It’s that time of year again…time to focus on your New Year’s resolutions. Many people begin an exercise program, but abandon it before Easter. However, you can increase your chances for long-term success if you follow these five simple tips to achieve your fitness goals.
1. Determine Your Readiness
Make sure you’re both physically and mentally ready to start an exercise program. Tell your doctor you want to begin a fitness regimen and you want to make sure you’re healthy enough to start. Once you have been physically cleared to proceed, consider your mental readiness. How likely are you to stick with an exercise program once you begin? While there are many factors to consider, three are most significant.
You are more likely to succeed if you:
– Have confidence in your exercise ability.
– Receive encouragement and support from those closest to you.
– Participate in an enjoyable form of exercise.
2. Fasted Cardio
Looking to lose the pounds? Find out if knocking out your cardio on an empty stomach is the best way to go.
I’m often asked whether mornings of fasted cardio are the best way to burn fat. My answer is yes … and no. When it comes to the physiology and biochemistry of the human body, nothing is simple. Throw exercise on top of normal daily functions, and things become even more complicated. So what do the experts say?
Some research does actually show that when you do cardio fasted in the morning, you burn up to 20 percent more fat. A recent study from the UK published in the “British Journal of Nutrition” found that when subjects were fasted during morning cardio they burned 20 percent more fat than when they had a meal beforehand. Several earlier studies show similar results.
Fasted cardio in the morning is effective because as you sleep and fast overnight your body conserves its precious carb stores and leans toward mobilizing fat for fuel. The story doesn’t end here, however. Your body also breaks down amino acids into glucose overnight, so fasted morning cardio mobilizes more fat and potentially more amino acids for fuel, which isn’t ideal if building muscle is your primary goal. This isn’t a huge problem as long as you consume a fast-digesting protein like whey, along with some slow-digesting casein, after your cardio.
3. Reduce Your Calories Gradually
If you’re looking to lose fat, don’t make huge calorie cuts. This will kick your body into starvation mode, reducing your metabolism and making it more difficult to burn off the fat.
To prevent this metabolic slowdown and allow your body to burn fat at an optimal rate, make smaller calorie reductions every week or two.
The attention focused on low-carb diets has divided many people into “pro” and “anti” low-carb camps. Whichever side you’re on, the bottom line is that reducing your carb intake—especially sugar and starches—when trying to lose fat will help.
Those carbs you do consume should come from sources such as oatmeal and vegetables.
The timing of your carb intake also affects fat-burning. “I recommend tapering down carbohydrates by 3 p.m., Consume most of your carbs in the morning and around your workouts.
Increasing protein intake will increase your metabolism and help to maintain your muscle mass, all of which helps with fat-burning. In fact, your body burns more calories when you eat protein than when you digest either fats or carbs.
This may explain why the fat-burning effects of eating more protein were confirmed in a study published in the American Journal of Physiology. One group was fed a high-protein diet (just over 1 gram per pound of body weight per day) while the second group consumed an amount closer to the lower recommendation of the RDA (recommended dietary allowance). The group eating the higher-protein diet burned the most fat.
Eat 6 Smaller Meals Per Day, Not 2-3 Feasts
This will ensure that you supply your body with the nutrients necessary to build muscle and burn fat.
Bonus: Your resting metabolic rate increases. It will also prevent your body from kicking into “starvation” mode, which can happen when too much time elapses between meals.
If this happens, your body will start burning muscle for energy and increasing your body-fat stores, as well as slowing down your metabolism. This is the exact opposite of what you want to happen.
4. Train With Weights
Resistance training helps with fat loss in a number of ways. Weight training itself burns calories. Studies also show that, unlike aerobic exercise, weight training increases the calories you burn at rest for up to 39 hours after your workout.
Plus, the more muscle your body has, the more calories you burn each day.
Even if your goal is solely to lose body fat, you need to train with weights. This will help prevent any of the weight you lose from being muscle.
Were that to happen, your metabolism would slow, stalling your fat-loss efforts and turning you into a skinny-fat person.
Yes, even someone with anorexia can have a high body fat percentage.
5. Do High-Intensity Intervals (HIIT)
This means alternating a brief period of high-intensity exercise with brief rest periods.
The result: better results in less time.
One of my favorite interval methods is jumping rope. You may need to practice a bit on this one. After a brief warm up, I’ll jump rope as fast as I can for 10-20 seconds, followed by a half a minute at a slower cadence.
Always warm up before intervals, by the way. If you’re not in the best shape, start with cardio of low or moderate intensity. You might also want to check with your doctor.
Don’t be the kind of person who complains about your situation but never does anything to improve it. Don’t become “happy” with the status quo of being miserable. Now use this knowledge to take action to make that physical changes you’ve been wanting for while.
Be realistic with your goals and consistency is the KEY to achieving your goals.
Cheers to 2018!
GH Fitness LLC – Fitness Geeny