Note: This blog originally in October 2011.
In the fitness business, there’s one belief that just won’t die. People cling to the idea that they can spot-reduce fat, for example, doing a hundred crunches hoping to reduce belly fat. There are ways to coax the fat off your body, and I’m going to tell you the real way to do it.
The human body loses fat evenly all over the body, like putting that shrink-wrap plastic on your windows. Just because you may be carrying more weight in your thighs does not mean that’s where the body will shed fat first. So those people at the gym working the inner/outer thigh machines in attempts to slim their thighs aren’t going to achieve their goal. They will build strength, but strength does not equal fat loss. They will also tone those muscles, but the muscle definition will not show unless they lose the fat.
Moderate exercise helps burn body fat
So how do you burn body fat? The body uses fat for energy, so exercise is the way to go. Now the key is the body only uses fat for energy when there’s oxygen, meaning you can breathe enough to carry on a conversation while exercising. If you do a spinning class while huffing and puffing most of the time, you are not burning fat. You are using a different form of energy called adenosine triphosphate or APT. Any time you find yourself not being able to say more than 5 words at a time, you are working too hard to burn fat. It’s really that simple. So do some moderate cardio for 30-45 minutes, 2-4 times a week.
Challenge your muscles
Next is weight train your whole body. It takes energy to rebuild muscle tissue after lifting weights. Plus weight training boosts your metabolism for 4-6 hours after you are done working out! (Cardio boosts your metabolism for about an hour after your workout is done.)
Be sure to give your muscles a full day off to repair before lifting again. Don’t be afraid to challenge your muscles, so use enough weight that by the 8th repetition you feel fatigue. Do 3 different exercises, 2-3 sets per muscle group (chest, back, arms, shoulders, and legs).
Most importantly: Read your food labels
This is the most important step: stop making more body fat. Body fat is made from eating too many carbohydrates at one time. Your body can tolerate about 25-30 grams of carbs in one meal before making body fat.
Start reading those labels on food! Look for the ‘total carbohydrates’ and that will tell you how much is in a serving. Go dig out your measuring cups and measure your cereal, pasta, and grains. Google ‘carb counter’ and you’ll find charts to help you know what’s in fruit and veggies. And watch out for low fat foods. Fat equals flavor, so low fat foods add sugar to make it taste good. It is better to eat the full fat version.
Not sure if you believe me? If eating a low fat diet worked, 80% of the US population would not be overweight. Yes, it takes a little time, but your efforts will be rewarded. Get started this month and you will notice a difference by the New Year!