Friday, May 15, 2009

8 Surefire Fat-Burning Tips

Just Sharing another article I received in my email today... Thought this was really really good!...


8 Surefire Fat-Burning Tips
By Raphael Calzadilla, BA, CPT, ACE, RTS1
eDiets Chief Fitness Pro

Sometimes certain moments in our lives leave an unforgettable impression. About 5 years ago, I was up late on a weekend night and watching TV. An infomercial was promoting an exercise machine that could help you achieve your weight-loss goals in 6 minutes a day. Six minutes a day...yeah, right! That infomercial got me thinking about how many people buy into fat loss myths. On the part of the consumer, this has to do with a lack of knowledge and hope for the magical workout and the magical diet. Neither of which exist.

It's not the lack of knowledge on the part of the consumer that bothers me. What bothers me is that there are companies that simply want to prey on your lack of knowledge and your emotional desperation. If you don't know the truth and you're looking for a quick fix, chances are you can be sold just about anything.
The fitness industry is a great place with a lot of knowledgeable people. However, it has its dark side just as any market does. So be cautious about anything that promises a quick fix in just minutes a day.

If you ever see a quick fix promise, always go back to the fundamentals. Fundamentals will never let you down, and they will never lie to you or mislead you.

Today we return to the fundamentals of fat loss. These are the points that always work and never try to sell you a false hope or a false expectation.

There are eight points to consider when attempting to burn body fat.

1. Control Blood Sugar: There is an old saying that fat loss success is 80-percent nutrition. Frankly, I'm not sure what the percentage actually is (no one does). However, based on my experience it's clear to me that it all begins with nutrition. If you don't have your nutrition program "dialed in," you will not achieve success. It doesn't matter how hard or how long you workout. This applies to everyone who starts a diet and fitness program.

Your goal should be to control blood sugar. Controlling blood sugar levels helps to shed fat. This is accomplished by taking in some protein, carbohydrates and good fats spread evenly through the day every two to three hours and by not over eating.

A sample meal schedule might look something like this:

6:30 Breakfast
9:30 Snack
12:30 Lunch
3:30 Snack
6:00 Dinner
9:00 Small Snack

This method will have a profound impact on fat loss. However, don't forget that calories must still be slightly below maintenance.

2. Calories Count. Your goal is to eat as much as possible while still losing fat. For example, if I can get you to lose 1 to 2 pounds of fat per week on 1,400 calories per day, I'm on track. If I try to accelerate the process and lower your calories to 1,200, I sabotage your efforts. Anything more than a 2-pound loss per week will strip muscle tissue and give one a soft look.

A good example is the person who goes on a crash diet and ends up thin but still soft and flabby when they get to their goal weight. This takes place because they lost not only fat, but also valuable muscle. They lowered calories too much, lost at too fast of a rate and did not try to eat the optimal amount of calories for fat loss.

Still, don't think the correct amount of calories matter? I receive many emails from people who have been on low-calorie diets. Many complain that after four to five weeks of weight loss, they hit a sticking point.

Why does this happen? The T3 (thyroid hormone) and body temperature are reduced. It's subtle and you may not realize that body temperature is reduced, but that will slow down the speed of the metabolism. To avoid this slow down, a slight increase in calories is essential. This helps to increase and optimize thyroid levels.

I'm not suggesting everyone should increase calories if they hit a sticking point. In many cases, some people aren't being consistent, or their diet isn't as low calorie as they think. Again, eat the optimal amount of food to lose fat.

3. Eat Breakfast. A balanced breakfast comprised of carbohydrates, protein, and a little fat is a critical start to the day. The point of consuming breakfast is that it breaks the fast from an overnight sleep. In addition, breakfast will rev the metabolism for the rest of the day. This is your first opportunity of the day to get blood sugar back to a balanced state after the all night fast and is critical for sustaining fat loss.

Ratios count! A calorie is not a calorie. Do you know those people who tell you to simply lower your calories to lose fat? The people who never mention protein, carbohydrates or fats? They're wrong.

Protein, carb and fat ratios are important. The correct ratios (which can vary depending on an individual's response to food) help to stabilize blood sugar levels, which helps to increase energy and fat loss. Generally, 40 percent to 50 percent of carbohydrates, 25 percent to 30 percent protein and 20 percent to 30 percent of healthy fats is the best starting place.

Carbs are necessary for energy and not the enemy everyone makes them out to be. The key is how much you consume. Protein is also critical to build and retain muscle tissue, which in turn helps to burn more fat.

Finally, good dietary fats are extremely important. They help to balance hormonal levels, increase strength and create satiety (fullness). If you're looking for a plan that takes this into account I recommend eDiets GI plan (Glycemic Impact Diet).

5. Weight Training To affect muscle versus fat ratios you have to train with weights or perform some type of resistance training. An intense weight workout lasting no more than 60 minutes is the most efficient route to go. You don't have to workout with a bodybuilding routine, but you do need to work the entire body approximately three alternate days per week.

6. Cardio. Cardio should be approached as a tool to lose fat. It should not be used as a never ending event in the hope that all body fat will magically burn off. Excessive cardio is counter productive and will burn not only fat but also valuable muscle tissue.

If fat loss is not taking place, increase the intensity of your session, not the time. The key is to perform all that is necessary and no more than that. This is accomplished by incorporating interval cardio training (integrating slower levels of intensity for several minutes with very high levels for several minutes). Intervals are great for boosting the metabolism and creating more of a post caloric burn (calories burned 24 hours after the workout.

Many people think they need to perform two hours of cardio per day. Nothing could be further from the truth. Start with a realistic amount of cardio per day and then add to it by five minutes or switch to intervals if you haven't lost body fat in two weeks. This is assuming that you're eating enough calories.

7. Water Intake From the standpoint of water intake and fat loss, you want to be in a position where the liver is converting stored fat to energy. The liver has other functions, but this is one of its main jobs. Unfortunately, another of the liver's duties is to pick up the slack for the kidneys, which need plenty of water to work properly (more than most people realize).

If the kidneys are water-deprived, the liver has to do the work of the kidneys along with its own (lowering its total productivity in the process). The liver then can't metabolize fat as quickly or efficiently. If you allow this to happen, you're setting yourself up to store fat because you've made the liver less efficient at turning stored body fat to energy.

Usually if you multiply .55 times your weight, that should be enough in ounces of water to suffice. Water is the underrated fat-loss tool.

8. Discipline This is the seldom used word in the fitness industry. As I mentioned earlier, you'll read a lot about the new magic workout, the new magic diet, the machine that's sure to burn fat off your butt, etc. It's all a bunch of nonsense.

It's about doing the right thing and the hard thing at times. One day of discipline leading to another day of discipline. You build your body and your mind simultaneously. Without this, every point I've made above is fruitless. The good thing is anyone can do it if they choose to.

Need more information about fitness? Join eDiets and visit Raphael's support group (Fitness for You) for interactive support! We all know fitness is a vital part of living a healthy lifestyle...let Raphael and eDiets help you on your way!

A drug-free competitive bodybuilder and winner of the prestigious WNBF (World Natural Bodybuilding Federation) Pro Card, Raphael Calzadilla is a veteran of the health-and-fitness industry. He specializes in a holistic approach to body transformation, nutrition programs and personal training. He earned his B.A. in communications from Southern Connecticut State University and is certified as a personal trainer with ACE and APEX. In addition, he successfully completed the RTS1 program based on biomechanics.
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