3 Simple Ways Un-Fat Yourself

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While I’m obviously a big fan of making major changes to create massive success, sometimes it’s the little things that smooth the path for the major changes and get the ball rolling.

Let’s say you’re looking to drop some body fat.  Now this could be a simple spare tire tune up of just shedding a few pounds or it could be the kickstart of a major fat loss diet.  Regardless of the scale of what you’re trying to accomplish, here’s a few simple things you can start doing today to lose fat fast.

1.  Add a five-minute cardio warm-up before your actual dynamic warm-up.  I normally have a dynamic warm-up that I and all of my clients go through that helps lubricate the joints, fire up the CNS, fix muscle imbalances, and makes our workouts at least twice as effective.  Needless to say it does the job.

All that athletic stuff works pretty well to start the fat loss process, too, actually.  However, to get some extra fat loss in every workout without adding a ton of time and compromising the workout I add a simple five-minute cardio warm-up.  It’s getting chilly up here in the Northeast and I don’t know about you but I walk into the gym flat out cold this time of the year.  A quick little “warm-up” BEFORE my warm-up helps me get up to temperature before I do more athletic things.  This could be a few minutes on the treadmill, jumping rope, rowing, or whatever.  The “how” is up to you, although I recommend jumping rope to get some quickness training in (efficiency) or the rower as it engages more of your body (bang for the buck).

Hard to argue with calisthenics for warming up.

What you’re doing here is burning about 50-60 calories (depending on your size and intensity) in a few minutes.  This isn’t a game changer, obviously, but it will add up over the course of 3-5 workouts a week to an easy couple of hundred calories down.  You’ve now basically added an extra cardio session per week, but it won’t compromise your recovery, should give a mild boost to your GPP (General Physical Preparedness), add up to a fair amount of calories burnt, and not add much extra time to your workout.

2.  Stop eating garbage carbs for breakfast.  When it comes to getting and staying lean we can do all sorts of tricks, but one of the biggest keys when it comes to your nutrition is manipulating carbohydrate intake.  Notice I didn’t say “drop carbohydrate intake”?  Carb intake, whether you’re dieting or not, is going to have a profound effect on your performance and body composition.

Usually I recommend people, if they’re trying to lose fat or stay lean, to target their carb intake to times where your body is most receptive to them.  This is usually first thing in the morning (after a night’s fast), and right around your workout.

Cool. Makes sense, right?  Carbs are energy.  You sleep all night, deplete the liver of glycogen, and in the morning you’re like a carbphilic sponge ready to absorb those breakfast carbs and put them to good use by making strong muscles and performing at your best.

Except when you’re not.

If you’ve got a fair amount of fat to lose then chances are you’re not going to be exceptionally carb-depleted after a night’s fast, and even if you are, you could stand to be a little depleted.  When you wake up in a fasted state your body is ready to burn some fatty acids for fuel.  <i>That’s a good thing, fatty.</i>

Slamming the brakes on your fat loss efforts.

Now what do most people do?  They roll out of bed, scratch something, rock the can, eat a bunch of Super Frosted Sugarbombs in skim milk with orange juice, and run out the door.  If they’re being healthy they reach for the whole-grain bagel or English muffin.  Healthy thinking or not, they rationalize (if they even think about it at all) that these carbs are ok because “it’s the right time of the day”. Honestly, what you need to realize is that there’s not a ton of difference between the muffin and the Sugar Bombs, and neither of them are useful if you don’t need them.  Your body still takes those carbs and starts using or storing them while slowing down the fat burning process as you’ve got a faster energy source available now.

This works just fine if you train in the morning and need your blood sugar up there to fuel your workout and not feel like crap.  However, most people don’t train in the morning.  They train in the evening.  So by spiking your blood sugar early and then not doing much with that new energy you’re just slowing down your fat loss by taking your body from energy shedding mode to fat storage mode.

Instead, assuming you’re not doing anything carb-necessary early on then keep your breakfast mostly fat and protein and save those morning carbs for a time that’s closer to your workout.  You’ll feel full longer and get leaner.

You can still scratch and do what you need to do in the can, though.  Seize the day.

3.  Perform your assistance work as a circuit.  What do most guys do in the gym?  They warm up, perform their main exercises, and then move on to smaller secondary exercises.  That’s all good.  The secondary exercises are usually performed in a straight set manner, where the lifter performs a set, rests about a minute (or whatever), performs another set, and so on until they finish that exercise and move on to the next one.

There’s nothing wrong really wrong with this approach, but we can make it better.

My clients generally perform their assistance exercises as a circuit.  So let’s say they’re going to perform four sets of eight of weighted push-ups, chin-ups, and lunge jumps.  I could have them perform each exercise in turn, resting about a minute between sets as outlined above.  This is going to take about 18 minutes (30 sec/set plus 12 minutes of resting).

Instead I’d have you perform the exercises as a circuit with about 30 seconds of rest between.  Because there’s less localized muscular fatigue you won’t need to rest as much, you’ll perform more work in less time (about 12 minutes), and because of the greater density of training achieve better body composition results in less time.

If you’re not used to doing this type of training it can suck a bit at first, but after a few sessions you won’t notice the difference.  However, your conditioning, body composition, and gym time will definitely be different.  Now you can fit in your five minutes of cardio from Tip #1 AND have more time to hit on the chick on the stairclimber (captive audience!).

Being successful at any endeavor requires focus and hard work, I’m not denying that.  However, any little thing that you can do that speeds you to progress is going to get you closer to the goal faster and maximize your success.



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Comments on 3 Simple Ways Un-Fat Yourself Leave a Comment

October 19, 2011

Scott @ 5:00 pm #

I like to pop EFA gelcaps like candy throughout the day.

Constant flow of good fat plus it triggers satiety so hunger is rarely an issue.

Isaac @ 5:05 pm #

Scott,

Awesome, man. That’s actually a really cool tip. I take between 12-15g a day myself, usually three at a time with meals. I’ve always done that to help balance out the Omega 3:6 ratio of meals. To me that seems to make more sense than taking a big charge in the morning or at night and having a bunch of non-balanced meals.

Isaac

Scott @ 10:09 pm #

Well, my reading around intermittent fasting leaves me thinking maybe nutrient timing isn’t all its cracked up to be, so I don’t know if there’s a difference between one meal or many, one portion of EFA or many.

But the not being hungry all day? That’s pretty sweet. Taking hunger out of the equation makes staying on-track with diet so much easier.

–S

(this is Callahan/Relentless, late of WBB BTW). Found your blog here via a FB like from Sylvia. I should find you on FB. 😉 Been a while.

October 20, 2011

Isaac @ 10:55 am #

Scott,

Good to see you, man! I was kind of wondering if that was you, actually, but I couldn’t remember which company you worked for.

I like IF, and I agree that nutrient timing isn’t everything (gastric emptying variance blows it out of the water, anyway). That being said, for essential stuff like EFA’s that the body doesn’t tend to store really well I like smaller, frequent doses, again, because it seems to make more sense (I’m being super scientific here). When doing a dedicated fast, no matter how brief, you do what you gotta do.

I definitely noticed that there was a fasting “sweet spot” when it comes to workouts. I needed to be fasting long enough for the catecholamines to ramp up and blunt hunger/start really spitting out free fatty acids or else my workout was going to suck. Until I’ve hit that point I just can’t train hungry worth a damn. I know Sylvia (speaking of) likes it, but then again she likes hour-long stairmaster sessions.

Isaac

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