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Weight Loss Questions

  • Is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) really one of the best forms of cardio to metabolise fat? I have performed this form of exercise yet the machine indicated that I didn't burn as many calories!

    Let me begin by saying that the calorie count on the cardio machine is EXTREMELY INACCURATE.  This is unfortunately one of the greatest mistakes people can make when people are divising their diet and exercise plan.  The number of calories you burn during the exercise will greatly depend upon your own unique genetic makeup.  The machine has simply thrown a few numbers in there to whip up a score with very little absolute relevance to your workout.

    That said, the calorie count can be a great way to monitor your progress on a machine in a relative fashion.  For example, if the machine indicates 246 calories after your 15 minute HIIT workout, aim for 250 calories next time.  You can use this reading in a similar fashion to the distance readings - but only use it to guage your progress and NOT as an indication of the amount of energy used or thus fat burnt.

    As I have examined in one of my more recent articles, "The Fat Burning Zone", you will see that the whole point of performing HIIT is to stimulate your metabolism and burn calories for around about the 24 hours following your workout.  The amount of energy extracted from fat during your workout is completely insignificant relative to the amount utilised post-cardio.  I very highly recommend you have a good read of this article.

  • Jay, why would you want to slowly lose body fat?

    I am currently performing a cut (ie. losing body fat) and I basically want to spread the cutting over the remaining 7 weeks so I get in the condition I want to be in a week or two before my end date.

    Currently I am at about 8% bodyfat.  I COULD cut down to my goal bodyfat (about 5-6%) in 1-2 weeks time. However by doing this I would severely restrict my caloric intake and do a ridiculus amount of cardio. As a result, my body would be in a severely catabolic state. I would therefore lose a significant amount of muscle mass which would take me quite possibly a couple of months to get back again.

    By stretching the cutting process out, I will gradually lower my bodyfat week by week. As a result my body will be in a much less significant caloric defecit and hence not lose nearly as much muscle mass when in a catabolic state. But, by feeding my body and performing weights/cardio effectively, I expect to have hypertrophy and strength gains simultaneously with my fat loss. I did this during my challenge and will conduct a similar regime now by "directing" nutrients to my muscles to grow and steering calories away from being stored as fat.

    At the end of the day, it all comes down to -

    eating:

    - the right foods (eg. carbs: oats vs jelly beans, protein: egg vs soy, fat: sausage vs flax oil)
    - at the right times (eg. post workout vs before bed)
    - the right amount (eg. not consuming 2,000 calories in a sitting)

    exercising:

    - an efficient way (eg. HIIT vs low intensity)
    - at the right times (eg. weights & cardio split vs together)
    - the right amount (eg. limiting the duration of your workouts)

    and resting:

    - an effective way (eg. sitting on your butt and sleeping properly)
    - at the right times (eg. after your workout)
    - the right amount (so your body can recovery effectively)

    You can check out my current training journal, goals and progress photos in the Amino Z Forum!

  • At the moment I'm pretty beef at 510' 170 pounds. I would like to obtain some advice on how to get ripped. Thanks.

    To begin with, there's a lot of crap going around with regards to fat loss - yes you can train many ways (eg. the "fat burning zone"), but there are also many other MORE efficient ways to train.

    I very highly recommend reading an article I wrote entitled "The Fat Burning Zone".  I did a lot of research into this topic and came up with some very interesting information.

    Now, in essence, cutting down is quite simple - it requires exercise combined with a sound nutritional plan.

    There is no one nutritional calculator that can effectively tell you how much or how little to eat. Everyone is different and you require a diet tailored to your individual needs (it goes way beyond your weight and height). An easy way to tackle this is to begin with a standard diet plan. Implement this for a few weeks and see your results. From there you can make an informed decision whether to add or reduce calories. In addition to this, timing is critically important - you need to focus on eating the majority of your calories (mainly from carbohydrates and proteins) following your workouts for recovery. I have answered a few Q&A's on my website that deal with similar issues in a bit more detail.

    There is also your cardiovascular exercise to worry about. Assuming you don't have medical considerations and have been training consistently, the higher the intensity the better. We don't want you jumping on the cardio machine for hours on end - this will hamper your results (both by muscle catabolism and by limited fat loss). The idea is to stimulate your body to burn fat AFTER your cardio session through high intensity - through thermogenesis - whilst limiting stress hormone production - in particular corisol. Again there are a few Q&A's that tackle this issue directly.

    As with the diet, you need to implement a sound cardio regime for a few weeks and see how it goes. From there you will then be able to determine whether you need less, more or if the cardio is working effectively.

    Also worth noting, resistance training is cruicial too. For starters you don't want to lose your hard earned muscle. But, your muscle mass will also increase your base metabolic rate - this will help you to burn more fat faster.

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