Enter The Burn Zone
By Admin | Wednesday, July 2, 2008 12:14:48 PM America/New_York
We would love to tell you that shedding unwanted pounds is easier than scoring touchdowns in the Arena Football League. However, if you've been studiously and furiously doing your cardio, lifting weights, and eating clean, and not seeing the physical changes you're hoping for, you already know better. Well, consider this story your TD - and two-point conversion - in the battle against fat.
Here, you'll find eight simple-to-implement tips and strategies to help you improve your get-lean game plan. It won't be as easy as playing football in a 50-yard roller rink, sure, but your results may just prompt you to break into an impromptu end-zone celebration anyway.
1) VARY YOUR CARDIO:
Steady-state aerobic sessions - those where you maintain a constant pace throughout your workout - do not burn as much body fat as interval training, in which you fluctuate your pace between slower and near-max efforts. This can be as simple as doing a 15-second all-out sprint every minute during a jog, or can be slightly more complicated, such as the interval programs built into most treadmills, ellipticals and exercise bikes at your health club.
2) KEEP THE FIRE BURNING:
Some cardio options are better than others - at least when it comes to the calorie burn they promote after the workout is over. Yes, you read that correctly: certain forms of aerobic training elevate your metabolism higher and for a extended period of time long after you've stopped exercising. Methods to increase your EPOC (i.e. your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) include doing cardio activities of 60 minutes in duration (versus 40 or less), weight training after your cardio, and using the interval-type training outlined in tip #1.
3) BREAK A SWEAT:
You may be doing cardio, sure "but if you're not burning appreciable amounts of fat and your diet isn't the likely culprit, you have to ask the question, Are you exercising hard enough? It seems so clear-cut, but take a look around the cardio room at your local gym and you'll see plenty of people plodding along, not breathing all that hard and in no need of a towel. The truth is, burning fat and transforming your physique is hard, hard work. Sweat equity is the only viable road to a lean body, so put in the effort and push yourself as hard as you can.
4) BUILD MUSCLE:
The more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories your body burns, even at rest. So an effective weight-training program is key. And by "effective," we mean this: Don't follow misguided advice to up your repetitions to 15-20 or more per set in some convoluted effort to turn your lifting sessions into wildly inefficient cardio workouts. Instead, stick with the heavier-weight, 6-12 rep sets that are best for prompting muscular growth.
5) DIVIDE AND CONQUER:
How many meals are you eating per day? If it's four or less, try this: Take the same amount of food and divide it over 6-8 meals, spaced two-and-a-half to three hours apart. (Make sure you include 20-30 grams of protein minimum with each meal.) This helps keep you fueled while lessening the chances that excess calories taken in will be stored as body fat.
6) INCREASE YOUR PROTEIN:
A recent study out of University College London found that Peptide YY, a hormone that travels to the brain from the gastrointestinal system to indicate satiety, increased in those who ate a high protein meal (65% protein), versus high-carb and high-fat meals. In basic terms, the high-protein meals led to a significant decrease in hunger pangs - and obviously, the less hungry you are, the less excess food you'll eat. Not only does protein keep you feeling fuller longer than carbohydrates or fat, as the study suggests, it takes more overall energy for your body to digest, meaning it prompts calorie burning. Perhaps most notably, protein is the critical nutrient in ensuring you can successfully build muscle, which is important, as you learned in Tip #4.
7) QUICK TRICKS:
On their own, none of the following will make a monumental difference, but if you want to leave no detail to chance, try cold water (one study found that drinking two cups between meals raised resting metabolic rate by around 30% for over 60 minutes), add chili peppers to spice up meals (the capsaicin in chilis has fat-burning properties), and drink plenty of sugar-free green tea throughout the day (as green tea contains EGCG, which has been shown to have thermogenic effects).
8) SUPPLEMENT SMART:
When trying to shed pounds and get ripped, a host of powerful supps can help. The fundamentals include a caffeine/ green tea formula, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), citrulline malate, 7-keto DHEA, yohimbine, glutamine, and protein powders and bars to augment a clean diet.