Sunday, March 29, 2009

Don't Let Your Fitness Turn to Fatness!

It’s important to make time for regular exercise in your weekly routine. But what I want talk about today is directed at those who may be doing too much of a good thing. A woman came in for her free initial consultation with me this week to review her current routine and get set up on a new program. One of her main concerns was that although she was doing cardio several times a week and following a healthy diet, she was still carrying extra body fat and felt “soft”.

I see this a lot. The problem was that she was performing too much cardio and little to no resistance training. If your goal is fat loss, your primary mission is to increase your metabolism. A well designed resistance training program will develop more lean (muscle) tissue, which will not only make you appear more fit and toned but it will significantly boost your metabolism. This will help you burn more calories and fat all day long, even at rest!

However, performing excessive cardiovascular activity (ie-jogging, cycling, elyptical trainer) can rob your muscles of needed nutrients, and may even break down your lean tissue. Therefore, you need to make resistance training a priority, and avoid doing too much cardio.

So what should your workouts look like? Well, a great type resistance workout is called circuit training, and it involves training several exercises back to back with minimal rest in between. Usually you will want to train different muscle groups, so that you aren't fatiguing the same area with each successive exercise (such as upper body then lower body, alternating). Focus on the big calorie burning movements in a range of about 8 to 12 repetitions. A sample program could look like 2 circuits of:

  • Pulldowns or Chinups

  • Back Squats

  • Pushups

  • Lunges or Step Ups

  • Rows

  • Deadlifts

  • Overhead Press

You could also use fewer exercises and perform a third circuit if you choose.

You can still perform cardiovascular exercise, after your circuit training or on a seperate day, but you would want to use a technique called interval training. This involves performing your cardiovascular activity with alternating periods of low intensity and high intensity, but for a shorter duration. This type of training not only burns more calories but it helps preserve lean tissue and boosts fat burning hormones. You end up burning off more fat in a shorter workout!

Check my newsletter for more fat burning tips or feel free to contact me with any questions.

Stay Fit,


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