Want to Lose Weight or Get a Six-Pack?
Do exercise you or train hard? Skimp on food and make endless sacrifices? All just to look into the mirror and seeing those little chunks of fat clinging onto you…
The problem is the insane amount of effort and skimping on food is just too extreme, and our body clings to it for survival. Over training and under eating is unbelievably difficult because your body’s defenses are grabbing every shred of fat on your body in preparation for the starvation and workload ahead.
Since you can’t burn fat around your stomach, you won’t ever see your abs or get a six-pack without shredding as much fat as possible!
Don’t our bodies understand that having abs and being ripped is the totally in ‘cool’ thing now?
The solution is all about working smart, not hard.
Before I put my head down and did some research with books like The Primal Blueprint and The Renegade Diet, that was me. Starving my body and putting it into survival mode. So since these books changed my outlook, my strategy has changed altogether!
Doing the right thing on a level that challenges you, and not the wrong thing on an extreme and almost impossible level is the key to adapting and changing the behavior of your body. The truth is it’s actually quite simple, once you know what to do. So below I’ve outlined my approach towards shedding that evil jiggly fat.
My new approach…
You probably already know that the main key to fat loss is to boost your metabolism and consume less calories than you burn. Past difficulties are probably due to the mass amounts of false information being fed on a regular basis by ‘The Man’. ’Low fat’, low carb’, or some other type of ‘low’ restrictive diet coupled with excessive exercises are the call of the day, and they actually do all the damage.
The direction and over focus on these useless strategies and methods within them are what’s destroying your chances.
Think quality not quantity.
Forget the extremes. Balance instead of restriction causes your body to run more efficiently in a way that regulates your energy and makes it more difficult to store fat, and easier to burn it.
Exercise aids in burning fat, but aiming your exercise toward growth and progression of fitness, with plenty of recovery will get your midsection looking more like Bruce Lee’s and less like Home Simpson’s. Combined with balanced nutrition these two key factors are your bread and butter. Master these and you’ll find the rest of your lifestyle changes quite easy.
Exercising for Fat Loss
Exercising for fat loss is about challenging yourself. Progressively increasing strength, aerobic and anaerobic fitness are your goals. There’s no magic zone (although they claim there is!) that has you getting the best results with less effort.
One thing I learned from ‘The Truth About Abs‘ is that you need keep your body burning more calories, hence boosting your metabolism, by training hard and creating a need for recovery. This recovery burns more calories and therefore more fat.
Drop all the crap, push yourself. As they say: “Go hard or go home!”
Fight against your own fatigue and limitations to achieve more than you did on the previous session. Whether you’re just beginning or an advanced athlete, this is the key to improving your fitness. Pushing and challenging yourself physically will speed up your metabolism and burn more fat.
Once you’re finished training, take the time to recover. One of the most overlooked factors is proper recovery and recuperation. If you do far too much training you’ll run yourself into the ground, feel like crap and burn away all of your muscle mass until you start to look more like Skeletor from He Man.
Taking the time to recover boosts your metabolism in the short term as the need for energy arises to repair the damage caused from exercise and then grow and develop. This extra development in your body will gradually boost your metabolism over the long term (kind of like a good long term investment), making it easier to burn fat.
To get the absolute most out of your training and recovery, you need a routine combining resistance and cardiovascular (aerobic / anaerobic ) training, strategically planned to maximise recovery and develop a fat burning body.
Why & How You Should Start Resistance Training
Throughout bookshops, all over the internet and in just about every gym in the whole world, weightlifters and bodybuilders preach the benefits of increased muscle mass. The more muscle mass you carry, the faster your metabolism will be. Each pound of muscle requires fuel just to keep it on your body. So developing and keeping a decent level of muscle mass should be first on your agenda as it can prevent fat gain.
Doing as little as 2 or 3 sessions of resistance training a week (training no longer than 45 minutes) will help you grow and/or maintain muscle mass.
There are different ways you can train, most guys split up their muscle groups into different training days. For example – Monday is chest and arms, Wednesday is Back and Saturday is Legs. I personally believe that this method is not as effective (for burning fat) as performing full body workouts.
Performing one exercise (compound movements are best – see ’3 Top Exercises for Building Muscle’) for 2 or 4 sets per muscle group, hitting your whole body in each session will really spark your metabolism, as well as testosterone and growth hormone production. I’ve personally seen excellent results from performing two quick full body sessions in a week (along side two cardio sessions).
When coupled with good nutrition (example – not eating shit), these sessions really get the fat burning. Remember though, make it challenging. Try to get at least a days break between each session for recovery.
Throw a bit of Aerobic & Anaerobic Training in as well…
On the days you aren’t resistance training, you can capitalise on your time by doing some cardiovascular exercise. The idea being that while your muscles are recovering from the heavy load placed on them, you can work on strengthening your cardiovascular system. Go for a light jog, cycling, sprints or even a team sport or a martial arts training session will help you engage your body in a way that’s different to resistance training.
Keep these sessions short, but intense. Training for 20 or 30 minutes is enough if it gets your heart rate up. Listen to your body, if you feel you’re getting a bit tired or run down, skip a session (or remove it permanently from your routine) to get the proper recovery. It’s important to get at least 2 sessions a week in for the health of your heart.
Mix it all together…
The methods discussed above can seem pretty full on, constantly switching form resistance training to cardio, but pick what works best for you.
If you only have time to train 3 days a week, perform two resistance training sessions and one cardio session the first week, and switch it up by performing two cardio and one resistance training session the next. As long as your getting regular training sessions in your body will respond, and hitting the training too hard too often will just run you down (remember – Skeletor!).
In saying that, increasing the frequency and training hard four, five or even six times a week (mixing three resistance sessions with three cardio sessions) can have it’s benefits assuming you can make the absolute most out of your recovery.
If you want to get a higher level of intensity in within few a weekly sessions, I’d suggest mixing the sessions up into a circuit, performing a mixture of aerobic, anaerobic and resistance training into one highly intense training session. Performing these circuits 2 or 3 times a week is a really efficient way to give your body the training it needs with less time. Bring deodorant though because you will sweat like crazy.
Getting your body to burn more fat is almost impossible without getting your eating right.
Most gurus explain that having a lean body is 80% nutrition, 20% exercise.
When considering your diet, there is a range of things your food intake needs to cater for (this may get complicated, but bear with me) :
- Caloric Intake
- Hormonal Response
- pH Levels (Alkalinity)
- Insulin Response
- Sufficient Vitamins & Mineral
- Balanced Macronutient intake
- the list goes on
Sounds complicated? Luckily, there’s a simple, flexible solution!
As Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint says:
“Eat Plants and Animals”
Straight forward? The idea being that you eat what’s natural, what our bodies were designed for (as primates). The idea behind Mark’s theory is that as primates, we lived according to our genetic design. We were active hunters and gatherers who ate meat, vegetables and fruits almost exclusively.
Our bodies respond best to this blend of Meat, Vegetables and Fruit (with some eggs thrown in the mix too!), so focus on these foods and try to avoid any processed foods, grains and pretty much anything that doesn’t grow. While Mark does describe certain exceptions outside of this range, aiming for thi speak of quality food will be what gets you over the line!
Sticking to almost exclusively six fist sized portions of natural food each day will give you the very best combination for burning fat, and keeping it off by avoiding all of the artificial crap they pump into most store bought foods these days.
Try to get an even mix of good fat, protein and carbs in each meal. Eat as many vegetables as possible in your diet, and eat fruit only two or three times a day (due to higher amount of carbs in each serving). Also make sure you drink 2 or more liters of water a day, and avoid all soft drinks including zero calories or diet soft drinks (which can lead to increased appetite, slower metabolism and make you more acidic – that’s bad).
You can however use the help of a fat burner. I’ve had success in the past using fat burners and I highly recommend using L-Carnitine and avoid most of the other fat burning pills. Another great metabolism booster and fat burner is green tea. Drink 3 to 5 cups of green tea a day to take advantage of it’s effects (a lot of pills actually use green tea extract to boost your metabolism).
Remember – don’t starve yourself!
Stick to it.
Getting quality exercise and eating clean is about lifestyle. Have fun getting active, kick the football around with some mates, play with your kids, take the dog for a walk or run, dance around in your room to loud music screaming the lyrics, I don’t care. Just make sure at the end of the day that you relax.
Relaxing is a key component of recovery from exercise, along with plenty of sleep. Getting 8 – 10 hours of sleep is the optimal amount to fully recover and progress with your fitness, so you need to make time for it. Plan your meals, plan your workouts, create backup plans for when you find yourself unable to train or eat what you’ve planned on, and make sure you prepare yourself for temptation, and avoid the 3 types of sabotage. You need to be dedicated and find ways to enjoy your lean lifestyle if you want to succeed.
Finally, never stop learning! Keep reading, if you don’t read and constantly keep your mind educated, you’ll eventually slip into old habits.
I highly recommend Mark Sisson’s book ‘The Primal Blueprint‘ (also on kindle here) for a more complete outlook on fat loss. It is in my opinion the best book for weight loss and healthy living in the world.
Mark is a fitness & health guru who, at age 57, still sports a six-pack and keeps incredibly active. His book is about our body’s primal genetic programming and what our bodies respond best to for fitness, health and weight management.
Another High quality book (I lied, its actually an E-Book) called The Renegade Diet by Jason Ferruggia. These 2 books are my ‘go-to guides’ and have the most precise & useful information when it comes to shredding fat!
Perhaps the best piece of advice I can give is to meet like-minded people who share your goals. Forming a group of people who have a passion for fitness and being lean will keep you motivated, and make it a part of your social life. As the majority of us respond to the events in our social lives quite actively, surrounding yourself by people with these interests will make it a hell of a lot easier to stay on track. Instead of explaining yourself to your friends at parties (I’m, not suggesting you tell your friends where to go, just branch out and meet more people), you can join in on the same activities and support each other in your goals. Even if you have trouble getting started, simply meeting and socializing with people who live the lifestyle will inevitably get you into the swing of things. So never underestimate the power of a good social life.