Looking to lean out? Change your body composition? DFM Director of Trainer Education Mike Grillo has 6 tips to get you there.
Take what you read in a magazine with a grain of salt, and stop following the same old methods. Try following these 6 effective surefire tips to boost your results. Adhering to the below tips will likely help you lose body fat quickly, and you will be more likely to stay lean for life!
Get your nutrition in check
- Surprise, surprise! Nutrition is single handedly the most important aspect to fat loss. You HAVE to make time to meal prep so you are not tempted to make bad choices throughout the day. You also need to keep a detailed nutrition journal tracking EVERYTHING. Regardless of what nutritional parameters you follow (high carb, low carb, high fat, low fat) you will need detailed info of your macronutrient breakdown so you will know how to adjust when progress slows or stops. Try to avoid entire cheat days and stick to just a meal to avoid getting you too far off track. Lastly, if you fall off the wagon, don’t use it as an excuse to stay off. Get right back on by making your next nutritional choice a beneficial one.
Gain muscle mass
- This may not be as glaringly obvious as the previously mentioned tip. However, if we are trying to create metabolic “damage” for as long as possible then strength training is the way to do it. Studies show that we may burn calories for up to 72 hours after a rigorous strength training workout. So this means that you will need to lift heavy (relative to your ability). Also, we would like our bodies to be fuel “inefficient” (using a lot of fuel/calories), the stronger you get, the more each and every rep will take out of you (using more fuel). Whereas, in low intensity steady state cardio (LISS) you become very fuel efficient (using minimal fuel), because of the aerobic state of the activity over long periods of time and lack of recovery during the activity.
Use big compound movements
- Pretty simple concept here. The more muscle you have, the more fuel you use every day, regardless of activity. Simply said, more muscle mass raises your metabolism. This concept will also give you a bit more room for error on the nutritional aspect in regards to carbohydrates.
Use HIIT training
- Again, we are talking about the most metabolic “damage” we can create in a workout. The big compound movements and their variants are the ones you should stick with. Squats, Deadlifts, Press, Bench, Chin-ups; to list a few. These will create significant usage of energy, and when done for strength they will take longer to recover from and help build muscle mass. When crunched for time, opt for the large movements, not the abs and arms workout you WANT to do.
Don’t overdo it
- As previously stated “LISS” or low intensity steady state cardio is not as good for fat loss as many believe. You become very efficient at burning calories and therefore will not burn as much fuel as compared to using “HIIT” or High intensity interval training. For HIIT training you should be going at near 100% effort for no more than 30 seconds with about 2 minutes of rest between efforts. This type of training has been shown to preserve muscle mass, whereas LISS has been shown to reduce muscle mass. Now it is true that you burn a larger % of calories from fat in LISS training but the overall total is so much lower when compared to HIIT, that LISS it is not superior. Example:
- LISS for 1 hour, you burned 500 calories and 80% from fat – 400 Fat calories burned
- HIIT for ½ hr, you burned 1000 calories over the next 48 hrs and 50% from fat – 500 Fat calories burned
- Lastly, you should not be training too hard every day. Very few people are at the peak of their genetics and therefore need to be doing this. Take 1-3 rest days every week. If you are stressing your body too much this can backfire and be detrimental to fat loss. Sometimes more is not better, smart training is better!
Hopefully you found these tips helpful and you can start to make some small changes in your program to ensure fast and long term fat loss. Follow the above tips, train hard, eat with purpose, and you will be amazed at what your body can do.
Mike Grillo, DFM Director of Trainer Education
B.S. Exercise Science, NASM CPT, NASM CES, USAW, CrossFit Level 1