Working out and developing an active lifestyle is a crucial part of anyone's lifestyle change if his or her goal is to lose weight and keep it off for life! There are certain things that I have learned through research and experience that I am going to post here about effective workout plans for people trying to lose fat! I will post some tips/advice as well as a few of my own personal workout regimes right here on this very page! Enjoy!
There are many different ways that people can begin when first starting to develop a workout program. I'm about to tell you some of the basic knowledge that I have acquired so that it makes everything more organized and easier to follow. I will begin with a list of "the basics":
1. Include cardio AND weight training in your workout plans! Many people say that they don't want to "get bulky" and they just want to lose fat by running on the treadmill everyday. Well, this is a wrong assumption. It is impossible to "get bulky" (especially for women) if there is not an adequate amount of carbohydrates and calories involved to actually BUILD muscle. When on a fat loss program, the calorie deficit is below maintenance level...so it is impossible to actually build more mass when the body is in a constant deficit! So with that being said, how does weight training help aid fat loss? Well, see the muscles are like a furnace to burning fat all day long. When you workout the muscles, they become more dense, they "eat fat" for energy, and they become more toned. Weight training is extremely important to bone health, as well as developing efficient muscle movements throughout your life...so "shut up and LIFT!" Hahahaha!
2. All about cardio: Cardio is important to the body for several reasons. Firstly, it increases the metabolism and burns optimum amounts of fat and calories as long as you are in your target heart rate zone. Another thing is that it helps keep the heart muscle healthy and efficient so that it is able to effectively deliver oxygen and nutrients to the muscle tissues for repair. Cardio also aids in fat loss because by getting a healthy amount of exercise, it regulates the body's hormones, controls cravings, and is essential to overall health.
3. The "fat burning zone". There are some workouts that are especially designed to target body fat. It is usually defined as "low to moderate intensity" exercise where the body can use mostly stored body fat as fuel instead of expending a huge number of calories and carbohydrate calories per hour. The fat burning zone is especially useful for those that do not want to use up glycogen stores and lean muscle tissue. The only downside is that it does not burn as many TOTAL calories as cardiovascular exercise at a moderate to high intensity.
4. One thing I always include when talking about the "basics" is to ALWAYS put in 110% of your efforts at the gym. I see it like this: if you are going to be there sweating your butt off anyways...you might as well go ALL THE WAY. I see so many people at the gym who hobble around, socialize, text, only do five minutes on a machine then leave, etc. Well, when I am at the gym...it's GO TIME. Basically, you get out of it what you put into it, so for those that do not want to go and give 100% to every single workout...they will definitely not get 100% optimum results! Working out takes discipline, hard work, and determination. It's not about always "feeling like going to the gym" or "just doing half a workout". To achieve the results you desire, you have to want it! Rep every single lift like it's your last! Make every single step count as your sweat hits the ground! Go beyond yourself and set goals...that is the way to do it! "Winners try until they get it right, but champions keep going until they can't get it wrong!"
There are several tricks and twists that I have learned about making the most of my workouts to burn the most fat in as little time possible. I am going to share with you some of the things that have helped me when trying to achieve quick results, breaking a plateau, or if I just have a whole lot of energy and feel like going all out for no real reason!
1. Early morning workouts (cardio): I have learned that working out in the early morning is very useful when trying to burn the most fat possible. See, after a night's fast there are not yet any carbohydrates in the body...therefore forcing the body into using fat stores efficiently at this time. Working out before breakfast (usually only about 30 minutes of cardio to prevent muscle breakdown is optimal) will yield quick results due to the high fat burning percentage in the calories used while working out. Another plus about working out in the morning is that you will not be tired from a long day of work, school, or whatever...therefore providing more energy to workout. Also, if you do your workout early in the day, you do not have to worry about it for the rest of the entire day so therefore completely eliminating "putting it off for later".
2. High intensity interval training: HIIT is one of the most effective fat loss methods ever invented! I swear, whoever made it is a genius in my books! There are many ways to actually do HIIT, but typically it is a 20-30 minute session in which a person does above 85% intensity level for a certain amount of time, then immediately switches to about 50-70% intensity. The way I do it is to do a five minute warm up, then alternate doing two minutes of the intervals (I do 95%, then about 65% intensity) for about ten minutes, then do a five minute cool down. HIIT is great because it constantly shocks the body during the workout providing optimum levels of fat loss!
3. Light-moderate weight training: Light weight training is a technique used to burn fat and not rip any muscle tissue open (or the least amount possible). Usually one does about 25-60% of the total max weight able to be lifted for about 12-15 reps at a time. I usually do 3-4 sets. When lifting light, it is more like a cardio workout...yet aids in keeping the muscles in shape because it helps keep the muscles strong and dense. Many women use light to moderate weights to get a more "toned" look if they are not really interested in building muscles.
4. Heavy weight training: Now, there is a trick that many people are not aware of when it comes to the art of "muscle building". If you are lifting heavy weights and desire to build more muscle, it is EXTREMELY important that you actually rip the muscles open by stretching them out, then do more reps, then repeat. Another thing, after doing heavy weight training it is crucial to have a good nutritious post-workout meal within 30 minutes after training in order to achieve the best results possible. (I said more about it in the "nutrition" section of my site). When lifting heavy, I always do the most reps possible, stretch to give the muscles a more "sleek" look (I stretch before, during, and after training), and I make sure to use correct form. Another thing is that it is important to not overtrain, to never train the same muscles group within two consecutive days, and to never train more than two or three different muscle groups in one workout session. In a nutshell, that is the best advice I can give when it comes to getting the most out of a heavy weight training session.
5. P90X: Okay, so I'm just going to use this part to say that P90X played a big role in my weight loss! What I loved about it was that it was a cardio AND weight training session all in one. Plus, it always gave extremely noticeable results because it "shocks" the body every single day by changing up the workout routine. It can be used with light or heavy weights to achieve desired results no matter what a person's goal may be! The only thing is that it is HARDCORE. They are 50 minute long workout sessions and they are not easy at all. Especially for someone who is obese or overweight...it is a real challenge. I started out by doing only the first 30 minutes of the workouts while I was obese, then I was able to gradually increase my minutes. Although I must admit...it is definitely a challenge (even for a fit person), the results are INSANE!