Slow boring cardio, doesn't work!
Now a lot of people make a big mistake with cardio, and funny enough, this conversation come's up over and over again.
And this "theme" really makes me roll my eyes and shake my head.
I can't remember how many times I heard someone say, "Oh, I'm going to have to hit the gym extra hard on Monday to burn this off." I find it ridiculous...because first, it's not healthy thinking, and second, it is not accurate thinking.
Seriously, let's look at this for a second. A friend of mine went to a wedding and had the following:
The wedding meal, beginning with the post-ceremony celebratory drink, right through to the anti-pasta buffet, followed by the main dinner (I had chicken parmigiana), and then dessert, PLUS the late night sweets spread it would EASILY result in over 2400 calories.
And how long would it take you to burn that many calories doing your average cardio workout?
You'd need to do cardio for just a little less time than it would take you to run a marathon.
So 3 hours for the fittest individuals , 4-5 hours for the average person and more than 6-8 hours for a beginner .
Does that sound like a "regular cardio session" to you?
So FORGET the "I'm going to burn off this big meal with cardio" mentality It's WRONG thinking.
Plus, as I've mentioned time and time again, research shows that regular cardio doesn't really help with fat loss.
1) One study showed interval training was better than cardio at burning belly fat (and cut the workout time in half) which is what we do with our small group training
2) A second study found that 300 hours of cardio per year helped men lose only 6 pounds (and women lost only 4 pounds). So that's about 50 hours of cardio per pound of weight lost - at BEST!
(Obesity 15:1496-1512 (2007). Exercise Effect on Weight and Body Fat in Men and Women. Anne McTiernan*, et al.)
3) A third study found SOME folks start eating MORE when they start a cardio program. These folks end up gaining weight on aerobics.
(Reference: International Journal of Obesity 32: 177-184, 2008).
So if long, slow, boring cardio doesn't work, what's left for to burn fat?
Well first, I will acknowledge that high-intensity cardio seems to work better. In one study, subjects who burned 400 calories doing high-intensity cardio ended up losing fat while subjects who did only low-intensity cardio did not lose ANY fat at all!
(Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Oct 8. Effect of Exercise Training Intensity on Abdominal Visceral Fat and Body Composition.)
But the best way, the fastest way, and the most enjoyable way to burn fat is with interval training. Which we offer at Fitness 1 with small group training, resistance band training, and High Intensity Bodyweight training.
Their are literally hundreds of way to perform interval training. And it won't just be sprinting on a treadmill for 1 minute straight. Trust me, there are a lot of unique ways to burn fat with interval training.
In the meantime, FORGET about slow, boring cardio. It is a generally a big waste of time for fat loss. Sure, it's good for running marathons, but not for busy people who only have 2-3 hours per week to burn fat.
5 Diet Tips of "Fit" Folks
The Fit Person Mentality:
EAT to Elevate Metabolism and Lose Fat (NOT Weight)
Tip#1- Stay Hydrated:
- Drink at least 2-4 cups of water immediately upon waking and then drink at least 1-2 cups of water every 2 hours you are awake. A dehydrated organism cannot effectively lose body fat!
- Drink 1-2 cups of water for every 15 minutes of vigorous activity to maintain optimal performance and to prevent dehydration during your workouts.
- Consume at least 3 servings of antioxidant-rich green tea per day to boost your immune system and accelerate recovery from exercise.
Tip#2- Eat Early and Eat Often:
- Eat immediately upon waking and then again every 2-4 hours after that for a total of 6-8 feedings per day. This is a staple for any solid fat loss nutrition plan because it allows your body to starve the fat and feed the muscle, optimizes performance, and prevents your body’s starvation signals from going off- signals that will slow fat loss to a snail’s pace.
- The dietary breakdown is 3 total meals per day consumed at breakfast, lunch, and dinner time, 3 total snacks/day consumed between meals and before bed, and workout nutrition in the form of a protein or amino acid supplement consumed around your training sessions. Snacks are typically half the caloric value of meals.
Tip#3- Focus on the Essentials:
- Consume a wide range of organic lean proteins of animal origin at each feeding. A great rule of thumbs is to consume at least a fist-sized worth of anything that had a face or a mother and ran, fly, or swam at some point (sorry, doesn’t sound as appetizing this way, ha). Protein is not only the only macronutrient responsible for building and repairing that lean, sexy muscle tone but it also allows your body to best starve its ugly, unwanted fat stores. In addition, the sheer consumption of protein elevates metabolism and burns calories through the thermic effect of feeding since protein is more than twice as energy costly for your body to digest than fat or carbs.
- Consume a wide range natural fats at each feeding (olive oil, coconut oil, beef, salmon, whole eggs, avocado, mixed nuts, flax, full-fat cheese, etc.). Sufficient dietary fat intake is critical to beneficial hormone production, which allows for optimal fat loss. Furthermore, your body cannot optimally burn stored body fat without a sufficient amount of healthy dietary fat.
- Consume a wide range of fruits and veggies at each feeding (with a special emphasis on green veggies). A great rule of thumb when it comes to produce is to consume at least one green item AND as many other colors as possible at each and every meal to get the most health benefits.
Sample One Day Menu
Tip#4- You NEED These 2 Supplements:
- Take a daily whole food based multi-vitamin for your gender. Ensuring adequate intake of vitamins and minerals is essential for your body to function optimally, especially for people who struggles to get at least 8-12 servings of fruits and veggies per day.
- Take a high quality essential fatty acid (EFA) or fish oil supplement. Omega-3 fats found in fish oil are scientifically proven to increase metabolism and generate increased fat burning, besides having a host of other benefits like preventing cancer, reducing inflammation and joint pain, enhancing skin and hair quality, etc.
Tip#5- Think Fiber First When It Comes To Carbs:
- It is critical to focus on carbohydrate quality first AND then quantity second. In terms of quality, all carbohydrates (outside of dairy) that you eat should contain AT LEAST 3 g of fiber per serving and offer LESS THAN 10 g of sugar per serving. In terms of quantity, we have found most females achieve the best fat-burning effects by limiting their total daily carb intake to 50 g or less, NOT including their unlimited daily fibrous carb intake from green veggies (fruit can be used in moderation) nor the trace carbs from protein and fat foods.
- Use The Carb Reduction Blueprint: Use the following step-by-step process in the exact order listed to breakthrough any plateaus in your quest to get into that dress or those skinny jeans or just to have that body you know you deserve.
Step#1- Replace all white carbs with 100% whole grain carbs and all refined sugars with natural sugars found in food choices with ONE ingredient (e.g. fruit, honey, etc.). This will results in much more stable blood sugar levels, the key to maintaining high energy levels and burning fat.
Step#2- Limit all 100% whole grain starch and natural sugar consumption to within 1-2 hours post-workout or immediately upon waking for breakfast. Your body best handles these types of carbs at these times without excessive risk of this energy being stored as fat.
Step#3- Replace all starches and sugars with fruits and veggies. Fruits and veggies are the most nutrient dense carbs loaded with tons of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and stomach-filling fiber, making them the staple of any good fat loss meal plan.
Step#4- Replace all fruits with green veggies (or any other veggies BESIDES corn, peas, carrots, and potatoes) to weed out any remaining dietary sugar (fructose- fruit sugar) that will prevent your body from maximally using stored body fat for fuel. Green veggies like broccoli, spinach, dark leafy lettuce, green beans, asparagus, etc. have the most figure-friendly benefits of any carbohydrate out there and can be consumed in an unlimited amount throughout the day to keep you full and satisfied.
Step#5- Use strategic carb and calorie cycling to take your body to next level (my clients and I have had great success with this but it is beyond the scope of this article).
Well, those are my top 5 diet tips to help you look your best on the biggest day of your life. When it comes to nutrition, keep it simple and stay the course. And remember, it’s not about weight loss- it’s about being as visually stunning as possible via losing inches in all the right places ;)
Committed to your health.