need to do cardio, try one of Xtreme’s circuit classes which will give you 45-minutes of fast-slow intervals and a massive calorie burn to boot!
Rule #5 – Lay off the sauce
Party boy, are you? If you’re serious about losing weight and getting lean, you’d better start seriously considering the effects of alcohol on the body.
“Alcohol causes fat to be stored instead of being used for energy. Essentially, your body will put a hold on the digestion of any food until the liver can excrete the alcohol,” McComsey says. Alcohol also hurts you in two other areas: “It’s a diuretic, which dehydrates you and reduces energy levels. It also can decrease testosterone in our bodies, which is critical for creating muscle,” he adds.
Next time you’re planning a guy’s night, stick to one or two light beers or a hard liquor with a diet soda mixer. A six-pack starts in the kitchen.
Remember every individual is different
For a total body weight training and cardio program including a full personal nutrition plan just ask a member of our team, we will be happy to advise you.