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  • Does stress reduce weight loss? How can exercise and a healthy diet help?

    There have been quite a few studies on the subject, many of which have concluded hormonal imbalances caused by stress that seem to either encourage fat gain or inhibit fat loss.

    In addition to the chemical imbalances caused, often emotional eating (sometimes leading to binging) is triggered by stress.

    Both exercise and a healthy diet have been shown to improve stress levels.  Exercise can stimulate the production of endorphins, commonly known as a "runners high" after a workout.  Carbohydrates play an important role in serotonin production, (serotonin has been shown to aid stress levels).  B group vitamins have also been suggested to aid stress and energy levels.  There are many other examples, I have just picked a few of particular interest.

  • How do I lose my butt?

    If you are seeking to build muscle around your buttocks (ie. your glutes), the following resistance exercises are excellent:

    - Squats
    - Leg press
    - Incline leg press
    - Lunges

    If you are seeking to lose fat from your buttocks, all you need to do is some cardiovascular exercise.  Unfortunately you cannot choose where to lose fat from - your body does the job for you.  Hypothetically, you could perform 200 repetitions of leg press (in a cardiovascular style of training) yet lose more fat from your stomach than your bottom.  Spot reduction is a complete myth.

    Worth noting, be very careful with squats.  Whilst squats are an excellent lower-body exercise, squats can be very dangerous if not performed properly.  A good idea is to begin on a more basic exercise, eg. leg press.  Once you have gained more experience in the gym, squats may be a more viable option.

    Any form of cardiovascular exercise will assist in losing fat from your entire body - treadmill, bike, recumbent bike, rowing machine, walking, sports, leisure activities etc.  Introduce a regular cardiovascular exercise regime into your lifestyle, along with a sound diet and watch your butt (and fat from the rest of your body) disappear!

  • I am currently an 85kg male and want to lose 15kg in 6 weeks. What exercise should I do?

    A rate of fat loss at 2kg per week is extremely unhealthy, particularly at your current weight.  Excessive weight loss like this can result in unwanted side effects, including gallstones.  You're not doing your body any favours if you aim to lose 15kg in 6 weeks.

    I would look at doubling the time into at least 12 weeks.  Plus the inclusion of exercise is highly desirable - both for health and to assist fat loss.  So long as the activity you undertake is enjoyable, it doesn't matter what you do - whether that be swimming, boxing, running, cycling, rowing...or whatever.  However what does matter is the intensity.

    The higher the intensity of the exercise, the more fat tissue will be burnt as a general rule of thumb.  The idea is to keep workouts short with a high intensity.  This will stimulate your body to burn fat tissue for 24 hours following your exercise by raising your metabolism.  A word of caution though, begin slowly and work your way up if you are not currently training - considering that you have no medical considerations.

    I highly recommend you read my article, The Fat Burning Zone (recently published in Australian IronMan Magazine).  There are also a tonne of other articles available on this site that will provide further insight into effective fat loss.

  • How do you calculate the calories that you are eating and burning?

    I am very analytical by nature, but after spending a long time trying to derive how many calories I actually expend...I concluded that it's a complete waste of time lol

    What I do personally is look at my calories in by totalling my caloric intake throughout the day. (I get all the information off the food database on this site). This also gives me an indication of protein, carbs and fats. Then I will implement this diet over a number of weeks with a consistent training program and see what results from it - eg. fat gain/loss, muscle gain/loss, high/low energy levels etc. After this trial period, I can determine whether or not that diet, combined with a particular training regime, results in the desired outcome(s). From there, several tweaks can be made according to my goals.

    I prefer totalling my caloric intake so I have figures I can look at. These figures are treated in a relative fashion though. Due to this, there is no point in trying to determine an absolute figure for energy expenditure as it will have no meaning at all.  Plus, it is nearly impossible to determine an accurate caloric expenditure due to the seemingly infinite variables that must be taken into consideration.

    I know Josh Dickinson uses portion sizes rather than calorie counting. He will simply increase or decrease portions depending upon results. Same line of thinking behind my approach - both are relative methods of dealing with caloric intake. However I like to look at the numbers so I can establish a more accurate measure of any increase/decrease in what I consume.

    I have found that a more empirical approach through trial-and-error has yielded far better results than trying to determine precise calories in and calories out.

  • Should I consume dextrose after my workout?

    Absolutely - including cardio and resistance training.

    Dextroseimmediately post-workout will aid recovery and protein synthesis.  If you consume creatine, the resulting insulin spike will act as a transport system for the creatine to reach your muscle cells.  Plus, dextrose often makes your protein shake taste a lot nicer (particularly with those bitter hydrolysed WPI powders!)

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