So of course, people start talking about losing weight, washboard abs, etc. The conversation generally moves into building muscle in certain areas and losing fat in others. There are multiple studies and reasons for why you should prioritize your goals and then direct efforts accordingly, however if you want to gain muscle as efficiently as possible, you really need to get lean first. And, if you are overweight, from a health perspective (swimsuit season aside), losing fat should be priority one. So now that we’ve established you should lean up first and then build later, let’s look at a few strategies to help you do that.
- If your schedule permits, workout in the morning in a fasted state. Without any carbs for energy, you are apt to burn more fat during this time.
- Try variations of the catholic schoolgirl diet where you eat clean/lean (and 250-500 calories lighter each day with a tad less protein) for 6 days…and then make the devil blush on the 7th. Or, try shortening your eating windows to allow a full 12-18 hours of fasting. Also, you’ll need to drop calories by 500/day in order to drop a pound a week. Or, decrease calories by 350 and burn an additional 150…but that’s in ADDITION to your normal workouts. Do that 5-6 days a week, and then have a day where you bump your calories back up. Seems contradictory, but it’s effective and it works.
- Interval training – either cardio or with weights. Download a couple tabata tracks (music with timing for 8 sets for 20 second intervals on with 10 seconds of rest. Good stuff.
- Drink adequate water.
- Get 7-8 hours of good sleep each night.
A great jumpstart to any diet is the Fast Track Detox which is essentially 7 days of clean (like, really clean) eating followed by 1 day of “fasting” which includes an easy to make home juice blend, and then 3-4 more days of clean eating with probiotic foods. Most folks lose weight on this and I find it helps me get back on the clean eating wagon again.
Please, don’t expect results overnight—or big changes in a week. For long term success, it’s best to incorporate small changes you can commit to, but also forgive yourself along the way if you don’t eat or train perfectly. As long as you keep going, you are moving in the right direction. And if you are looking at the scale, just remember the only real way to know if you are losing weight is to test your body fat.
Once you’ve dropped some “LBs” it’s time to move your focus muscle building or strength. For me, these workouts are the most fun. This is where full body movements like deadlifts, squats, tire flips, clean and press, and kettle bell training come into play. During this time, you might amp up your protein intake just a little and make sure you’re taking in solid amino acids and omega 3’s. Also, good rest is tres importante for muscle building.
Today is a GREAT day to recommit to fit!
Until next time, choose health, laugh often & love.